Original 106 Achieves Record Breaking Listening Figures

Original 106 is celebrating a landmark achievement as the latest RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) figures confirm the station as the market leader in the North East of Scotland.

The station’s reach and hours have increased both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, reinforcing its position as the preferred choice for local listeners.

With an impressive market share of 15.8%, DC Thomson-owned Original 106 outperforms both local commercial brands and national networks with a reach of 97,000. Listeners are tuning in longer than ever, with an industry-leading average listening time of 10.2 hours per day.

Robin Galloway, group head of presentation, expressed his excitement over the record-breaking numbers. “This is a great day for Original 106 with its best set of listening figures ever. This is testimony to the talented on-air presenters, their amazing work ethic and an unrivalled team spirit. Local radio is thriving at DC Thomson.”

Robin added: “At Original 106, our commitment to our local communities is at the core of everything we do. We pride ourselves on delivering content that is not only entertaining but also deeply relevant to the lives of our listeners. From hourly news bulletins that cover local issues to supporting regional events and initiatives, we strive to be a true reflection of the vibrant North East community.

“Our success is a testament to the strong bond we share with our audience, and we remain dedicated to serving our communities and engaging with local listeners every single day.”

Original 106 is accessible on FM, DAB, via app, and on smart speakers, ensuring that the station remains at the heart of the community.

For more information, visit www.originalfm.com

The bunkered Podcast has hit a monumental milestone by officially passing one million total downloads.

Launched in August 2020, the multi-award-winning podcast has further cemented itself as the No.1 golf media podcast in the UK – attracting a loyal and rapidly growing fanbase in the process – by reaching one million downloads.

With new episodes every week, The bunkered Podcast has featured guest appearances from some of the biggest names in the game, from Greg Norman, Jose Maria Olazabal and Gary Player, to Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald and Paige Spiranac.

It is currently on a streak of 18 consecutive months of double-digit year-on-year growth and has racked up listeners in more than 150 different countries.

Bryce Ritchie, bunkered Editor, said: “Reaching one million downloads is a ringing endorsement that we’re on the right path. We’ve never moved away from our core week-to-week structure, so people know what to expect. That’s not to say we won’t change things up going forward, but our success with our audience comes from sticking to our guns and doing what we wanted to do.

“Particular kudos must go to Michael McEwan, our Deputy Editor, for his hosting duties and bringing the podcast to life on a weekly basis. Michael invests a lot of time and energy bringing in guests and deciding what we’re going to argue about.

“There is much more to come and we have plans to evolve, which we will reveal soon, but that’s all further down the line. Lastly, I’d like to thank all our guests for coming on the show, our sponsor Callaway Golf for their immense support and our regular listeners. Without our audience, we’re just talking into a void.”

Michael McEwan, bunkered Deputy Editor, added: “What started off as an innocuous lockdown discussion – ‘Maybe we could launch a podcast?’ – has quickly become the most successful brand extension in bunkered’s long history.

“There are a number of reasons for that but the biggest, I think, is because it’s made by people who have a genuine passion for golf. We might not always get things right and we seldom all agree but we have a genuine love for the sport.

“It’s incredible to see how far the podcast has come and it’s remarkable to think it has been downloaded a million times and counting. However, we see this as very much the beginning. We have, as Bryce said, big plans to expand and evolve, so watch this space.”

This milestone continues excellent momentum for the bunkered brand.

In November 2023, bunkered magazine was crowned ‘Consumer Title of the Year’ at the 2023 PPA Awards, whilst bunkered.co.uk recently completed a transformative re-platforming. This has unlocked the site’s full potential and now provides enhanced benefits for both users and advertisers.

The continued investment behind the scenes – including the expansion of the editorial team and re-platforming of the website – has resulted in users being up 50% worldwide year on year, and up 25% in the UK. April was also the best-ever month for users in bunkered.co.uk history, with the two key content pillars – golf news and equipment – up by more than 70% and 300%, respectively.

The bunkered Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, as well as the revamped bunkered website, the go-to for golf news, gear, instruction, videos, opinions and much more.

DC Thomson data journalism team scoops international media award

DC Thomson’s data journalism team has won an international media award for its investigation into the health of Scotland’s city centres.

The team was awarded the Best Data Visualisation award at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Awards Europe 2024, honouring European news publishers whose projects and products showcase creativity, inspiration, and service to their readers.

WAN-IFRA recognised DC Thomson for its community mapping project featured in The Courier and The Press and Journal.

With many businesses in Scotland’s city centres coping with a new shopping world – a world that has dealt with lockdown and continues to experience issues such as rising fuel costs, inflation, and the constant fight with online giants – the data journalism team decided to investigate the health of high streets in Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Perth. They then meticulously examined nearly 2,000 units across these cities through in-person visits to provide authentic and up-to-date data for their interactive high street trackers.

They found that on average, these cities’ high streets have a vacancy rate of 17.28% and shopping centres sit with just under a fifth of units vacant (19.91%).

The team keep track of the changes to these streets and shopping centres long term and produces regular reports on the changing state of shopping districts, keeping their fingers on the pulse of the city centre economies.

The project’s comprehensive approach, which combined structured data with compelling visualisations and empathetic storytelling, earned praise from the WAN-IFRA judges. They commended the team for their ability to transform data into engaging narratives that resonate with local communities.

The judges commented: “This project is a great example of data journalism for local newspapers. Data visualisation formats are varied and well done. DC Thomson was able to offer the same approach in several cities and managed to combine this data with human stories. It’s proof that newsrooms can produce structured data, turn it into engaging visualisations as well as transform it into empathic stories.”

Lesley-Anne Kelly, head of data journalism at DC Thomson added: “We were up against some really serious, hard-hitting journalism in these awards so to say we’re in shock is an understatement. This project involved a lot of manual data gathering by the team, so we’re thrilled to get some recognition for it.

The data team, Lesley-Anne Kelly, Emma Morrice and Ema Sabljak, will now go forward to the 2024 Digital Media World Awards competing against winners from other continents.

You can see all the other winners here.

DC Thomson receives five nominations at the 2024 ACE NMAs 

DC Thomson has been shortlisted across five categories at the 2024 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (ACE NMAs). 

The NMAs allow the publishing industry to come together, showcase and celebrate the many success stories that have emerged in the last 12 months. 

2023 was a year of considerable change within DC Thomson as it re-shaped and re-focused, transforming with real ambition to set the business up for long-term success. Now in 2024, the company’s newspaper, magazine and Puzzler newsstand teams have been shortlisted for five categories in the 2024 Newspaper and Magazine Awards (ACE NMAs). 

The newsstand team have implemented a series of transformative initiatives aimed at driving collaboration, harnessing data intelligence, and enhancing engagement with its diverse audience base. By fostering inclusivity and creativity, DC Thomson has laid the foundation for a new era of success in the fiercely competitive publishing landscape and as a result, received nominations in the ACE NMAs. 

DC Thomson is nominated for ‘Newsstand Team of the Year’, an award that recognises the team that has demonstrated consistently high performance and delivered great results across campaigns, challenges, initiatives, projects, or strategies.  

The Press & Journal, Evening Express and The Courier have all been shortlisted in the category, ‘Newspaper Newsstand Campaign of the Year’. This award is for a newspaper that has excelled in engaging with its audience and added genuine value to the market. Both The Press & Journal and The Courier continue to be two of the strongest performing regional titles in the UK with a real connection to their local communities.  

The Press & Journal has been nominated for First Class/Last Class campaign which aims to capture and celebrate the significant milestones of thousands of Primary 1 and Primary 7 students across the entire North of Scotland. These campaigns feature a mix of self-submitted and professionally taken photos, while The Courier has been recognised for Draw Your Mum/Draw Your Dad our heartwarming initiative to engage local schoolchildren in celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day which received an incredible 11,200 drawings for the Courier, and Evening Express for Pounds For Primaries/Christmas Concerts. In its 54th year, the December 2023 edition of the Evening Express Christmas Concert featured over 700 performers from 24 schools and community groups, marking a significant expansion of their annual event. With two shows drawing a combined audience of 2,300, the concerts raised over £20,000 in ticket sales and donations for Pounds for Primaries Campaign in January 2024. 

The Press & Journal has also been shortlisted in the Regional Publication Of The Year category. The P&J team decided to mark their 275th year with commitment to communities across the north of Scotland. As the highest-selling regional title in the UK mainland, The Press and Journal has a dual responsibility as a trusted source for business, farming, and fishing news while being the voice of families and communities in a vast circulation area and ensured every marketing campaign met these values. 

Beano is nominated for Magazine Newsstand Campaign of The Year. Launched in 1938, Beano celebrated its 85th anniversary in July 2023, cementing its position as the world’s longest running weekly comic. To celebrate this amazing milestone, Beano’s team developed a summer-long campaign focussed on the special birthday edition of the comic. The comic was crammed full of kids’ favourite celebrities and a special wraparound cover featuring the likes of The King & Queen, Harry Styles and Ant & Dec. It was also supported by the biggest Beano retail marketing campaign in years with vibrant and colourful point-of-sale materials, creating theatre and standing-out in stores across the country.  

The Puzzler KIDS COLLECTION has been nominated for Newsstand Magazine of The Year – Children’s. Originating in the nineties as Quiz Kids, this magazine has been a beloved choice among youngsters for nearly three decades. However, recognising the need for evolution, the team behind it took a bold step by initiating comprehensive changes. They revamped the content entirely, introduced additional puzzles, improved the paper quality, enlarged the format, and replaced the previously used plastic-coated neon pencil with a natural wood alternative. In its inaugural year, the Puzzler KIDS COLLECTION has captured 57% of the kids’ puzzle market, marking a significant milestone for a magazine that was relatively unknown when it first hit the shelves in early 2023.

Neil Mackland, head of newspaper sales and marketing, said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in a number of categories at the NMAs this year. It’s particularly gratifying to see our collaborative efforts highlighted, as the DC Thomson newsstand team’s combined entry for Team of the Year showcased the exceptional teamwork and synergy across our newspapers, magazine, and Puzzler teams. 

“As a small but multitalented team, we feed into various aspects of the business including editorial, advertising, radio, events and production, helping to make numerous projects a reality.   

“We’re up against some stiff competition but the campaigns from our brands received massive reader engagement, thousands of new customers and generated huge revenue for our commercial team. Congratulations to all the nominees and everyone who helped get us nominated!”  

The awards ceremony takes place on May 22nd 2024 at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London. 

​The full shortlist is available here. 

The Broons partner with NHS Highland to support #EndPJParalysis campaign

NHS Highland and the team behind The Broons’ legendary characters have joined forces to develop an educational comic strip to highlight the importance of movement during and after a trip to hospital.

A new pamphlet featuring all The Broons family members launched this week, providing health and wellbeing information about ‘deconditioning’ in an engaging and accessible way.

Derek Laidler, Professional Lead Physiotherapist, Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “Admission to hospital for many older people can be seen as a low-risk option and it’s important for older people, their families and carers as well as health and social care staff to be aware of the very real risks involved when deciding the best options to manage an injury or illness. This collaboration with The Broons will help us to get that message across.”

Prof Brian Dolan OBE, a nurse who originated the #EndPJparalysis campaign and who appears as a character in this specially commissioned Broons story said: “Often one of the best things patients, especially older people, can do to get home from hospital sooner is to get out of their PJs and get up, dressed and moving.

“Patients’ time is the most important currency in healthcare and an important question for all of us is ‘If you had 1,000 days left to live, how many would you choose to spend in hospital?’ We know for the vast majority of us the answer is ‘None’ so let’s be more like Granpaw Broon who says ‘Get up, get dressed, an’ get moving – the very dab!’”

DC Thomson’s content manager for heritage brands Kate McAuliffe commented: “We know that part of the enduring success of The Broons is that everyone can see a little bit of themselves in the characters. They’ve been entertaining readers for nearly 90 years and it’s wonderful seeing how their lighthearted family-orientated storytelling can be combined with serious medical messages.

“The creative team have done an incredible job of weaving a story around Granpaw Broon being in hospital after some over-energetic dancing, and how keeping active puts a smile back on his face. There’s even Horace teaching Granpaw about using his smartphone to read QR codes, in inimitable Broons fashion.

“We always say the Broons are ‘Scotland’s Happy Family That Makes Every Family Happy’, and that really comes out in this partnership with the NHS.”

You can download The Broons x #EndPJParalysis comic strips and pamphlet here.

Beano and Place2Be join forces to support children’s mental health

The UK’s longest-running children’s comic partners with leading children’s mental health charity

Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie and all of Beanotown will help children build better mental health through a new partnership, announced today, between top children’s comic Beano and children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

This partnership brings together Beano’s 85 years of expertise in engaging children and Place2Be’s 30 years of expertise in delivering effective mental health support within school communities to support children’s mental wellbeing across the UK.

NHS data shows that 1 in 5 children and young people in England have a diagnosable mental health problem. Without the right support, many continue to have these problems into adulthood. Through this partnership, Beano and Place2Be will provide children and families with advice on how to look after their own mental health – and advice on where to turn if they need additional support.

In their first collaboration, Beano and Place2Be have created a ‘Top tips for children’ resource for Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 – the national initiative run by Place2Be. Available to download now, this resource features peer-to-peer advice (written by primary age children, for primary age children) on looking after your mental health. The Children’s Mental Health Week top tips for children resource features much-loved Beano characters alongside the tips – with a view to making the tips more engaging for children.

Place2Be has been working in partnership in with UK schools since 1994. The charity provides expert school-based support and in-depth training programmes to improve the emotional wellbeing and understanding of mental health among pupils, families, teachers and the wider school community.

On the partnership, Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to join forces with the team at Beano to enable us to reach more children and families. This partnership builds on Beano’s great work incorporating mental wellbeing into its storylines. This aligns so well with Place2Be’s mission, helping children, parents and carers to feel more comfortable in having conversations about emotions and feelings in day-to-day life, building resilience and improving longer-term mental health.”

Mike Stirling, Editorial Director at Beano, said:

“We know from speaking to children that reading and laughter help them become more confident, creative, develop more empathy, and achieve better emotional balance. Helping kids laugh and read are what Beano does best, so we are thrilled to be working with Place2Be to continue to support kids’ well-being in a relatable and engaging way.”

Beano has been helping kids navigate life through fun and mischief since 1938. From World Wars to global pandemics, first days of school to getting their first mobile phone, the comic has always been on hand to help kids process emotions and feelings in a fun and engaging way. The Place2Be partnership follows on from a five-year partnership with YoungMinds, which launched the Beano for Schools Bouncebackability programme and annual Britain’s Funniest Class initiative. Beano for Schools provides free, curriculum-linked resources for teachers, which introduce and discuss mental health wellbeing with easy step-by-step lesson plans.

Milestone year for The Courier Business Awards

Firmly established as one of the leading business awards in Scotland, The Courier Business Awards – in partnership with Henderson Loggie – celebrated its tenth birthday on October 28th with its biggest event to date.

Held in Dundee in the grounds of the Apex City Quay Hotel, a record 760 people were in attendance including the Deputy First Minister, Shona Robison and Scottish Labour Leader, Anas Sarwar.

The event received more entries than ever before, with more than 160 submissions from businesses in the local area. Awards were made in 16 categories covering every facet of the local economy, shining a light on the exceptional work being done around Tayside and Fife.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by Mike Soutar (founder of Shortlist magazine) and included David Smith (managing partner at Henderson Loggie), Graham Huband (managing editor of DC Thomson’s newsbrands), Elaine Maddison (chief executive of Brightsolid) and Angela Vickers (chief executive of Apex Hotels).

Top prize went to Carnoustie Golf Links (pictured right) which won business of the year. Despite being hit hard during the pandemic, judges found the business had excelled in the last 12 months and has had its most successful season to date. The business, which operates three golf courses (including the world-famous Championship course), also won the leisure, tourism and hospitality category.

Other awards included Transition to Net Zero (won by Realise Energy Services) recognising progress towards a low carbon economy and greater sustainability, Resilience and Recovery (won by Lass O’Gowrie) reflecting the ongoing economic challenges, and a new Rising Star award for 2023 voted by readers of The Courier, awarded to health coach Shelley Booth.

A Special Recognition trophy was presented in honour of the late John Bullough, founder of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, who died earlier this year aged 54.

Graham Huband said: “Reaching the 10th anniversary milestone of The Courier Business Awards is a proud moment, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved.

“Over the past decade we have shone a light on many of the most interesting and inspiring businesses – and business people – that Courier Country has to offer.

“For those involved in the judging process like me, it has been a truly eye-opening experience – but in absolutely the best sense of that word.

“We have visited every type of business – from heritage family concerns to kitchen table start-ups and global multi-nationals with a significant footprint in Tayside and Fife.

“And, almost without exception, under every stone we have upturned there has been a hidden gem glinting out back at us.

“The Courier Business Awards is about celebrating the amazing success stories on our doorstep, helping build communities and networks and giving voice to a business community which continually punches above its weight.”

Full details of all winners can be found at www.thecourier.co.uk/tag/courier-business-awards/

Data journalism, video and comic shine light on dementia

DC Thomson’s newsbrands this week launch a major study into the impact of dementia in Scotland, analysing over two decades worth of data, as well as carrying out a number of freedom of information enquiries. The project includes deep dives into the data region by region, video case studies, and a comic has also been created for children to better understand the condition.

Running in The Courier, The Press and Journal from today and in The Sunday Post from this weekend, the research carried out by DC Thomson’s data team shows that deaths linked to dementia have more than tripled across Scotland since 2000.

It also reports the huge rise in self-funded nursing care and that women in Scotland are almost twice as likely to die from dementia than men. It finds too that 2023 saw a record high for dementia patients delayed in leaving hospital due to the availability of care home beds.

The accompanying comic, ‘My Granny is a Time Traveller’, is designed to help children understand why an elderly relative may be forgetting things. It’s downloadable online as well as being made available in a four-page pullout in DC Thomson’s news titles. The writer of the comic recently lost his grandmother to dementia and in a fitting tribute, the story is dedicated to her.

The work is an example of DC Thomson’s commitment to collaboration and innovation, and how being insight-led is driving journalism with impact and producing compelling content that resonates with communities.

Head of Data Journalism, Lesley-Anne Kelly, who led on the research, said: “It’s a true collaboration between reporters, data journalists, graphic artists, comic writers, the print team, the AV team, SEO and social media specialists and many more beyond.

“It’s a privilege to work somewhere where we’re allowed the creative freedom to take an idea and achieve such an ambitious goal, and we hope our readers see the passion that went into it.”

The investigation is in The Courier here and here.

The investigation is in The Press and Journal here and here.

The comic strip can be read here.

Minnie causing mischief in the 2023/24 storm name list 

Minnie causing mischief in the 2023/24 storm name list 

Met Office and Beano are up for mischief, as Minnie the Minx gets her own storm. The comic character has been included in the Met Office’s official list of storm names for the 2023/24 season. 

The collaboration between Met Office and Beano comes as Minnie the Minx celebrates her 70th anniversary later this year and Met Office is preparing for their 170th birthday in 2024. 

Minnie  kicked up a hilarious storm last week in a special comic story, raising awareness of what actions to take before, during and after a storm. Children  also learned about the Met Office storm names, created to keep people safe and #WeatherReady when it matters the most.  

The special comic story shows Minnie ‘charming’ the Met Office team to get her name on the list after her anger that Dennis had a storm named after him in 2020. After picking up a ‘how to prepare for a storm’ leaflet, Minnie gets to work with the help of a bunch of other Beano stars to keep everyone safe so her storm doesn’t hurt anyone. 

The comic also features a special ‘Storm Dodge’ strip where Roger is seen skilfully getting out of helping Mum and Dad prepare for the arrival of Storm Minnie.  

Met Office Associate Director of Communications, Dave Britton, who leads communication in times of severe weather, said: “This is the ninth year of us naming storms and we do it because it works. We’re delighted to work closely with Minnie and everyone at Beano again to help get our safety messages to their loyal readers. 

“Whether it is tying down garden toys, making sure you’re stocked up on your favourite food or checking on your neighbours, we hope our advice can help children make better decisions for themselves, but also provide them with the right messages to keep their family and friends safe too.”  

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, said: “Minnie is a force of nature herself, so having her own storm came naturally, especially after she found out that a storm was named after Dennis a few years ago. Kids will love this hilarious story, and we’re happy to join Met Office in their mission, by sharing essential information in a fun way with children all over the country.” 

Comic creativity – BBC Teach and Beano team up to give teachers new free resources

Beano and the BBC have joined forces to help primary school teachers share the secrets of comic creation with their pupils. The new Beano – how to create a comic set of resources provide a step-by-step guide to help children to make their own comic; from creating characters to constructing worlds to developing stories.

Three classroom videos, featuring our Beano Studios mischief makers, Mike Stirling, Ed Stockham, Rhiannon Tate and Craig Graham, introduce children to visualising characters as stick people, creating a story mountain, and building a soundscape with words like ‘clang’ or ‘squelch’.

Hosted on BBC Teach, the home of thousands of free curriculum-mapped classroom videos, the new resources are rooted in Beano’s 85 years expertise in comics and creativity.  the free videos are designed for teachers to use with their primary classes at Key Stage 2, 2nd Level and Progression steps 2 and 3 across the UK. They include everything needed to create a comic as part of a whole class project. The resources are accompanied by teacher notes, templates (thought balloons, head shapes and story mountains) as well as a specially designed comic book layout.

The videos come as part of the Beano for Schools initiative, providing teachers with comics and related resources to help children enjoy reading and support the teaching of English and Art and Design/Expressive arts. The videos have been designed in collaboration with BBC Teach to help children explore similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia; understand narrative development; how to combine graphics as well as lettering and visual imagery.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, said: “Bringing laughter and creativity to the classroom has been our mission ever since we launched Beano for Schools, in 2018. The collaboration with BBC Teach will get kids’ creative juices flowing, and we hope it will inspire a brilliant new generation of comic creators. We can’t wait to see what creative mischief these videos unleash.”

Alex Harris, Executive Producer at BBC Teach, added: “These resources are a unique opportunity to hear directly from the creative genius behind Beano. Designed to support teachers and engage learners, we hope these fun resources will get children creating thousands of comic strips and help develop a new generation of comic creatives.”

To access Beano – how to create a comic, visit: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/english-ks2-beano-how-to-create-a-comic/zr7rdnb