Transforming the Business Model of Irelands’ First Regional Radio Station – Northern Sound

Shannonside FM and Northern Sound Radio were established in 1989 as separate radio stations. In 1995 the two licences and franchise areas were combined to create the first regional station in the Republic of Ireland. Today, Northern Sound is a group of five leading commercial radio stations that provide local radio broadcast services to several regions in Ireland. The franchise area covers counties Longford, Roscommon, southern Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

In 2014, top stakeholders within the Northern Sound commercial group saw an opportunity to transform their business model by automating and digitising how they price, sell and operate their advertising.

When Keeper Solutions started speaking to Northern Sound in 2014, the radio group had a clear vision of how they could transform their business model. However, they did have the technical capability required to achieve their goal.

Key Takeaways

Founded
In 1995 when two established radio stations joined forces
Combined Forces
Today, Northern Sound is a group of five leading commercial radio stations
A Country’s First
Ireland’s first regional station, serving five counties
Transform its Business Model
Northern Sound commercial group saw an opportunity to transform their business model by automating and digitising how they price, sell and operate their advertising

From Vision to Reality: The Design-Build-Operate Engagement Model

On recommendation from one of our long-standing clients, Fexco, Northern Sound approached Keeper Solutions in 2014. The radio group wanted us to devise a roadmap that would help make their vision a reality. Keeper Solutions engaged with Northern Sound on a ‘Design-Build-Operate’ service model. This model is best suited for project-based engagements. Design-Build-Operate takes the client from ideation all the way through to fully formed software product or platform.

During the initial phases, Keeper Solutions ran a number of UX design workshops. During these sessions, Keeper helped Northern Sound to tease out the user personas and paths. By first defining user paths and personas, Keeper’s team was able to design an appropriate UX for the radio booking platform. This initial phase also allowed Keeper to build a roadmap and provide an estimate of costs.

During the second phase, or build phase, Keeper Solutions provided Northern Sound with three developers and a QA. This stage ran for approximately six months. The RadioAdbooker was then rolled out to the station’s commercial divisions.

The new platform made an immediate and transformational impact. For the first time, the radio stations were able to sell their advertising by audience rather than by slots. Furthermore, the process was now all consolidated on a highly functional platform that streamlined the commercial process right through to placement of the ads for broadcast.

Keeper hosted this platform on AWS and provided ongoing support, maintenance and upgrades.

About the Project

2014
The engagement commenced in 2014
Design-Build-Operate
and QA team working in a highly regulated environment Keeper Solutions engaged with Northern Sound on a ‘Design-Build-Operate’ service model
Tech Stack
Java, Spring, Hibernate, Angular, REST

Allowing Northern Sound to Transform its Business Model and Increase Advertising Revenue by Over 25%

The Northern Sound radio collective wanted to transform their business model by automating and digitising how they price, sell and manage their advertising. The radio group wished to move from simply selling advertising slots to taking an audience-based approach. This meant selling advertising according to audience figures. This new approach needed complex business rules which could calculate audience data and price advertising accordingly. 

The new system would automate the often laborious tax of pricing, selling and distributing advertising. It was also expected that the new system would increase overall productivity and efficiency.

Since the completion of this project, Northern Sound has increased advertising sales by over 25% whilst creating better ad targeting for their clients. This new business model has transformed efficiency, effectiveness and profitability. By moving the process to a digital platform it has enhanced the productivity of the workflow and also enhanced management visibility on sales (MIS). 

This project underscores the power of Keeper’s Design-Build-Operate engagement model. While Northern Sound had a clear vision, they did not have the technical capabilities to bring it to life. By leaning on the experience and expertise of Keeper Solutions, Northern Sound was able to become more efficient, effective and more profitable.

Northern Sound’s entire business model was reimagined with the help of Keeper Solutions. One project has opened a world of opportunity. 

Northern Sound’s entire business model was reimagined with the help of Keeper Solutions. One project has opened a world of opportunity.