Billy Howard. Business Development Manager, Wirral Radio

Tell us about your company?

We are delighted that Wirral Radio is the Media Sponsor for the 2015 Wirral Business Awards organised by Wirral Chamber of Commerce.  We are delighted to work in partnership with the Chamber and our listeners can expect some real insights and exclusive news about this prestigious event in the coming months.

Wirral Radio (pictured from l/r John Storey, Wirral Radio CEO, and Billy Howard, Business Development Manager) is a social enterprise which delivers a professional broadcasting, advertising and training service to the people who live, work and trade with the people and businesses of Wirral.

On-air we build our audience by giving the listeners a breakfast show that wakes them up and aims to send them to work with a smile. John Storey leads the show– sponsored by The Cherry Tree Shopping Centre – with Head of News and Sport, Ian Kenyon, alongside Wirral’s own Beverley Macca. John and Ian are accomplished broadcasters who bring all of their commercial and BBC radio expertise to the Wirral Radio Breakfast Show.

The latest Traffic and Travel news – fuelled by car dealership, Renault Wirral – gets people to and from work during breakfast and evening Drivetime while the Weather bulletins throughout the Day are sponsored by Nissan Wirral

Here’s a run-down of the rest of our programme schedule –

  • All weekday ‘Daytime’ programming is sponsored by the newly refurbished Carr Farm Garden Centre on the A553 Birkenhead/Hoylake Road and includes a mix of experience and new radio talent;
  • Johnny Kennedy (10am -12noon): A radio legend, Johnny airs his homespun view of life and mixes it with all the greatest hits both current and from years past.
  • Helen Craven’s Hits and Headlines (12noon – 1pm): Helen gets the office/workplace buzzing by challenging them to guess the year of the hits and headlines from two distinct years every lunchtime.
  • The Weekday Workplace (1pm-4pm): The show is often broadcast ‘live’ from a chosen office/workplace – the first time is free of charge!
  • Shaun Wood with ‘Drive’ (4pm-7pm each weekday): Local lad Shaun drives the Wirral Home and features ‘Wirral Tonight’ 15 minute news bulletins at 5 and 6pm each evening.
  • Each evening between 7-10pm our ‘Specialist Shows’ – different each evening, Mon- Sun – include, Soul-Funk, The Local Music Show, Back to The 60’s, The Country Show, Streetbeats ‘Urban’, Magnetic NorthWest and The Rock Show
  • For people who listen through the night and early risers (10pm - 7am) we have The Late Zone, Over Night and The Early Shift.
  • On Weekends – Sports Saturday – leads with Tranmere Rovers and our other local clubs (University Academy Birkenhead sponsors Wirral Radio’s sports output)

As well as playing all the contemporary and classic hits, Wirral Radio covers issues that are important to the people of Wirral. We are ’Social Action Broadcasters’  covering all of the local health, local authority, police, fire, ambulance and other service issues which impact our listeners – we also encourage the ‘services’ to discuss their ‘prevention’ campaigns with us as soon as they’re planned. We can carry them in the same way as any other local medium (as advertising) but can add much more via online and social media channels.

From a ‘business’ point of view the traditional drive times are available as part of targeted advertising and sponsorship campaigns. There are ‘business minute’ bulletins and regular ‘business advice’ features. The Wirral Radio Business Network on the 2nd Tuesday of each month regularly attracts 40-50 business owners and executives to an informal gathering (breakfast included) in which a local business can tell all those gathered about their offer as sponsor of that month’s network

"Wirral Radio covers all the issues that are important to the people of Wirral. We count ourselves as ’Social Action Broadcasters’ – covering all of the local health, local authority, police, fire, ambulance and other service news affecting our listeners."

Where do you want Wirral Radio to be in two years?

In two years time I would expect the Wirral Radio brand to be known and understood by everyone who has a stake in the future prosperity and wellbeing of the people, and the businesses, of Wirral. We will continue to encourage and inspire our volunteers and others in the wider community of Wirral to live fulfilled lives.

What is your background?

For the first 20+ years of my career I worked in the commercial advertising sales business – Radio, Posters and Television. In the last 5 years I have been privileged to work as a freelance marketer/development consultant - predominantly for a charity/service provider for people living with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and dementia.

The altruistic aims of that organization were clear and I was delighted to ‘help’ – but actually I was struck by how important ‘commercial’ practices were to meeting their aims. There is every reason to be as innovative, competitive and forward thinking as in any other organization. This is why I’m particularly glad to be using my previous experience in media sales to raise revenues – which work hard for those committing them – to be reinvested in helping individuals, businesses and the whole Wirral community. 

If you could suggest one thing to government to help business growth what would it be?

Business is not only about financial profit it is also about inspiring people to help other people to do well. Toy with the idea that ALL business could be traded on a not-for-profit basis (this does not mean ‘for loss’) – the incentive to strive for your community or for society as a whole – what could be better than that?

What do you do to relax away from the office?

My footy ‘career’ over now so Golf is my favourite pastime – and watching those Mighty Reds.

Have you any hidden talents we don't know about?

I can do a passable George Formby impression – but can’t actually play the Banjo Ukulele

What one piece of advice would give an 18 years old Billy Howard starting out today?

Well maybe there is more than one piece of advice

1. If you’re going into Further/Higher Education – DO THE WORK

2. If you’re starting in a job - listen and ask loads of questions (The only ‘stupid’ question is the one you DON’T ask)

3. Always be happy to make your colleagues a cuppa

It is clear that Wirral Radio has developed from purely being a local station to one which now represents a wider audience and geographical marketplace.  Being the Media Sponsor for the forthcoming Wirral Business Awards should mean the businesses enetring the competition will get excellent profiling on Wirral Radio 92.1 - listen here


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