Friday 4 May 2012

Piggy Bank of Ideas

When I blogged my earlier post Radio Jockey Talk and Listener Engagement Formats, I did not know that someone in UK is diligently collating tried-and-tested ideas for radio contests, promotions and stunts from around the world to help radio sales and promotions professionals generate more revenue, until I chanced upon Radio Ideas Bank. is the brainchild of three highly experienced radio professionals Paul Chantler, Eddie Startup and Debbie Tighe who among them have over 85 years of Radio Industry experience spanning programming, promotions and sales.
Being intrigued by this business of selling contest/promotion ideas for radio stations and clients of these radio stations, I caught up with Paul Chantler (PC) to find out if it really works, what’s the moolah involved and whether they intend to be a format factory for radio akin to Endemol, Freemantle, Celador etc.
Here is a glimpse of my Q&A with PC.
In a nutshell, can you tell us what Radio Ideas Bank does?
[PC] We help radio sales professionals generate more revenue by helping them find contests and promotions they can sell to their clients. We currently have users in more than 30 countries including the UK, US, Canada, Europe, South Africa, South America and Australia.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating…, how a buyer will ensure that the pudding was not baked by someone else but only by Radio Ideas Bank (RIB). There may be a situation where an idea bought from RIB would have been used earlier by a local station in a market, thus exposing the station to the risk of IP violation.
[PC] The concept of the RIB site is that the tried-and-tested ideas from around the world are collected at one place on one database, searchable by occasion or client category. This makes it easy for the sales people to tap into a wealth of creative ideas and match them to their advertisers. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether an idea from RIB has been used by another station in a particular market; the people who use the site are experts in their own markets and audiences and we'd expect them to research their own rivals. Interestingly, many stations have no problem running the same or similar promotions to their rivals! For example, the two biggest commercial stations in London (Heart and Magic) both run an almost identical Mystery Voice contest (it's the one used as an example on our site) without any legal problems. The reality is that it is very difficult to protect an idea legally and even more difficult to take an action if someone copies an idea.
How is it ensured that the ideas are mutually exclusive i.e. if someone buys 15 ideas, is he/she assured that all the 15 ideas are unique and not variations of one another. Objectives of a station or a client will always be the same… say AQH, TSL, Cume for a radio station and increased sales, trials, footfalls and enquiries for a client?
[PC] The best way for people to use RIB is to sign up for a discounted quarterly or annual subscription. This means they're supplied with enough credits to browse the site properly and choose ideas 'on spec', paid for as part of their package, with the risk some may be unsuitable for whatever reason. If a client chooses to buy ideas singularly, they have to pay £15 for each idea (when they choose it and download it). Our business model is based around a paywall. If we were to allow free access to the site and ask people to pay only when they find the exact idea they like by viewing the details in their entirety, it's unlikely that they would pay and we wouldn't have a business! We try and avoid 'duplicate' ideas on the site wherever we can, although there are some variants of popular classic ideas such as the aforementioned Mystery Voices. By the way, in addition to the majority of the ideas on the site - which are collected and showcased as those which have been used successfully by stations around the world - from 3rd May 2012, we have introduced a monthly selection of new and original ideas which we have created from scratch. We want to invest in fresh content and add more of these ideas over the coming months to run alongside the tried-and-tested ideas.
Are you moving towards a crowd sourcing model, wherein the idea submitted by a user if sold by RIB, earns the contributor a certain percentage of the sale amount?
[PC] At this stage, we have no plans to introduce a crowd-sourcing model. Though we had considered it and may look at it again later.
Is RIB the Freemantle, Endemol, Celador…of radio? Do you guys also own proprietary formats akin to television say American Idol, or Got Talent or Who Wants to be a Millionaire…why aren’t there any such formats ‘players’ on radio? Is it on the radar of RIB for future consideration or is such a format not possible at all?
[PC] We don't own - or plan to own - any proprietary contest formats. There have been several attempts over the years to replicate contest or promotion format selling to radio stations as happens in television. However, I believe that in the current economic climate, radio stations have limited budgets to spend on 'buying in' showcase promotions and contests. These things can cost thousands of dollars. This is why I set up Radio Ideas Bank: to enable sales people (and programmers) to select, choose and implement their own (smaller) contest ideas and then go and sell them to an advertiser. For information, one of our subscribers in the UK has been using us for more than a year now, and, for the price of their annual subscription package of £1,200, they have brought in business worth many thousands of pounds by selling ideas they have found on the site to their advertisers. You can see their testimonial on the ‘What's New’ section of our website.
What are the future plans of RIB, how do you plan to scale? Are there any plans for the Indian market?
[PC] There is demand for contest and promotion ideas from radio markets all over the world. I have some experience of the Indian market having worked as a programming consultant and trainer for a number of groups over the last six years. I think RIB would work very well in India. All advertisers like new ideas and we’re a way of allowing Indian radio sales professionals to bring their clients ideas which have worked well elsewhere and can be adapted for the Indian market. As a startup company, we’re also seeking investment to take us to the next level of development and we’d love to welcome an Indian partner on board.
The skyline of the Indian radio market is undergoing lot of changes. The third phase of FM license auctions is almost knocking at the doors, the regulatory body TRAI has recommended a minimum channel spacing from 800 Khz to 400 Khz, there are issues of music royalties, cost management, advertiser confidence in radio and subsequent spends, cost management, etc. Also, with upcoming Phase III FM license auctions, having ownership of multiple frequencies in a city will be possible, thus providing the network to have different formats of radio which currently are primarily CHR with some exceptions of Talk or International music. As I blogged earlier, will we see Digital Radio happening in India anytime soon or how far away it is from India. These are some of the thoughts that occupy the mind space of a CEO running a radio station/network. Given your experience and expertise in Radio, what advice will you give to the leaders of these stations? I am sure, these are a lot and it may not be possible for you to do justice to these questions in favor of brevity, can I expect a guest post on this blog covering these aspects and your suggestions for the CEO of a radio station/network?
[PC] Yes, why not, I’ll be happy to write a guest post covering the aspects touched upon by you.
Thanks Paul, it was a pleasure having you on and I am sure, the readers of this post will look forward to some great insights from you in your guest post.
If you have questions for Paul, you can put them as comments on this post and rest assured he’ll respond soon or you can reach out directly to him on


  1. Hi Himanshu,

    Thanks a lot for the invite to your blog. As a copywriter, I am always looking out for ideas for client promotion. Radio as an advertising medium, has come a far way with clients not just looking out for vanilla spots, RJ mentions and contests but detailed programming integrations. It would be great if RIB can provide ideas for Indian radio stations, since the industry is growing manifold. And with 3rd phase, round the corner, clients will look out for greater promotional integrations on Radio. Thanks again for sharing your blog with me. I will definitely look out for more of your insightful contributions on Radio Industry.

    Ishaan Ratnam
    Fever 104 FM, Delhi

  2. Hi Ishaan

    We'd be delighted to welcome Indian radio stations to Radio Ideas Bank. We have hundreds of ideas which can either be used directly or adapted for Indian audiences. Sign up for our site today. Registration and browsing are free. Thank you for your comment.

    Paul Chantler

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this vital information with us.

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