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Music 99FM - Unmistakable identity through quality music

Published:Thursday | February 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Music 99FM, operated by Independent Radio Company Limited, has set itself apart from other radio stations with its unique mix of continuous soft-texture music.

Music 99FM started out in 2000 with inspiration from a Sunday morning programme called 'Super Sundays' whose musical content listeners liked. Newton James, managing director of Independent Radio Company Limited, Music 99FM, and Power 106FM said that the station had a format which listeners helped him to formulate. As an unrepentant follower of research, he had the advantage of having run a music show while being in contact with the listeners. This helped him understand what they wanted.

"The credit for the creation and development of Music 99FM must rightly go to our listeners," he said.

"Our job is to satisfy our audience. Twenty persons will have different tastes. You want 20 to listen, so you have to find a way to appeal to each of them. You may not be able to satisfy them every minute of the day, but at least they know that soon their song will play. That's how we've programmed the station."

James wanted to capture a variety of age groups so he programmed each hour with songs from different eras.

"We are using a basic formula which is based on the nostalgic effect of music," he said. "It is said that the music we grew up with stays with us for life and the songs we play evoke beautiful memories of past periods."

When Music 99FM began, a computerised music schedule was implemented. In response to callers' desire to have no announcers and ads, the station has only three commercial breaks per hour. It is called Music 99FM because it is a music-intensive radio station.

Music intensiveness has contributed greatly to the station's identity. Without hearing the station's identification, the station is immediately identifiable because of its predominantly medium, soft-texture music. Research has revealed that individuals listen to Music 99FM because it plays clean music for the entire family. Its format is designed to help in the creation of a nicer, gentler society.

Songs that have common texture are collected from all over the world.

CROSSOVER MUSIC

James, who is also the station's programmer, chooses songs that appeal to the human experience. Many songs are taken from crossover music because of their message.

"Where the music comes from is not the most important factor," he said. "The message is what's important and many of the messages music can carry transcend cultures."

Music 99FM is fully automated and has paperless studio operations. The station has a very large collection of music titles. In 2014, special effort was made to further refine the music and format. Listenership has increased by 50 per cent in the last year and the loyalty level is high.

Today, Music 99FM is one of the most cost-effective mediums for advertisers because of its strong upper- and middle-income listeners who have strong spending power. It is the station most often played in retail outlets and offers significant advertising opportunities, giving clients an effective advertising campaign based on the frequency of their commercial messages.

Listener Lesly-Ann Roberts from Kingston said: "It is a station I and my entire family have listened to for years. My brother was the one who actually introduced me to it about eight or nine years ago. He would be ecstatic if he knew I was actually talking to the station now." She laughed. "Since then, I have been hooked. I listen to it every single day on my way to work, etc. I wouldn't change a thing, the music is perfect."

Tony Scott, account director of Prism Communications Limited, listens to Music 99FM in his car while on his way to work.

"They were playing it where I went to have lunch today," he said. "When the station first started, I was curious, so I listened. It's an alternative to the noise on other stations and it works great in traffic jams because it calms me down. The selection is very good."