Radio – someone still loves you

Posted by Kelvyn Gardner on January 31, 2011

Well, we do at LIMA anyway.

As many of you will know, I consider it a vital part of our work here at LIMA UK to get the word on licensing out to the wider business community. Although we can justifiably claim that licensing is a significant industry, we also must acknowledge that we don’t yet get to the majority of UK-based consumer goods companies to tempt them into becoming licensees. Many major brands steer well clear of licensing, too, often concerned about the loss of control that they perceive as a threat when considering such a strategy. We all know a hundred stories that should and could reassure them, but we don’t often have a platform to tell those stories.

So it was with great enthusiasm that I seized the opportunity to appear on Radio 5′s ‘On the Money’ business programme, with a slot on the edition to be broadcast on 23rd January. My task would be to fill the role of ‘business doctor’ This is a regular feature of the show where they invite a ‘sector expert’ to answer listener questions. Past examples have been folk skilled and knowledgeable in marketing, social networking for business, communications and PR. Compared to that list, licensing’s first disadvantage is that our business discipline is nowhere near as well known as these others. Providing a pithy description to a journalist, one that will work in a short announcement, is not straightforward. Nonetheless Radio 5 did a pretty decent job of setting up my participation on their website, and so I made my way down the M1 on Sunday evening to arrive at BBC in White City in good time for the 8pm broadcast.

Assembled in the green room ( which, incidentally, was not green at all but bright blue ) were two of the ‘personality’ guests, CEOs respectively of transport company Go-Ahead and family-owned food business Samworth Brothers. I arrived at exactly the same time as Baroness Kingsmill, Labour peer and non-exec director of new BA parent company, IAG. After a quick chat and a short brief from host Declan Curry, we moved through to the studio for the broadcast. This was the first time that I’d done live studio-based radio, so there was plenty to stimulate the imagination. The show commenced at 8pm sharp and the next sixty minutes flew by very quickly. Too quickly, in fact, from my point of view as I was only given two brief opportunities in the hour to get licensing seriously into the conversation. Such is the way of live broadcast, I suppose, and as it transpired a discussion on possible trade union protests against government cuts went on far longer than had been anticipated, and curtailed our time. A pity, as the Samworh Bros CEO had told me in the green room that they have tried a bit of licensing in the past, and Baroness Kingsmill ( apart from sharing a name with the bread brand that licensed Wallace & Gromit last year for a TV promotion ) is also a British Airways non-exec director, which would have allowed me to refer to their licensing-agency tie up with CPLG. Not to be, but a small step in getting a better hearing in the business media for licensing I’m sure you’ll agree. Thanks to all for texts and e-mails of encouragement. Roll on the next one.