I remember the days when KFM used to be unbelievably uncool to listen to. I remember actually feeling myself ageing as track after track and boring dj after the next robbed me of my youth.
Thankfully since then, times have changed, as has the station manager and dj team (for the most part). 94.5 KFM appears now to be shifting its focus to capturing a market aged 13 to 25 (ah well guess that excludes me) with the intention of growing this young audience with them, hopefully winning them as devoted listeners, more devoted than your average Catholic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist.
Part of this move was to acquire the services (I use this term loosely because the show is an edited syndicated version of the actual 5 hour long show) of the one man empire that is Ryan Seacrest. Now at first you would think that Ryan Seacrest would be an instant hit, I mean he wears a tux and talks to all the the Hollywood stars on the red carpet… He’s even coined a catch-phrase, “SeaCrest Out”- sounds as familiar as the touch of an ex would right? Well if you’ve ever had the opportunity to listen to the show on 94.7 Highveld (for all you people living in the not pretty part of the country… *cough*) and 94.5 KFM for all of you who are so happy and conten.. ok I’m stopping now- you would know that he is missing the mark… by a long way.
Now before you dismiss this as a rant about a guy who arguably has better hair than me, read a little more.
As a MyCityByNight crew member I consider myself to be pretty in touch with the exact target market that KFM and Highveld Stereo are trying to reach and recruit as citizens of their radio dream. So the other night, while exercising this connection and browsing the Twitter universe for the latest 140 character information packed tweets, I came across a retweet from KFM’s twitter account during one of the weekday night prime time radio slots hosted on these stations by Ryan Seacrest. The retweet’s content concerned the reaction (although adorably and mushy and crap) of a little girl to the possible loss of the Chigaco Baracudas or whatever in some tournament watched by hotdog eaters. I immediately thought what pretty much all the South Africans listening to the show must have thought too- Why on earth should I care what Ryan Seacrest has to say about the Chicago Baracudas (I mean wasnt our ownly exposure to these in pools in South Africa anyways?).
And there it was… glowing brightly like a pimple on the oily forhead of the teenager these stations wished to win over for life, This show had about as much relevance in South Africa as a winter trenchcoat had in Dubai. If I wanted to know about Red Carpet news and whether Ryan Seacrest enjoyed his stay at Kim Kardashian’s 94 thousand bedroom Hampton abode I could flick on the E-channel, or go on the internet. One could argue that the Seacrest brand alone would attract a host of new listeners, but I would be suprised if the show has done more than level out, instead of showing growth in its numbers.
I think South Africans have gotten to the stage where we are critical about what we consume through media (look at all of you like-minded people here, reading this, and thinking why did he put a picture of South Africans burning tyres there), often opting for local content that is of a very high standard and unfortunately in my opinion Seacrest isnt. Often you can hear a change in the tone of voice of good old Ryan and the studio action as the sound engineers who put the show seemingly have to search through hours of dowloaded syndicated show material to find Seacrest announcing for the song chosen by the local playlist chooser people. Its deep.
Now I wonder whether its really worth the money spent on buying a syndicated show like this when there must surely be a host of local talent that would be able to put together a top quality show during prime time radio that all of us could enjoy and relate to. If its a matter of money spent on a year’s worth of the scrawny millionaire, why not cut the show up into little American sized nuggets as little features or stick him on later than 7-10pm on a weekday for all those who’d dig to be amused by his witty yank humour and energy. You might even make some extra money for the stations by having local talent doing the show allowing for various paid-for promotions to be run (big brand promotions people will pay top dollar- I mean Rand- for a show where there can be interaction with listeners and presenters around the awesomeness of their brand. Come guys, you’d be creating some jobs… it’d be very LeadSA of you.
Then again… What do I know? Im also the same person who thinks that we could use another nightlife and entertainment orientated show on a Friday night that could give Roger Goode and the 5fm crew a real run for their money, keeping things fresh and competition for innovation strong between the South African radio media. You know where to find us 😉
Seacres… I mean Ricky Bynight… Out.