Friday 1 January 2010

The Guardian: New talent – or a Kiss goodbye?

Just as certain Kiss Radio DJs were heading back to the HQ after eating turkey and brussels sprouts over Christmas, some were met with an unfriendly notice. Kiss, the dance, hip hop and R&B station owned by Bauer Media, has a specialist DJ department, hosting shows that play ground-breaking music including grime, UK funky, dubstep electro and more, but things aren't ever going to be the same...

Some DJs are leaving, others will have their programmes cut in half.

Jay Cunning, who runs the Breakbeat Sessions programme on Tuesday mornings at 1am, has already presented his last programme and is leaving to concentrate on his record label.

DJs such as Logan Sama (grime), DJ Pioneer (UK funky) , DJ Hype (jungle/drum and bass) and Loose Cannons (electro), who all hosted shows from 11pm to 1am between Monday and Thursday, have had their programmes cut to an hour each.

Logan Sama said: "We as specialist DJs at Kiss were recently made aware that as of 4 January there will be sweeping changes to the Kiss FM evening schedule. The long and the short of it is that every show in the 11pm-1am timeslot will now start at 12am and finish at 1am."

"As you can imagine this has come as a bit of a shock to all of the Kiss DJs. The shift of focus away from upfront specialist music to more playlisted hours is one which the management feel will enable the station to compete with the likes of Capital and Galaxy FM. All of the genre-specific late-night shows took the brunt of the hit. I just want to stress that this is in no part a reflection on Kiss or the media's attitude towards Grime as a genre, but you are welcome to share your feedback with Kiss.''

Andy Roberts, group programme director at Kiss, responded: "We wanted give our listeners more and bring in new shows for the new year, things can't stay the same for too long. We're not cutting down on any hours, as Ofcom wouldn't allow us.

"We took on Rickie and Melvin from street level and now they have become a main part of the station, so it's all about bringing in the new talent – we want to hear the latest drum-and-bass and dubstep DJ and producers. Dubstep is a big part of Kiss and so we have now got an hour for certain shows in which it will be quality, therefore giving us space to bring in new talent and shows.''

Roberts said that Kiss will give listeners the chance to upload their own tunes to a player on the Kiss website and that the station will launch a new programme, Midnight Mixtape, on Sunday 10 January.

I'm not sure people are going to be too happy with the move that Kiss has made. Playlist programmes have traditionally been more popular than specialist music programmes and I understand that times are hard for everyone in this financial crisis. But why not deduct some of the wages of the "bigger" name DJs instead? Many of these specialist DJs have managed to gain a big following with a high listenership tuning into their programmes every day of the week and these changes are something that I think could seriously damage Kiss.

This also appeared over at The Guardian: HERE