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Chris Tarrant Breezes In...But Has He Got The Final Answer?

Published on February 8th 2005.

This may come as a surprise to most of you, but there is a new Radio Frequency up for grabs in Greater Manchester. Amongst the bidding are a number of 800lb Gorillas, some local talent and a large number of loonies.

Click here for comments on the big radio bid so far.

Last Friday it was the turn of Celador (owner of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’) to unveil their bid, and tell us Mancunians how wonderful we are. They wouldn’t just come out and say ‘we wanna make loads of dosh’, now, would they? Having seen the bones of a number of bids though, Manchester Confidential feels that we should start the debate about what we believe makes a good shortlist of bids, getting our trusty members to make comments.

In fact, we have discovered that the powers that be (OFCOM) will be looking to emailed comments as part of the awards process, as they DO take these things into account. So, Manchester Confidential has decided over the weekend that we need to use the new medium of the Internet and our own growing readership, (at over 42,000 bigger than all the media in Manchester apart from the Manchester Evening News and the telly), to make sure we do have a say.

So watch out for information on this. If you already have a view, email us with it or just use the form we’ve set up at the bottom of this page. There's a dinner for two at Le Figaro including the wine in it for the best comment on what you feel about the bids or what you are looking for in a radio station for Manchester.

So, how did Celador’s ‘97.7 The City’ look after they had opened their particular kimono on Friday? Pretty fine as it happens. They rolled out Chris Tarrant in an attempt to hypnotise us. However, Manchester Confidential rolled out their secret weapon, Denise McGlinchey. It worked, and Chris spent most of the evening being hypnotised himself…..but not before he made some good comments in a set piece interview on stage, mind.

In short, these guys have looked at the astonishing success of Radio 2 up here and are going after a share of that market. In their blurb, they talk about an audience aged between 40 and 60, although we here at Manchester Confidential believe that their offering will go from the early thirty-somethings upwards. Tarrant talks intelligently about radio broadcasting to this demographic in amongst the usual ‘we love manc’ bullshit fed to us by all these out of towners desperate to show their local credentials.

Comments of interest from him were that they are viewing this as a Manchester radio station, not a Greater Manchester one. They will have around a third of the time used up ‘with intelligent speech’ and ‘no inane banter’. This is music to our ears after listening to Smooth fm who ‘sponsored’ the North West Comedy Awards and have subsequently bored the pants of us.

The team are also good fun, but are aware of the need to take the bid seriously enough. We met Lin Glover who is in charge of the bids from Celador, fit bird this, and bright with it. Simon Cole was host for the evening, looking very dapper, who announced that Felicity Goodey is going to be the chair. Good choice. Frankly, we don’t believe that we shall be seeing much of Chris Tarrant in the future but his commitment to bringing local talent onto the microphone and mentoring them through the process impressed the writer.

We are going to publish full details of the bid over the next few days, along with other bids of merit, including The Storm, who are going after a completely different demographic as a rock station. These two are working hard to get their proposition over, although The Storm have gone a bit quiet recently.

If we were voting on the basis of free booze and Chris’s sense of humour, Celador’s 97.7 The City are well in front. They also seem to be one of only two stations taking Manchester Confidential’s readership seriously, let’s see what happens, eh?

Many thanks to the 100 plus readers who joined in the party at Albert’s Shed. Great location. I thought the bar guys were great, the food good and the atmosphere just right. Working the room, I found that nearly everyone were the real opinion formers of Manchester and not just the usual suspects who are on the list of every PR Company in town.

Property was well represented with amongst others Owen Knox who, by nine thirty looked like he was having a good time and Carolyn Mellor, Gaffer of the rapidly expanding Homes4u who could hypnotise Gordo at one hundred paces in two seconds. Mark Rafferty from Michael Taylor Associates, young lean and hungry solicitors and the very beautiful designer from Bluebus Creative, Caroline Waring were having a ball. Top marks to Chris Tarrant, who worked the room well with a pint in hand at all times out doing Gordo at the meeting and greeting. Local hack Michael Taylor from Insider Magazine was drinking his way round the room having succeeded in getting a pass out from the wife, apparently Newsco are partnering the bid in some way. You can find a picture of Michael’s younger and better looking brother on the editorial page of Insider Magazine every month. Blimey.

Mark Garner

Happy Trails, as Gordo would say…

Comments on the radio bids welcome, we are setting a page for them, no censorship, as stated above, email us now or fill out the form below. There's a dinner for two at Le Figaro including the wine in it for the best comment.

Click here for the Celador website

Cick here for the 97.7 The City website

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