This week, I listened to a selection of programs from Classic FM, Smooth and Absolute.
Classic is a very relaxed station. It definitely seems to be aimed at an older age range, probably 50+. It’s very slow, with long pieces of music, and relatively long, but few links. It seems to slightly favour male presenters, but I suspect this is not an intentional choice to draw in a particular audience and it more a result of unconscious choices. In many ways I think it’s an interest station, designed to appeal to people who enjoy classical music either way. I think it sells itself on it’s classical music focus, although personally I’d listen to relax, as I find the station very soothing.
In comparison, Absolute seems to be aimed at a slightly wider audience, perhaps 25-50, and focuses on classic and light rock. The presenters are a relatively even mix between female and male presenters. The presentation seems to go off air more often than I expected, which suggests that they don’t expect to be listened to much outside of prime hours. This reinforces the idea of a station designed for people who have work, as prime hours are when they’re listening and want to connect with a presenter, rather than listen to straight music.
Smooth is somewhat similar to Classic, with a focus on easy listening. I think it’s designed to be listened to over the course of an entire day, perhaps by drivers or the retired. It has something of a slow feeling, not in it’s music, but that it’s not in a rush and doesn’t particularly need to keep it’s audience full of energy. I suspect it’s focused more on the elderly for this reason, probably the 55+ demographic. I think it’s not particularly something I’d enjoy actively listening to, but would be nice to have on as ‘background noise’ throughout the day.