But a corporate image isn't just about having a dull standardised playlist. You can improve the branding and public, professional, image of our organisation without loosing what makes us unique - our diversity. In fact we can use that unique selling point if you will to build our brand around. In doing so, and in going for a community license, we need a solid contemporary visual identity with the unique, dazzling, local but high quality broadcasting to follow. The Apple AM listeners guide being one example. It's great but it could be so much slicker, enticing and complementary of our varied and daring show schedule... the Christmas lights switch on was a real step in this direction and was a great success (from what I saw and heard) and I hope you would agree all credit to Paul, Steve, Katy, Andy and Jay...
I also feel some consistency must be achieved at Apple AM. Each show is brilliantly unique - as it should be - but sometimes with my own show and listening to others, I fear there is a lack of common purpose. I meet fellow presenters and our committee once a year! People, when listening, need to know they are listening to Apple AM and be able to buy into the brand we offer which is uniquely exciting because of our local music links and vast array of presenting talent.
I firmly believe we need to up a gear professionally to make a community license work in the wider world (Taunton) but I also totally agree that that should not mean we loose what we are - that should be the best thing about us. In terms of filling more show slots I, and I have discussed this with other presenters at previous AGM's, feel that there is huge scope for engaging the wider community more. Of course we have our music based shows which are great but as well as that we could so easily incorporate telephone conversations into those. Even if it is just a competition entry for an existing music quiz or a quick interviewee to talk about the show on at the Brewhouse I feel without even a basic telephone line in on the desk we cannot quickly and easily enough engage the community. On the subject of not being able to trust guests not to swear etc when I was at the BBC in Taunton we did hours of telephone conversations on air every week and there was no time delay device built in at all. How did they get away with it?!!! Tony is quite insistent that we have a telephone time delay device and this was promised at the AGM before last...
Going further I reckon there is also huge potential to bring community events live onto our airwaves. This is so unique it would be a real selling point for us and would add, and fit in with, our incredible diversity at Apple AM already. For example community concerts, the Brass Bands, college orchestras and musical events at Richard Huish College. We should mic them up, record them, do a simple top and tail edit job and play them out under the banner Apple AM's live music community coverage. The BBC would not do this, they don't have time. Heart, well need I say any more...! It would be a bit different for volunteers to get involved with and if the auto show tracking thingy can work in Studio 2 we can start to fill up slots on the Apple AM schedule board without actually having to have presenters there yet we are still providing a really unique and exciting programme.
Then once this is in place we can market ourselves in the wider world as a community fed, led and orientated organisation rather than competition for newspapers and the BBC because we are not. Lets use them to publicise us... generate some PR. I already have the BBC interested in covering our 24 hour broadcast when the helipad opens, if we had a really concise plan for forging ahead with an image, brand and community license we can use publicity such as this to generate listeners through working in our key messages whilst being interviewed by reporters which I guess is the fact we are different, unique, varied, interesting and absolutely true to our locality, made by local people for local people talking about the things that really interest, excite and entertain us.
One other idea before I forget, could we erect a temporary studio in Taunton town centre and let passers by have a go at speaking on mics, playing music etc then get them to give us their contact details so we can invite them in for a go in the real studio and then recruit them as volunteers??? A volunteer recruitment day!
Anyway listen to me go on! I really do love Apple AM - it is the part of the week I most look forward to and I would love to see it flourish even more than it is with a happy bunch of people behind it creating something incredibly good for the community.