At two minutes to midnight on Sunday evening, new digital station TeamRock Radio finally launched after six weeks of test transmissions.
The station built up a following before the launch, thanks to social media via ex presenters and background staff from Real Radio XS who resigned from the station and publicity from TeamRock's magazine titles Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Magazine, which both have shows on the weekday schedule.
After a reading of a poem by Edgar Allan Guest from Corey Taylor, a band member from Slipknot, the station went straight into a special programme covering the Download Festival, with artist interviews with TeamRock's presenters. This could've been an anorak fest of ego's self congratulating themselves, but no, the target audience came first and should be congratulated.
I then tuned into to thirty minutes of the debut show on Monday from "Dewsbury", a former producer of Real XS Manchester's breakfast show and now the afternoon presenter and head of music for TeamRock Radio.
I heard one metal track, however the playlist was mainly radio friendly without selling out by not playing Beady Eye or Coldplay as Kerrang! Radio have been playlisting when they were a FM station in the West Midlands.
I tuned in again this afernnon and heard some metal, however they played between 2-3pm the likes of Queen, Guns n Roses and Nazareth which should be enough to keep the hardcore rock fans going without frightening away the 'dippers' who may find out they like the random metal track in between the radio friendly tracks.
TeamRock has launched to a great start, it's neither too commercial or too niche. The presentation of the daytime shows is spot on, although listeners who like tight links will be disappointed and should have a healthy listenership of ex Real XS and Kerrang! Radio listeners, the latter who lost their FM service in the West Midlands to the mainstream Classic Rock station Planet Rock. I do wonder how they'll monitise the station without spot ads, yet I think we'll see sponsored slots for the daytime shows once they finally report to Rajar.
The station could easily replace Absolute Radio if TIML Radio decide to sell at the right place, unlike AR which relies on mainstream stadium rock artists such as Muse, Coldplay and Snow Patrol and comedians at weekends, it'd fill a void on analogue radio (even on AM) of credible harder rock. However Planet Rock (via Bauer) may finally win the day. It's more likely they'll acquire the local radio licences of Real XS after Global's appeal to the Competition Commission is heard after their acquisition of GMG Radio was halted by being told to sell various radio stations across the country as they'd have an anticompetitive share of the radio advertising market.