Sounding off: The Edge’s move from on-air to everywhere

As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we’ve asked a few of the company’s programme directors about the performance of their brands, the state of radio and the importance of digital channels. And while The Edge dropped listeners in the latest survey, just like most of the other stations, it still has the biggest audience in all the land and it’s betting big on the multiplatform approach. We had a yarn with Rodger Clamp about how it all comes together.

The Edge is no stranger to controversy. It’s also no stranger to big audiences. And 2015 has been no different. But despite the T2 survey showing it dropped listeners in a number of audience demos, it’s still holding on to the top spot, continuing its nine year run as the station with the highest overall cumulative audience aged 10+ (437,500 12mn – 12 mn) and also leading the pack in the 18-34 and 25-54 brackets. But it’s not just about the on-air for radio brands anymore. It’s about being everywhere. And The Edge has extended its brand onto a range of other platforms and, perhaps more than any other MediaWorks radio brand, pushed the company’s cross-platform barrow.  

  • ​Check out all the results from the T2 survey here

With music streaming services growing in popularity and increasingly incorporating the discoverability that radio always touted—as well as moving into cars—is there a danger radio brands could become obsolete? Or will we always seek out personalities and tastemakers? 

Music is more discoverable than ever before and radio still plays its part for Edge listeners when it comes to hearing core artists first. We work closely with record labels and are scouring Twitter for breaking tracks. Apart from the music, the biggest offering that radio still brings is the personalities and original content that connects with the audience.

How are you extending the brand online? 

We totally embrace online. The website is consistently MediaWorks’s number one and The Edge on Facebook has multiple pages so listeners can engage with the station as well as their favourite shows. Then add in Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, podcasts, YouTube and of course, Edge TV. 

What was the strategy behind the Edge TV? And has it been successful, both for audience growth and in commercial terms? 

The strategy was to increase the reach of The Edge as a brand. Edge TV is consistently the number one TV music choice and gives us on average of 1.1 million people extra every month engaging with the brand through Edge TV. There is still room for more growth so stand by. 

Radio is often made in bite sized chunks. Does that make it better suited to creating content for the short attention spans of the social and digital age? 

It’s a combination of bite size chunks and story lines that listeners can follow and connect with.  

Podcasting seems to be having a bit of a moment, both for audiences and, often because of the high level of engagement and the implied endorsements of hosts reading out ads, the advertisers. How are you embracing that? 

We certainly embrace sharing our original content through podcasts. This is the ideal way for fans of the personalities to engage with the station on demand. We also use it as an opportunity to occasionally play out content that we didn’t get to play on air due to time restrictions.

What are some of the best examples of ad campaigns/brand partnerships/promotions/competitions you’ve run over the past year? And do you expect your radio DJs to come up with commercial ideas now? Is there a line that you can’t cross? What are the rules? 

Ideas come from all over the place. Announcers certainly have a load of them as do our promo people. We all live in a commercial environment so we all understand that ideas need to not only deliver for The Edge but also associated clients. As far as rules and stepping over the line, a lot of our initial ideas would never get to air. We try and push the boundaries occasionally but we do ask ourselves whether it’s right for The Edge brand and any other associated clients as it is a partnership.

Clamp’s favourite efforts of 2015: 

Is there still room for ‘shock jocks’? Does a bit of scandal help to bring in the punters or does it drive otherwise loyal listeners away?

I don’t believe we have ‘shock jocks’ in New Zealand. We have announcers who have strong personalities that connect for the most part with their loyal listeners. The amount of content that is required in an average personality show is immense and the choice available to potential new listeners is also incredibly high, so sometimes you do need to lift your head above the surface and make some noise. Do we get it right 100 percent of the time? Like everything in life, probably not, but if you don’t occasionally make some noise you run the risk of becoming invisible.      

Does the appearance of DJs on MediaWorks’ TV shows increase audiences on the radio? Is that an appealing option for advertisers?

At the Edge, we are in the fortunate position of utilising our DJs across many platforms. Marti & Steph across Smash TV and Smash Radio, Jay Jay and Sharyn on Dancing with the Stars, Guy, Sharyn and Clint on The Xtra Factor, Guy Williams on Jono & Ben. This increases the connection points with current Edge listeners and potential audience. This can only be advantageous to ratings, MediaWorks and advertisers in a very busy media world.      

Is the ‘face for radio’ cliché dead now that the DJs always seem to be on TV, in ads and online?

Not only is the “face for radio” cliché dead, so is the “voice for radio”. It’s more about connecting on as many platforms as you can.

  • This story is part of a content partnership with MediaWorks. 

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