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Virgin No More

The new "Absolute." brand literally repositions the station at the front of the EPG queue.

Facing an end-of-the-month deadline to replace the Virgin Radio name, TIML Golden Square Ltd. announced last week a new identity for the multiplatform British broadcaster, “Absolute.” As noted by David Lloyd, outgoing programming and marketing director for the station, on the “One Golden Square” blog, “Don’t forget the full stop.”

The name change, which aligns the name of the station with that of its management company, was necessitated by the sale of Virgin Radio by SMG to the Times of India Group. The new owners of the station declined to renew the license to use the Virgin brand and had 90 days from the date of sale to change names.

The move was announced on air last Tuesday morning, but members of the station listener’s club received word of the change the evening before via SMS text messages. (The Guardian’s MediaMonkey blog has a link to audio of breakfast show presenter Christian O’Connell announcing the change.)

Initial reaction to the new brand appears to be positive, despite the inevitable comparisons to Absolut vodka. In his blog, former Virgin Head of New Media James Cridland noted that the name also plays a strategic role in positioning the station on the electronic program guides used to tune digital radios:

Radio’s future isn’t 105.8FM. And it’s certainly not 1215AM. The future’s digital. And digital gives us no numbers… just names. My new Pure Evoke Flow, just like almost every DAB Digital Radio built these days, sorts its stations in alphabetical order. In London, the first set of stations on your dial are the BBC stations. From October, no longer — Absolute Radio will be number one. In fact, given that only two stations are “higher” in the alphabet in the UK, and both aren’t on any new platforms, Absolute Radio is guaranteed to be number one on anyone’s radio. Or any internet listing. Or any website.

[As an aside, Cridland also has posted a nice look at the Pure Evoke Flow.]