Patrick Kicken: KFC, turn left at the traffic light

[BLOG] When I recently drive south, where my family lives, I see the inspiration for this column at the exit Nederweert: a large sign along the highway with the text KFC, LEFT AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHT. I think brilliant. You immediately know what to do to get that greasy chicken. Then my associative brain made the link with the radio world and I thought: ‘why are we always so difficult with radio?’ I will explain what I mean by this.

Take such a slogan from Radio Veronica. WE. LOVE. MUSIC. What am I supposed to do with that as a listener? Let alone that you can do something with it as a disc jockey at Veronica. An arty farty slogan that on-air, except in the design, as a deejay you can’t put any emphasis on it. Let’s think back to the time when (the commercial!) Radio Veronica still had almost twice as many market share and listeners, when the slogan was simply ‘the best 80’s and 90’s hits’. That is one from the category ‘KFC, turn left at the traffic light’. As a listener you immediately know what you are getting. And as a jock you can also sell your station with the powerful words BEST and HITS.

But that’s a dirty thing, selling your station as a jock. I remember an app I once received from Stenders who heard me and said ‘you’re just selling the station!’ I thought, well for that 12k a month I’ll do better or not? Moreover, I am proud of the club I work for, I like to emphasize what we are doing and it is also (part of) my task. That’s the problem with many jocks these days, they’re just trying to impress each other. With videos of transitions on Instagram (!) and difficult items for which you need a thick manual as a listener to be able to follow it at all, let alone participate.

What are the Americans saying again? The KISS principle. Keep It Short & Simple. So: the shred hit. Or a hit list, also for everyone to follow and also has something exciting. That they are doing arty farty at the public broadcasters with slogans that you can’t do anything with on the radio, okay, but as a commercial station you just have to do everything you can to serve as many people as possible in the right target group? I can already see them serving their customers at KFC in the Radio Veronica way: chicken one week, no chicken the next, then only cold chicken. And oh yeah, eat some tasty pizza today. Yes, but for pizza I do go to New York Pizza! Nothing to do with it, today you only get pizza with us. And in the evenings after eleven we now make radio for the elderly, so you put on your own playlist.

Let me also quickly mention some other stations that have forgotten that they have to earn every euro themselves. Otherwise you’ll end up with me just bashing at a club where I’m no longer welcome. Well take Radio 538, same sheet and suit. What do I actually get there? There too it is doom and gloom with the slogans. What was the last one? ‘Radio = 538’? While ‘one station, all hits’ is doable, but then you have to keep that promise. At Q they are actually just as arty farty as the rest, with their ‘You Make Us Q’. Or “Q Sounds Better With You.” Yes it sounds nicer, friendlier and more accessible than ‘We Love Music’, but we live in the Netherlands ‘For God’s Sake’! Sublime: ‘Let’s Get It On’. Or at Slam! the even vaguer, philosophical contemplation ‘Play Music, Play Life’. Young boy, an advertising agency on the canals of Amsterdam has been able to pay their rent for another year. And the listener shrugs.

Patrick Kicken