Radio’s biggest unserved audience – children – finally get a radio station they can call their own, with the nationwide launch of Folder Media’s children’s radio station Fun Kids.
Fun Kids broadcasts a mix of music, games and silliness for 6 to 12 year olds, hosted by a group of exciting, young radio presenters. In addition the station brings sing-a-longs, stories and learning for pre-schoolers with Fun Kids Junior, on-air when older brothers and sisters are at school.
Fun Kids, which up to now, has only broadcast on digital radio in London has enjoyed considerable success over the past five years, winning industry awards and reaching over a quarter of million young listeners each week.
Matt Deegan, Station Manager of Fun Kids: “Up until now children have been abandoned by the radio industry – both by commercial radio and the BBC. Fun Kids has built a large audience by catering for their tastes and interests, but we’ve been limited by just broadcasting digitally in London. The launch of Fun Kids across the UK will allow more children to have a radio station that they can call their own. Many radio stations talk about the need to bring young listeners to radio, but we’re the only ones actually doing it.”
As well as a broadcast radio station, Fun Kids has a popular website, operates over 150 podcasts channels and runs 6 YouTube channels covering everything from gaming to education.
Matt continues: “Kids are natively multi-platform. Whether it’s TV, the radio, tablets or hand-me-down iPhones, kids love content made for them. Growing our digital radio reach means that we’ll be reaching more radios and unlocking the 1.9m cars that came with DAB as standard last year, allowing kids, all over the UK, to spend even more time with Fun Kids”
Fun Kids’ national launch is part of a new national digital multiplex that will bring a selection of new radio stations to the UK. The station will go live to the UK on the 29th February. Listeners should ‘retune’ their radio to pick up Fun Kids and the other new stations.
We’re also excited that, alongside two other stations we’ll be broadcasting in the new DAB+ format – a more efficient way to transmit to digital radio. The industry has worked over the past few years to establish the digital tick mark for radios that can get FM, DAB and DAB+ as well as encouraging manufacturers to update their product range to be tick-mark compatible. All line-fit in-car digital radios already decode DAB+, as do all Pure and Roberts sets as well as the vast majority of other branded radios. Whilst older sets won’t be able to pick up DAB+ services, we believe we’ll be reaching 8million radios that are DAB+ enabled, alongside the millions that can receive Fun Kids in regular DAB in London.
For our associated company, MuxCo, DAB+ provides another way for stations to join our multiplexes and we’ll be updating all of our multiplexes to support the technology in the coming months.
The Lincolnshire DAB Digital Radio multiplex has launched today (1st October) on Lincolnshire Day, bringing local digital radio to over 410,000 people for the first time.
Whilst national radio stations like BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM have been available to Lincolnshire on digital radio for a number of years, this will be the first time that listeners to Lincs FM, Compass FM and BBC Radio Lincolnshire will be able to hear their favourite station on digital radio across the county.
48% of Lincolnshire’s radio listeners already have a DAB Digital Radio, a number expected to climb now the full range of stations – local and national – are available. DAB digital radios are available from £15 and listeners can find sets for home, office, in-car or on the move.
With over 70% of new cars coming with DAB Digital Radio as standard, MuxCo has put particular effort into covering over 1,200kms of roads in the county.
The launch of these stations on DAB Digital Radio is the result of a collaboration between the Lincs FM Group and local multiplex operator MuxCo Ltd.
Michael Betton, Chief Executive of the Lincs FM Groups says: “The launch today means that local listeners will get to hear their favourite stations on DAB digital radio all across Lincolnshire. For the Lincs FM Group it also means that Compass FM will be able to be heard across the whole county for the first time.
Gregory Watson, Managing Director of MuxCo says: “As well as the existing local stations, the multiplex offers the ability for new radio stations to easily launch on DAB across the whole area. Taken together, this is great news for Lincolnshire’s radio listeners”.
Charlie Partridge, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Editor says: “It is good to be able to add DAB Digital radio to our FM and AM frequencies, we celebrate our 35th birthday in November and this is proof that BBC Radio Lincolnshire continues to move with the times. The most frequently asked question we are asked is “When will you be on DAB?” and finally we have the answer: Now!”
To be able to listen to the stations on your DAB Digital Radio, make sure you do a ‘full autotune’ on your digital radio. There’s more information at http://www.getdigitalradio.com/retune.
Folder Media, alongside out partners, has today submitted an application for the second commercial multiplex, Listen2Digital.
Folder Media is a significant player in digital radio having established the MuxCo network of multiplexes which it manages alongside UTV’s local digital radio network.
Woking with consortium partners Orion Media, Babcock International and Sabras Radio we have created an application that supports the growth of DAB by including 18 new radio stations, four of which are in the new flavour of DAB, DAB+.
As well as taking a shareholding and multiplex management responsibilities, Folder Media has also included two of its own radio stations in the line-up.
Ofcom is expected to award the multiplex to the successful bidder within the next three months. If successful, Listen2Digital will start broadcasting in Q2 2016.
This morning (26th September) we launched the DAB Digital Radio multiplex for Somerset, as part of our MuxCo Network. This is the 6th multiplex (of 9) that the company has launched and we will be launching further multiplexes for North Yorkshire and North Wales later in the year.
Folder Media manages all of the multiplexes in the MuxCo network and owns a shareholding in many of them through our MuxCo subsidiary. Each multiplex offers opportunities for both existing and new local stations the chance to broadcast to large numbers of people in different regions across the country.
On the Somerset multiplex existing local stations BBC Somerset, Heart West Country and Smooth Radio broadcast alongside station new to the area – Capital FM and Triple Hits.
Here’s the press release:
Today at the Somerset County Cricket Club Ground in Taunton, Dave Durdan, Mayor of Taunton Deane, officially switched on new DAB digital radio transmitters, giving over 500,000 listeners new local stations on DAB in the Somerset area. The switch-on means listeners will be able to receive five local radio stations – BBC Somerset, Heart, Capital, Smooth Radio and Triple Hits for the first time on DAB digital radio.
To receive the new services, listeners with digital radios may have to retune their sets. Find out more at getdigitalradio.com/retune.
The big switch-on took place at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton. There are three new transmitters launching at Mendip, Taunton and Hutton. Once these transmitters have been switched on, local DAB digital radio coverage for these stations will go from zero to over 71% of households in the area, and they will add over 580km of roads into local DAB coverage for the first time.
Last year the build-out of DAB digital radio brought local DAB coverage to over five million people for the first time, taking local DAB population coverage from 66% to 72%. By the end of 2016, a further 200 local DAB transmitters will have been built making DAB available to an additional eight million listeners across the UK. This will extend coverage to more than 90% of the population and add over 6,700 km of roads into coverage.
The BBC buildout of 162 new digital radio transmitters to improve national DAB coverage for its national network stations is already underway to improve coverage from 94% to 97%.
In Somerset, 44% of the population have access to a DAB digital radio, and in Q2 2014, 37% of radio listening hours are to digital platforms. A cumulative total of over 19 million digital radio sets has been sold to date in the UK. 55% of new cars now come fitted with digital radio as standard (CAP/SMMT July 2014).
Dave Durdan, Mayor of Taunton Deane, said: “I welcome the switch-on of these local stations on DAB in Somerset for the first time – local radio is important and well-loved.”
Jane Ostler, Director of Digital Radio UK, said: “This is great news for over 500,000 people in Somerset as until now they have not been able to receive local stations on DAB. Boosting coverage for this area means listeners can tune into their favourite local stations on DAB for the first time.”
Gareth Cottier-Jansen of Triple MuxCo said: “In Somerset around 44% of households have a DAB radio and our new transmitters will enable them to hear their favourite local stations without having to switch back to FM or AM, plus brand new stations for the county. Favourite stations and new choices – that’s good for all. Our investment in local radio is also enhanced by our own new station ‘Triple Hits’ extending the listener choice.”
Paul Andrew, Regional Managing Editor Heart Bristol and Somerset, said: “We’re excited to bring Heart, Smooth and Capital to digital radio in Somerset. We know our listeners love the great music we play, and now they can listen in digital quality.”
Tamsin Curnow, Managing Editor of BBC Somerset said: “We are delighted that BBC Somerset will be available on DAB for the first time. We know that many of our listeners have been looking forward to this and we hope that new listeners will take the opportunity to tune in too.”
At Folder Media, digital radio is a big part of our business. We created, and now manage the MuxCo network of multiplexes as well as working with UTV on the management of their network. We run a digital radio station – Fun Kids. We have also worked with lots of different digital radio operators – Planet Rock, Jazz FM and many more – on a variety of projects.
The nature of the sector is very different to seven years ago when we set up the company. With stations like Fun Kids profitable enterprises, more and more operators want to get involved with digital radio. On our MuxCo network we’re really pleased that we’ve got the non-heritage commercial broadcasters on board – stations like Dee 106.3 with Dee on DAB and Sunshine Radio, but also now new entrants too. We’ve worked with stations like Redstone FM in Surrey and South London and Wirral Radio on Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool to find ways to get them on-air. Over the next six months they’ll be more stations like these joining our networks as well as three new multiplexes in Somerset, North Yorkshire and North Wales going on-air too.
One of the questions we’ve been getting from potential new service providers is the viability of launching stations in DAB+. The benefit of DAB+ is that you can squeeze in good audio quality in less space. This means that something that was 128kbit/s in DAB could sound similar broadcast at 48kbit/s or 64kbit/s with DAB+. As capacity on digital radio is charged on how much you use, this would seemingly reduce costs for new operators. However, one of the issues is that most of the legacy digital radios (those old Evokes you’ve got in your kitchen) don’t pick up this new flavour of DAB. So, your costs might be lower, but so is your potential audience.
At the moment around 20m digital radios have been sold. Of that, we believe that 3m are DAB+ compatible.
Looking at the number of radios that will be sold this year – 2million, we’d expect nearly all of the in-car sets to be DAB+ compatible as well as the vast majority of radios from Pure and Roberts. So let’s say we’ll be adding 1.5m new DAB+ sets this year.
Overall, to us, it seems that DAB+ is likely to be a good option for broadcasters, but perhaps not for a little while. Unless, that is, a multiplex only has a very small amount of space left and someone’s very keen to get on. However, as a manager of multiplexes we need to be ready to accept stations that want to broadcast that way.
Whilst DAB+ is in operation in many countries – including Australia and Germany – there has only been a small amount of testing in the UK. We’ve decided to do some real world testing from now until the end of the year.
This morning we started the broadcast of our children’s radio station, Fun Kids, in DAB+ (initially 64kbit/s) on our Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool multiplex. This multiplex has one of the most advanced multiplexers in the UK and is able to cope easily with the broadcast of both DAB and DAB+ alongside each other. We thank our partners in the multiplex and out transmission provider VDL with their support for this test.
Our aims of the test are three-fold:
If you’re in the Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool area – have a look on your radio for FunKids+ – and tell us what you think. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The over-arching reason for the test comes back to how we feel about digital radio at Folder Media. We’re still as excited about digital radio as we were when we set up the company. We think it’s great that listeners now get more choice from many different platforms – whether that’s DAB, the internet, mobile or digital television. In the UK our radio listening figures are holding up because of the variety of content from the BBC, commercial radio and community radio and that stations make it available on lots of different platforms.
We continue to be big believers in DAB because it’s the easiest way for new radio stations to reach large numbers of people. At Folder, we’ll continue to find new ways to make it easier for radio stations to reach all of these listeners and things like this DAB+ test will increase our knowledge that we can share with the rest of the industry.
It’s important that Fun Kids is in tune with its audience. We recently commissioned a report asking kids about their views on a myriad of different subjects. Here’s the release:
Now, the first major new opinion study of kids – the iGeneration Report from Fun Kids Radio – does just that. This groundbreaking study researched 2,000 children aged eight to fourteen on topics such as sexualisation, sexuality, diet and even immigration – and reveals that kids are far more self aware, self-monitoring and self-protective than parents give them credit.
On the basis of the finding that children as young as eight are well-informed, mindful of their behaviour and have strong opinions, the report highlights how key decision makers in kids’ lives should consider giving this unrepresented demographic of eight to fourteen year olds more of a voice within society – and more autonomy when decisions concerning their future are made.
In particular, kids themselves are most concerned about the pop industry and the increasing ‘sexiness’ of musicians and their music videos – such as those of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Robin Thicke. Despite parents’ fears – with one in 20 (4 per cent) banning their kids from watching these videos – over one in ten kids (13 per cent) wished their videos were ‘less sexy’, with 11 per cent stating they would respect the stars more if they wore more clothes.
One in ten (11 per cent) admitted the videos make them feel uncomfortable – leading to almost a third (28 per cent) stating that pop stars should set a better example.
In fact, over a third (31 per cent) of modern kids would make the independent decision to stop listening to a pop star’s music if they personally stopped respecting them – with another 30 per cent stopping if they took drugs, and a quarter (24 per cent) if they broke the law. One in seven (14 per cent) even shun artists if they find their lyrics to be offensive – demonstrating the iGeneration’s ability to make mature decisions about their own media consumption.
Commenting on the findings, pop star Ella Eyre said: “This survey shows just how important it is for singers and bands to listen to the opinions of their young fans. There’s just no need to be provocative or raunchy in music videos aimed at kids.”
Another current parenting concern – over ‘gendered’ toys and clothing – looks remarkably different when viewed through a child’s eyes. Over a third (33 per cent) of kids don’t care if toys are labeled for boys or girls – they like playing with what they like.
The same amount also feel that ‘kids don’t care’ what gender a toy is for – and a whopping 85 per cent think that toys should be egalitarian. Despite this, over a tenth (13 per cent) of parents don’t allow their children to play with toys that ‘aren’t suitable’ for their gender.
The same applies to clothing – two in every five (40 per cent) kids don’t think it matters if clothes are in ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ colours. This doesn’t stop one in seven parents who only buy their kids clothes in the ‘traditional colours’ for their gender – despite the one in ten (9 per cent) of kids who get annoyed by this.
The iGeneration Report also looked the values kids place on themselves and their lives, revealing that the most pressing concerns for kids are to be happy (54 per cent), clever (30 per cent), kind (27 per cent) and have a loving family (34 per cent).
Parental concerns over the impact of shows such as X Factor and Big Brother appear to be groundless, with only 3 per cent thinking it’s important to be able to sing / dance and a tiny one per cent wanting to be famous.
When it comes to what’s important in other people, the iGeneration could well be shaping up to be the most tolerant yet – not needing to be shielded from life by anxious adults.
A huge 90 per cent of kids aren’t worried about racial difference, not caring where their friends are from so long as they are good people. And with all the debate around what kids are taught in PSHE lessons, when asked about sexuality a hopeful two fifths (38 per cent) think anyone should be allowed to marry – as long as they love each other. Interestingly, when asked about marriage, one in ten kids (9 per cent) think the whole concept is old-fashioned.
Despite having rocketing disposable incomes – with the average child receiving £5 per week – the Report also reveals kids are fiscally aware, with one in four (24 per cent) worrying about the family’s finances. This leads to surprising philanthropy, with 12 per cent of kids saving their pocket money to help out their parents – and four per cent even saying no to pocket money as they are aware that their parents are struggling.
This financial cognisance also impacts on kids’ thoughts on their future – with children as young as eight already taking note of the state of the economy when considering their careers. A fifth (21 per cent) of iGeneration kids would forgo university to get a job as soon as they left school to earn money instead and under half said they wanted to go to university (46 per cent). The cost of education was a big factor, as 15 per cent of kids under the age of 14 already think that university will cost too much.
This mature attitude also extends to healthy lifestyles, another top parenting concern. A third (32 per cent) of kids know they should spend more time outside – but one in five (20 per cent) say their parents stop them from doing so. One in four (24 per cent) even connect technology with their lifestyle, admitting they would get out more if they had less tech to play with.
The habit of iGeneration to self-monitor and make their own sensible decisions didn’t just apply to their parents – it also related to their school and teachers. Perhaps Nicky Morgan could take note of the results of the iGeneration Report in her new role, as a tenth (10 per cent) of kids aged eight to fourteen don’t think that they given enough to do in lessons at school – three per cent even wish they had more homework.
Speaking about the findings of the Report, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health Cary Cooper at Lancaster University:
“It’s good to see that young children aren’t just interested in the obvious things such as pop music and football any more, now we see more and more children also having interests in meatier subjects like politics, and what’s more they’re beginning to form their own opinions about it. The iGeneration is more independent, and they’re not influenced solely by pop stars, footballers or even their parents – they have enough about themselves to form their own opinions.
“This heightened sense of individuality comes about due to exposure to a multitude of media. Social media may seem trivial to some of the older generation but for the young amongst us it’s a rich source of learning and a great place to read about news and popular culture – through it children can see all elements of topic and then form and shape their own opinions.
“In the USA, like here, two out of three families are working parents; whilst the parents work, the ‘latchkey kids’ learn from the plethora of media outlets available to them, thus they’re learning quicker and less likely to be solely influenced by their parents or the TV alone – perhaps a similar phenomenon is occurring here.”
Matt Deegan, station manager of Fun Kids Radio said:
“The iGeneration report has presented some really interesting findings. A standout point is that children aren’t as impressionable as previously thought. They enjoy the popstars and entertainers they see on TV and hear on the radio, but the majority know enough about themselves to not be influenced into making negative life choices as a result.
“Here at Fun Kids Radio we want to make sure that children’s voices are listened to, which is why it’s so great to see with these findings that children are attuned with what’s going on around them, and kids as young as eight are clearly well-informed and have strong opinions.
“Despite this, they are the most unrepresented demographic so we think that parents, politicians and companies should consider consulting kids when decisions concerning their future are made, so that children can have an influence over their own lives.”
Research of 2,000 UK children aged 8-14 years old commissioned by Fun Kids Radio was conducted by OnePoll between 20/06/14 – 30/06/14.
Find out more at www.funkidsigeneration.com
On 12th December, Folder Media subsidiary MuxCo launched its 5th DAB Digital Radio multiplex, serving Surrey.
In total, MuxCo has now launched multiplexes serving Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool, South West Wales, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire & Worcestershire and Surrey, bring local DAB radio to over 4 million radio listeners.
And there’s more to come, with multiplexes still to launch serving Somerset, North Yorkshire, North West Wales and Lincolnshire.
You can find out more about MuxCo at www.muxco.com.
Our children’s radio station Fun Kids has been nominated as Radio Station of the Year at two prestigious radio awards ceremonies.
At the Sony Radio Academy Awards it’s been nominated for Station of the Year (1m plus), up against BBC Radio Newcastle and Metro Radio and in the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards it’s been nominated in Station of the Year (2m plus), up against Absolute Radio and LBC97.3.
Fun Kids is a radio station that targets the tween audience alongside programmes for younger children. It broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio in London as well as online at funkidslive.com and through mobile apps.
It’s been a busy year for the station with new commercial and programming partnerships with Disney, Camp Bestival, British Gas, Swapit, Bin Weevils, DC Thompson and Random House.
Station Manager Matt Deegan: “It’s brilliant for Fun Kids to be recognised alongside some of the biggest and most successful stations in the country. To have Best Station nominations in the big two radio awards ceremonies is a massive achievement for the Fun Kids team.”
In the Arqiva Awards the station was also nominated in the Social Action category for its Fun Kids Education work.
Folder Media subsidiary MuxCo, today (19th April) launches a DAB Digital Radio multiplex broadcasting to Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool.
The multiplex is a joint venture between Town & Country Broadcasting, Dee 106.3 and UTV Media and will initially broadcast six radio stations to over 2million people across Wrexham, Chester and Liverpool from three transmitters at Moel-y-Parc, Wrexham Rhos and St. John’s Beacon.
The launch is the first of nine multiplexes that MuxCo has been awarded. It kicks of a busy 2013 for the Folder team as they intend to launch multiplexes for Gloucestershire, Hereford and Worcester, Mid and West Wales and Surrey before the end of the year.
You can find out more about MuxCo at www.muxco.com.
Fun Kids, Folder Media’s children’s radio station, has today (16th February) released their own version of One Direction’s Kiss You music video.
The video idea came from a discussion between weekend presenters Josh and Hannah about whether it would be possible to duplicate the video of the boyband’s recent hit. Josh took up the challenge and rounded up fellow weekend presenters Hannah, Sean and Jamie to join him in making the video.
All this week, Fun Kids listeners have been hearing about how the production of the video’s been going and it was announced this afternoon that listeners could now watch it on YouTube and the Fun Kids website – http://www.funkidslive.com.
Station Manager, Matt Deegan says: “It’s always fun to hook listeners with an evolving story. This was a great opportunity for presenters to appear in different dayparts of the radio station and introduce themselves to new listeners.
Matt continues “We’re also always keen to tell new people about Fun Kids and we hope the video is shared by young 1D fans who’ll get to learn about Fun Kids and that we love them as much they do”.
As well as the main video, the Fun Kids website has a full behind the scenes section with photo gallery, making of video and information about all the presenters who took part.
The video was produced and edited with Fun Kids’ production partner Create.