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Unknowns give the Kiss of life to radio ratings
Evening Standard - August 2007

Two unknown DJs have proved a smash hit in London's breakfast radio battle.

Londoners Rickie and Melvin were plucked from obscurity to front the Kiss FM morning slot in a trial run this summer. But the radio debutants have piled on more than 100,000 extra listeners in three months and helped give Kiss a ratings victory over Capital.

Now Kiss bosses are expected to sign them up on a permanent basis. Kiss group programme director Andy Roberts said: "I wanted to try something from scratch, something fresh. They hadn't done radio before and I thought, 'they are the right age, they have a decent chemistry, a bit rough and ready, let's give it a try, sink or swim.' So I'm delighted with how they've done." Both 27, the DJs have been friends since university where they studied media performance.

Rickie Haywood-Williams, from Croydon, had worked as an assistant for Kiss and BBC 1Xtra. He has recently become the face of MTV News on weekdays.

Melvin Odoom, from Edmonton, has acted in the theatre, appeared in TV's Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow show and taught dance and drama to children with behavioural problems.

Both organise club nights in London and work for the website, Ment2Excel.com, which hold events for young people. They were spotted by Kiss chiefs after sending in a showreel.

Roberts said: "They're out and about, they're part of the MySpace and Facebook generation, they're people-friendly - which is more than can be said for a lot of DJs - and they reflect their audience."

According to latest data, the duo had 688,000 listeners in the three months to June - up 105,000 from predecessor Robin Banks. This has helped Kiss beat Capital in terms of "market share" - the most important statistic for commercial stations, measured according to the time listeners stay tuned.

Kiss has a share of 4.5 per cent, while Capital has its lowest ever at 4.1 per cent, behind Classic FM at 4.3. In the other key ratings measurement, the number of listeners, Capital barely edges above Kiss with 1,519,000 to Kiss's 1,515,000.

The ratings will come as a blow to Capital chiefs, who have just lavished £3million on marketing the "revamped" station. One industry source said: "They have monumental problems. The station is just so broad they don't appeal to anyone."

What Londoners listen to at breakfast time:
> Radio 2: Terry Wogan - 1,129 million listeners
> Radio 1: Chris Moyles - 999,000 listeners
> Heart: Jamie Theakston - 874,000 listeners
> Capital: Johnny Vaughan - 836,000 listeners
> Magic: Neil Fox - 823,000 listeners
> Kiss: Rickie and Melvin - 688,000 listeners
> Virgin: Christian O'Connell - 576,000 listeners
> XfM: Alex Zane - 308,000 listeners

Rickie and Melvin