As part of its World Radio Day focus, the EBU is profiling three public service broadcasters which are tackling head-on the challenge of how to become more relevant to young people, who represent a relatively small part of our audience and a potentially big role in our future. The key lies in understanding how to lure this highly connected tribe.
Le Mouv’ – one of seven radio stations administered by national public service broadcaster Radio France, was one of the first to recognize the importance of creating content specifically for young audiences. Established in 1997, the station targets 20 to 35 year olds, and in January launched a ‘reverse broadcasting service.’
Reports, fiction, comedy and experiments in sound are produced first for the internet, and then later broadcast. The content is accessible via the webline on Le Mouv’s homepage. The emphasis is on creating content of short duration, which is easy to share, produced by people from varied backgrounds (radio, TV, cinema, writers, authors, web, photographers, musicians, etc.)
Here, we speak with Matthieu Beauval, who’s responsible for programming, broadcast and innovation at Le Mouv’.
1. What have you got playing on-air at the moment?
‘I wanna be your man’ by Willy Moon. We play mainly rock, pop and electronic music, with special attention to French newcomers, who make up 30 per cent of our playlist. Le Mouv is not obliged to respect national broadcasting regulations that require radio stations in France to play at least 40 per cent of their songs in French during prime time. Nevertheless, we want be more than a model. So as we play a lot of new artists, we select a minimum of 25 per cent of French speaking artists to do our part :-)
2. Can you tell us a little about Le Mouv’s evolution over the past 17 years?
Le Mouv has experimented with several formulas and radio formats since 1997. Its (brief) history could fill an encyclopaedia :-) from a mini full-service radio for the 18–25 year olds, to what Le Mouv is today. Its mission has been redefined by four different CEOs, and seven directors... The music aspect of its airtime has fluctuated between 40 and 70 per cent, sometimes with all kinds of music, sometimes with a pop-oriented playlist, to what we do today.
3. What are the key differences Le Mouv’ and one of your more mainstream radio stations?
We seek to be attentive to every new form of content creation (music, digital, etc.) and its impact on our contemporary world. Our mission is to observe and to decode the culture, the trends and the lifestyle of a connected society.
4. How important is social media to the success of a station like yours?
It's vital because we have fewer than 40 transmitters nationwide. Our ratings are under the radar... Being active on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Soundcloud or Vine is an important means to increase our notoriety, even if it's not the alpha or omega of our action. We try to recruit new listeners every day by what we share on social media.
5. How much visual content do you offer and what form does it take?
We try to offer more visual content everyday: live streaming of concerts or radio shows during a festival (as we've done during the last Trans Musicales de Rennes), video recordings of the acoustic sessions we broadcast four or five times a week, special reports like ‘Who's the boss?’ recorded with festival directors before, during and after the event, other reports like ‘Carnets de Festival’ during our radio shows at Les Eurockėennes or Les Vieilles Charrues. We share tons of pictures every day on social media via the official radio account or via our presenters' accounts. Even Joel Ronez (Le Mouv Director) and I do our bit :-). Our main aim is to offer a live stream video feed in September inspired by Pure Vision by our RTBF colleagues: a 24/7 live video feed on our website and via a new mobile app.
6. Does your content ever stray into heavier territory? For example, the European elections?
Our goal is to find the right key to such subjects to ignite our audience interest. For example, the European elections, what will they will change in the everyday life of our young listeners? Issues like education, culture, employment. What are their dreams? On another hard subject like the economy, we look for positive angles – young entrepreneurs in the digital area, etc. We have a solid editorial staff with an editor-in-chief, her deputy, and nine news reporters/presenters. For a radio station in France like us, that’s unique.
7. How essential is le Mouv’ to the future of public service broadcasting?
Like our colleagues everywhere in Europe, Radio France has to face up to the fact that its audience is ageing... Le Mouv’ has the mission to talk to younger generations, to help them discover our quality content and instil broader curiosity for Radio France. We also consider ourselves as the voice of the public service broadcasting for young people. We are not fulfil our public service mandate if we ignore a significant chunk of the population.
8. Can you see a need for a station to target an even younger demographic, say under 25s?
I still hope that it is possible :-) We try to propose something solid to the 20-25 year olds with Le Mouv'. We also know that this generation is in itself several generations in one... Even if they discover new music via YouTube or Deezer, we believe that we still have potential to guide them, that our news reports can open minds to what is taking place beyond their bedroom... It's hard to compete with Google and co; we don’t have the equivalent budget to promote what we can offer. We don’t have the same R&D to create interactive maps to the nearest Starbucks. You can however listen to us for free, and anonymously, without commercial advertising.
9. What are you most proud of?
Trying our best everyday to offer something different, and surprising, that sparks a high degree of curiosity. To create innovative content and distribute it in a new form – reverse broadcasting.