Radio boss in VIP Club fan rant result
A radio boss who shouted down listeners for hate mails over premium content has seen a huge increase in sign-ups for the service.
Malcolm Bluemel, chief exec of UK station Planet Rock, oversees a network featuring Alice Cooper and Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott among its DJs.
He released an open letter last week in which he said he was “mortified” over comments he received after promoting the station’s VIP club, costing £4.99 per month and offering exclusive shows, advert-free HD audio and online exclusives.
He said: “For the last four years I have worked my backside off to keep this station going. It has cost me personally £1000 a day – I have spent every penny I’ve worked all my life for.
“I’m told we have a passionate audience who love the station. but as soon as I try anything to ease the tremendous losses I get abused by a minority of that audience.
“Nobody has to join the club. You still get Planet Rock free 24 hours a day. What is the problem?
“I am not a fat cat. If I was, I would have kept my money in my pocket and been £3million better off.”
Now Bluemel says he’s had a “very positive” response to his statement – and new members are signing up in droves.
He tells Classic Rock: “The current business model for radio doesn’t work for Planet Rock. The world is changing and it’s not just about radio any more. It’s about a global brand – ‘Where Rock Lives’ and getting people to become part of that family.
“The pressures come from a number of areas. The compromises we have to make, like taking advertising that doesn’t sit well with the station. Constant losses mean we can’t invest in areas I’d like to. The many and varied platforms we are expected to be on all have a cost.
“We have a limited budget so we only have a small team – so the day-to-day stress of delivering the station and addressing all the compliance issues is tremendous.”
Bluemel believes radio stations all over the world are experiencing similar issues and highlights one particular problem: “Companies such as Tune In Radio are taking our content without permission, re-broadcasting and selling advertising around it. That, along with the business models of Pandora and Spotify, really don’t help.”
But he feels Planet Rock has a great future. “We have a way forward and we believe in what we’re doing,” he says. “It may take a while, but we’ll be okay.
“I don’t think the rest of the radio industry knows what the future holds. My concern is that it’s not aware of the risk to the current model – it needs to do more to protect its content.”