It was a Sunday morning – 4th December 1988. I was waiting for the gates to be unlocked to get into the school hall at Portsmouth Grammar school for a technical rehersal for a school play. And we were sat around a radio listening to this…103.2 Power FM
Instead of non stop Phil Collins and Heart and Tina Turner, the South Coast had a cool new radio kid – playing Ton Loc, Whitney, Pet Shop Boys, They Might Be Giants, pop hits through and through, but delivered with an energy that hadn’t been there before..(Ocean Sound/radio Victory anyone?). Plus DJs who were young, and a bit more edgy and fun – Pete Wardman, Bernie Simmonds and Chris Kelly . Let’s face it – the only real competition was Radio 1 – with Simon Bates, Gary Davies and Steve Wright. And as Power FM grew more confident, it sounded cooler too. It was 90s radio, and for a while, it rocked.
Fast forward to 2008 – almost 20 years later – and Power FM is now no more – replaced at the weekend by GALAXY
As time moved on, Power FM has found it harder to sound different in a market that has become more crowded. As resurgent Radio 1, local competition from Ocean, Wave105, The Coast plus countless more local stations. Where Power once was cool and new, the world of radio has moved on and it’s now all about brands.
Galaxy launched in 1990 in Bristol, and whilst it’s music policy has evolved between stations, it’s always been one cool customer – riding the waves of Dance and R n B.
And let’s face it – the South coast has been crying out for something like this for a long time. I’ve got mixed views on whether the “destruction” of truly local stations is a good thing or not. The bottom line is, if it were my money, would I do the same and try to generate a maximum amount of revenue for my investment – whilst keeping local advertisers happy? I guess the answer is Yes. Do listeners necessarily care where the programme is coming from as long as it’s entertaining and delivers what they want? Probably no? Sure, it’s another local station gone in name – but was Power really ever a truly local station- more a music station in a local market. It always wanted to be bigger than that – so will a change of name and a tweak of format help? Given that the Galaxy brand is well established, and pseudo national – then probably yes.
So,the world moves on, Power FM has grown up and the mighty Power tower has been demolished.