NICE FM is exactly that – Nice.
Over the past few years there has been a plethora of new radio stations emerging, all offering either Political Blah Blah or music geared towards the young only. NICE FM stepped in to offer the alternative. Beautiful adult contemporary music with little or no talk, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. NICE FM has become a firm favourite of the ‘talk show fatigued” and those who yearn to just hear some good music..
At any given moment, one can enjoy Ella Fitzgerald, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Bob Marley, Otis Redding or Ray Charles – back to back, without being interrupted by chatter.
For the station’s Managing Director, Denis Seon, the station has worked out even better than he first envisaged.
As he explains: “I‘ve been in the broadcast business for more than 25 years, with a background mainly in news and current affairs. So when it became clear that the then new government was going to issue radio licenses. I decided to apply.“
On October 12, 2004, he received his license, and after securing the start up finances and equipment, named his station “Action Radio”. On May 2, 2008, it went live. ”We spoke to our first listener in Old Road, a shop owner we passed on our drive from Boggy Peak: “she picked up the station loud and clear,” he recalls.
“However, by May 13, I realised that I needed to rethink my original plan and went to see a colleague, Bobby Reis, with whom I had worked fo a long time in the media. He said to me ‘Let’s examine the radio landsacape. We either have political talk or ragga ragga music aimed at young people. No one is serving people who just want to listen to good music with no chatter.’ We discussed the way forward and saw the absolute need for a station that offered nice music with little or no talk.”
The next day, NICE FM hit the airwaves, and the duo has not looked back. Reis says that the change in direction was not accidental: ‘When you looked at what was happening – it was a choice of talk radio or music aimed at the youth market. A vast majority of persons of all ages, were complaining that they
were tired of the talk and lack of choice of music. We decided that there was a need to play nice music around the clock. We are not trying to be all things to all people. We have secured our niche. We are a station that plays the best of adult contemporary music.”‘
When you walk into the station, you will be surprised by the lack of equipment and bodies.
“NICE FM and a couple of other stations in Antigua are the radio stations of the future”, Reis adds. “lt is fully computerised and verycost effective. Every song and advertisement have been downloaded onto a special programme called Radio 5, and this allows for continuous music and specific ad breaks, without someone being there to put it all together.”
“As the years have passed, we have added News and Weather at specific times. Between 6:30 am and 7:30 am Monday to Friday, Denis presents a comprehensive New package of National & Regional News plus the BBC News live. Of course, since we are in a hurricane zone, the weather is very important and we ensure that the weather report from the Met Office is aired twice during this time period.”
On Friday evenings between 7:00 pm and midnight, the Station offers a mix of Romantic Reggae/Lovers Rock and oldies hosted by the Musical Baje. On Saturday mornings, Denis mixes in lots of old calypso and reggae classics.
On Sunday afternoon’s, it’s the station’s flag-ship programme -”Spice”- hosted by Reis. ” Spice is an oldies programme that features the hits of the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. ‘I have been in this business for over 35 years, so I have lived through what is now considered to be oldies. Like, Denis, I, too, have a background in news and current affairs, but I find that music makes people happy and keeps me young.”
The station has benefitted from the help of a select group of radio enthusiasts. Among them DJ Musical Baje and a couple of other volunteers, like Tkeyah Hughes, who came along and helped to programne the music.
“This is our format and we keep striving everyday to make it better and more enjoyable and fulfilling for our listeners. We are Nice FM.”