Imagine a large lake on a beautiful sunny day. The water is perfectly still. All is quiet and calm.
Today it’s the annual wave-making contest and the first contestant is a giant of a man. He’s so strong that he can hurl massive boulders into the centre of the lake creating enormous waves that wash up all around the shore. He’s soon joined by other giants and, before long, it’s impossible to distinguish between all the waves.
Other contestants around the lake quickly become despondent. Not only are they struggling to lift the heavy boulders, but there's no way they're capable of throwing them far enough to reach the centre of the lake. So how can they compete? After much debate, they realise that if they settle for smaller rocks, and concentrate on throwing them into the calmer waters in their respective sections of the lake, they can make their own ‘local’ waves that are even bigger than the ones coming from the centre.
So everyone celebrates as prizes are awarded for the best wave makers – 'lake-wide' and local!
This is the same ‘proximity’ principle that gives local radio the edge over national stations. The ‘giants’ are the national brands with local stations ‘cutting through’ by offering enhanced relevance to their defined area.
Now, thanks to small-scale DAB, opportunities are opening up for a whole new range of even more localised digital services. Our strategy at Niocast Digital is to create and nurture a 'DAB ecosystem' comprising a diverse and eclectic mix of tightly-focused brands, each connecting and resonating with its own, clearly-defined, community of interest. This way we are growing the commercial digital audience by offering something entirely new and unique rather than cannibalising what’s already there.
It’s too early to look for evidence of our impact on listening in Rajar, but to carry the analogy forward, in the Niocast section of Manchester’s radio ‘lake’, we are now gently dropping lots of brightly coloured ‘pebbles’ into the choppy waters. Our waves may not be the biggest – but there are lots of them and they’re unquestionably the most colourful!