LISTEN UP: Monocle, the global affairs magazine founded by Tyler Brule, has hit the airwaves with a round-the-clock radio station called Monocle 24. The station, which launched this week, features 12 news and feature programs and counts Rolex, Ermenegildo Zegna, J. Crew, Krug, and General Electric Co. among its advertisers.
Monocle 24, which listeners can access via the Internet or wi-fi radio, is manned from London during the day and then switches to ABC Australia overnight. The programs are skewed toward world news — with contemporary music in between.
Brule said, ideally, listeners will keep quiet and enjoy the experience.
“There is no social element to this — you don’t have to respond in any way to what you hear, and we don’t want anyone calling in,” he said during an interview at Midori House, Monocle’s Modernist headquarters in Marylebone.
“And if you really want to be social, then you can listen with a friend. What we want to do is promote a sense of intimacy between Monocle 24 and its listeners, rather than shouting louder to get our message across.”
There are five and a-half hours of live shows, including top-of-the-hour news bulletins, and a first look at the daily papers from around the globe, including Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, and Bangkok Post.
There’s a food and drink program with an emphasis on the industry news and trends; another dedicated to fashion and design; and a two-hour Sunday show on newsmakers of the week.
This week’s programs include interviews with Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland’s president; Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt; and Peter Marino, as well as wrap-ups of the latest Frieze Art and Frankfurt Book Fairs and feature on Uniqlo’s flagship openings on both sides of the Atlantic.
Monocle 24 is launching at a time when the number of people listening to radio in the U.K. has reached an all-time high, since weekly records began in 1992.
In the second quarter, 91.7 percent of the British population tuned into radio each week, according to RAJAR, Radio Joint Audience Research Ltd.
Brule has made 20 hires — some of them former BBC staffers — and has had two studios built in the basement of Midori House. He said he’s relying, too, on Monocle’s web of 30 international correspondents to feed the station.
North America, he predicted, will be Monocle 24’s biggest audience, accounting for 40 percent of listeners, with Europe and Asia accounting for 30 percent each.
Although Brule said Monocle 24 is launching as a profitable business, one of his great challenges has been convincing potential advertisers about radio’s potential. “Companies are scared into doing Facebook, they’re scared into doing social, social, social,” said Brule. “Some brands I talked to were just not there.”
He said one of his big goals is to ensure the content is good enough to sell. “We need to be an Internet station producing work that NPR and other broadcasters want to buy.”