trade unions is forbidden. in most cases what will put the food on the table is advertising. According to their current business plan. Mercury will need around £250.()()() to get off the ground. It‘s a daunting sum. but the optimism of Clyde‘s new through-the-night FM service has rubbed off on them.
‘Radio Clyde said that the FM service was going to bring them in an extra £1 1/2 million a year— and that‘s just at night. And there‘s not a lot of advertising during the night. It‘s during the day that there‘s all the adverts. You can take it for granted that we‘ll make at least that.‘ In fact. the projected advertising revenue is an optimistic 2—3 million. and their confidence that they will find enough advertisers to stop them going under is unshakable. The anticipated advertising will come from businesses aiming at the 16-30 market: club-goers. people interested in fashion. music as more than background noise. who probably read the music press as well. ‘But anybody can listen.‘ adds Candyman sheepishly. before continuing. ‘We‘ll be giving advertisers access to that market. and advertising things that the audience want to know about. Not. for example. that Joe‘s butcher‘s is selling steak at £1 .75 per pound.‘
But ifthere isn‘t as much revenue out there as they hope? Idealists to the end. they insist that they‘ll carry on with their individualistic stance.
no matter what financial hardships await. Candyman suggests. with hopeful naivete that they might somehow be able to ‘educate
advertisers in the right way of thinking‘. in other words to leave the station alone to carry on in the way they please. Such wishful thinking would have to be radically modified the moment real competition for limited revenue got under way. This scenario has already been played through in France. where. in the year following airwave deregulation. the hundreds ofcommunity stations that had appeared were all owned by six companies. Mercury are nervous about Independent Local Radio creaming off the profits by secretly financing stations to get off the ground and taking a percentage of their revenue once they‘re licensed.
Ken Garner. radio critic of (‘ut and not one of Mercury‘s favourite people. wishes them well, but has doubts about their prospects.
‘I don‘t think Mercury. or any pirate station like them. has a hope in hell ofgetting a licence. To qualify for one you‘d have to have financial backing. proven broadcasting experience. business expertise and audience research. They have nothing to show to prove what they‘re doing. They‘d have to show that they were responding to a genuine need in that area and that they were founded out of that community. Also. anyone who doesn‘t stop broadcasting as a pirate right now will just not be considered. If they don‘t change their names and keep their noses clean. they haven‘t a chance.‘
Candyman has heard the latter argument before. At the time ofthe first green paper. he says. ‘they‘d said that the pirates would have to
stop before they‘d be considered for licences. and a lot of them stopped and they never gave them a licence. And it cost the stations a lot of money, because they had advertising and had to stop it. I don‘t know if that‘s the same. but we‘re going to do it anyway. We‘re continuing‘.
Record companies realise the pirates‘ influence throughout the country. supplying the stations with new releases.even though the president of the Phonographic Performances Ltd (pirates don‘t pay for the music they play. ofcourse) appealed for them not to. The success of the recent Bomb The Bass single can be plotted from the clubs to the pirate stations. until the record got too big for Radio One to ignore.
Now there are moves afoot to ensure a measure of strength in the pirate community; a syndicate which. acting like a major network. would pool resources. trade programmes and delegate responsibility. as well as providing a grapevine for bands from various cities to get better known outside their own area. Candyman and Boy Wonder also speak of helping to start up stations under the Mercury name in Edinburgh and other Scottish cities in the near future.
Suddenly. there‘s a battering on the door. Boy Wonder and the occupant ofthe flat jostle for position at the keyhole. while Candyman elongates his body across the ﬂoor. head out of the living room door, hand on the plug. ready to jerk the lead out of its power supply in the hope that this will prevent another confiscation of equipment.
It‘s a false alarm. Candyman relaxes again and he grins broadly — ‘Fair gets the heart racing.‘ — before settling down with the paper again. ‘We used to broadcast out in a field. using car batteries‘ he recalls. and mourns the loss ofthe Digital Audio Tape machine (generally unavailable in Britain. and costing £1500) Mercury used until it was confiscated in their one-and-only raid.‘The guy from the DTI thought it was crackin‘. He says. “Some machine!“. and I‘m going. Aye. and it‘s no paid for yet.‘
I pick up the magazine again. and flick through aimlessly until I get to the celebrity photo section. God. I think. that Noel Edmonds chap is looking old.
Radio Mercury would like to hear from bands with demos and anyone who feels they can contribute. Write to PO Box 433, Govan Hill, Glasgow G42 70].
_ FREE WHEELS
Aweek is a long time in New York City.
right Lights,3ig City...
A JAMES BRIDGES FILM MICHAEL J. FOX
KIEFER SUTHERLAND ° PHOEBE CATES .-: DIANNE WIEST JOEL SILL “'1; DONALD FAGEN .~.. .3253." BERNIE POLLACK u; JOHN BLOOM SANTO LOQUASTO :5.-.'-‘i?§£--.' GORDON WILLIS. .
:: JAY McINERNEY “"3..’.."§J JAY McINERNEY MARK ROSENBERG 8c SYDNEY POLLACK
WARNER BROS RECORIB. CASSETTBS AND COMPACT DISCS
DISTRIBUTED BY UNTI'BD INTERNATIONAL PICTURES I?
UNITED ARTISTS A MIRAGE PRODUCTION
“BRIGHT LIGHTS. BIG CITY.“
‘51:; 71'. JACK LARSON air: GERALD R. MOLEN
JAMES BRIDGES mimis’ss’o:
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALBUM AVAILABLE ON
READ THE FIAMINGO BOOK
COMMENCING JUNE 17th:
ODEON EDINBURGH; ODEON GLASGOW ALLAN PARK STIRLING: PLAYHOUSE PERTH
The List 10—23 June 19889