Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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DJ Diggz
DJ Diggz

TURN ON, LOG IN, CHILL OUT
Itâs a momentous time for B&S, as the magazine prepares to launch its own on-line radio station, running off the website. The brains behind it is DJ Diggz, who comes with a long history of radio experience, including time spent at Kiss, Galaxy and BBC1Xtra. He talked to Mark Devlin about how it all came about.

MD:
What was the rationale behind launching a radio station for B&S?
DIGGZ:
Over the past couple of years, Iâve been keen to fill what I perceived as a gap in the radio market for soul and R&B. In my view, the genres have not been getting properly served at radio level, either in the commercial or non-commercial sector. This coincided with Blues & Soulâs development plans, so it was a case of me putting the idea to them, and expanding it to encompass all the other music genres the magazine deals with. With everything now going digital, I felt this was the way to go.

MD:
Do you not feel that 1Xtra is adequately serving this market already?
DIGGZ:
The thing about 1Xtra is that it targets a very specific type of listener, in terms of age group and demographics, and itâs very open about this. I wanted the B&S radio idea to be all-inclusive, and to appeal to anyone that likes the music, regardless of their background. I also envisaged it as being an open forum for people everywhere that follow B&S. Thereâs no-one in the commercial sector right now thatâs competing with the BBC creatively. On that front, what weâre doing here will be a real first. Everyone spends so much time on-line, we want to be more of a part of their lives.

MD:
Do you think itâs no longer enough for a publisher to just put out a printed magazine? Do you think that the advancement of technology, and peoplesâ changing lifestyles, means you now have to be operating via various other platforms in the game?
DIGGZ:
Youâll never replace the magazine, and nor should you ever try after a 40-year heritage. But it certainly makes sense to complement it. The magazine will still be the first port of call that will lead to everything else. This is something extra for B&S readers who want to delve further into the sort of things they read in the magazine. If you read about a particular artist or particular genre and you then want to actually hear it, the radio station will allow you to do that. In time, weâre looking to include a music download service, too.
This generation are now very demanding in terms of what they expect. Itâs going to get to the point where, if a magazine doesnât deliver it, theyâll just move on to another one which can. Thereâs no going back once you cross the line into cyberspace. I think this is an essential part of B&S if itâs to survive for as long into the future as it already has.

MD:
In the same way, do you think the radio game has changed to an extent that a conventional radio station playing on the airwaves is no longer enough?
DIGGZ:
Itâs going to be as essential for radio stations as it is for publishers, to be able to contact people through as many different means as possible. As peopleâs lifestyles continue to shift, itâs going to be important for them to be able to listen to programmes when they want.

MD:
At what stage will the podcasts be replaced by live programming?
DIGGZ:
At the moment, I have a broad two-year plan in terms of the station becoming fully functional. Thatâs when weâll have live programming on a daily basis, with ads, listener input and everything else. Things will develop up to that point. Weâll be asking for feedback from listeners throughout to help shape the overall sound of the station.

MD:
What are some of the names that are in the bag already with podcast contributions?
DIGGZ:
Over the first three months or so, weâll be posting up exclusive podcasts from Trevor Nelson, Westwood, Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, DJ Excalibah, Bob Jones and Bobbi & Steve. Plus weâll be having regional programmes from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, focusing on the music scene in those areas.

B&S on-line radio will be running off of www.bluesandsoul.com from 14th March.

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