'We are in a position to help the music industry': Heart's Russ Evans talks refreshed sound

'We are in a position to help the music industry': Heart's Russ Evans talks refreshed sound

Heart has just launched its new Breakfast Show with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden, for which the network is targeting the No.1 position in commercial radio. 

As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, there’s also the prospect of more on-air opportunities for the music industry. It follows a period of strong RAJAR results for Heart, which has 8.524 million weekly listeners.

Heart’s core artists include Ed Sheeran, Pink and Jess Glynne, while the current playlist features Taylor Swift, Lewis Capaldi and Freya Ridings. Here, Russ Evans, head of music, opens up about the Breakfast Show and the “hotter” sound…

How important has the music mix been to Heart's RAJAR success? 

“Reshaping our music position has been fundamental to our recent success. When James Rea, managing editor, joined Heart towards the end of 2017, we took the opportunity to review the ambition of the station, who we were talking to and how we could achieve better results.

“Separating the ’80s music onto its own station, Heart ’80s, and focusing on the ’00’s, ‘re-currents’ alongside the biggest currents, has given Heart a much more focused and refreshed sound thereby re-energising and maintaining our feel-good proposition. After this we set about telling listeners about our hotter mix by debuting our station game Heart’s £30k Triple Play. The results were unprecedented numbers of entries and some great RAJAR numbers.”

The artist and song have to be right for the brand

Russ Evans

Will the new national Heart Breakfast Show be a key platform for the music industry? 

“Yes, but the artist and song have to be right for the brand. If we feel that a particular artist is Heart orientated and the Breakfast audience would want to hear them, then, yes, absolutely and of course we will have regular guest spots on the new Heart national breakfast show with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden.”

How can Heart help the music industry secure hits and even artist breakthroughs? 

“We are very much in a position to help the music industry with our hotter music position, but it’s about us being very considered in our approach. Too much new and unfamiliar music is not what Heart stands for. What we found with The Greatest Showman was that perfect balance between an incredibly popular movie appealing directly to our audience and a fantastic sonic fit for Heart, all within a fantastic soundtrack. Whilst This Is Me was fast becoming one of our most popular songs, the Reimagined album was released which we were also able to support – it gave an entirely new lease of life to the movie and soundtrack. For the right records, Heart can make all the difference.”

What do the music changes at Radio 2 mean for Heart? 

“Obviously, it’s always interesting to see what a competitor is trying to achieve. Our proposition is very different to what Radio 2 does. Our audience is a younger, music buying/streaming audience and we know that the songs we play are right for them. Our sound is more defined, with a focus on upbeat and feelgood music.”

To read the full interview with Heart managing editor James Rea pick up the latest issue – or subscribers can click here.

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