Danny Baker and the crowd-funded radio station – could it really work?


Iconic broadcaster Danny Baker isn’t one to keep quiet when he’s annoyed about something… and now he’s so riled with the BBC that he's threatening to start his own radio station. Mike Wood, Account Director at Carat, examines whether this could be successful…

Danny Baker crowdfunding Radio radio advertising BBC

Danny Baker is one of this country’s most talented broadcasters with a fantastic ability to draw stories from his listeners on a range of random subjects on his Saturday morning show on BBC 5 Live.

Despite working for the BBC he’s never been shy about what he feels the issues are with the corporation and, this week, following the announcement that Martin Kelner was being let go by BBC Leeds, Baker took to Twitter to raise the proposal of crowd-funding his own radio station.

Starting a radio station from scratch is not a simple process – equipment, property, presenters, engineers all cost money and there’s also the question of finding space on the broadcast spectrum.

Crowd-funding this type of thing can be tricky as well – while there may be enough initial support to get a station off the ground, once they are live there tends to be a habit amongst listeners to believe that someone else will stump up the money to keep it going despite appeals from owners. Commercially, bringing in advertising revenue can be tricky as well without evidence of listening figures via RAJAR for a standard radio station.

Saying all of this, Danny Baker knows how radio stations are run, has worked on both commercial and BBC stations and was even amongst the earliest broadcasters of a paid-for podcast. Baker has received support for his proposal from Jonathan Ross, Ant McPartlin, Stephen Merchant and Rob Brydon and has probably got the contacts to get some studio space and even potentially some space on an FM frequency or the DAB spectrum.

It may even be a case that a station owner has seen Baker’s comments and is willing to hand over control of the programming to Baker if they feel that there’s more commercial revenue to be had. Although this may be considered a risky move given his falling outs with previous station management.

However he goes about it, if there’s one person that has the passion and ability to start a successful radio station from scratch, it’s Danny Baker.

Danny Baker crowdfunding Radio radio advertising BBC
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