After 10 years in the radio business, Vibe 98.9FM is taking a new approach and refreshing their look and sound.
“We’ve narrowed our scope of music as well,” said Kenny Rankin, Paramount Media’s (Vibe’s parent company) managing director. “When we first started, there were only four radio stations. Now, there are 13. So we’ve streamlined it – more hip-hop, reggae, urban music, a little bit of Latin soca.”
For Rankin trying to do something innovative and staying ahead of the pack is nothing new – it’s how he got into the radio business. A computer engineer with his own business that focused on networking in Cayman, he had the vision to bring more soca to Cayman, but no one was doing it at the time, so Rankin decided to create a radio station to feature the music.
He took his inventive ideas and grew the family business to include graphic design, an architectural company, a law firm, construction and of course,Vibe.
“If you live in Cayman, you need to make it interesting,” he said. “It’s either – I’m going to come to your event in your country and I’m going to pay my way, or I’m going to create an event here, get paid for it, and own it. So the vision came from wanting to do more.”
And he wants to do it in a cutting-edge way that hasn’t been done before.
“It’s not about it who can do it now, it’s about who can do it better.”
To ensure they do it better Vibe has added six more DJs to their lineup to give themselves more variety of talent on the station.
“Everything we do, personalities are so important. So now it’s a fresher sound. You’re going to hear more spins of your favourite music. Anything that you turn on is going to be a hit,” Rankin promises.
Monday was the official launch of the new sounding Vibe and the debut of one of the new DJs, hitmaker Rik Rok, who gained international fame as a songwriter and singer on Shaggy’s 2001 album Hot Shot. He co-wrote and sang on It Wasn’t Me and Angel, two radio hits from the album that sold more than 15 million units worldwide.
“It’s not something I ever would have thought of, being a radio personality,” Rik Rok said after his first show on Monday. “It went really well. I’m really pleased.”
And so was Rankin.
“In radio, it takes you a couple of week’s to get your sea legs, but it was really good. It was a good day. I’m really excited about all the new talent. They all have different personalities. It gives us a new sound, a fresh sound.”
But the new Vibe is not just about the music, it is also about offering listeners the latest in interactive technology. “There’s a lot of new technology that is available now in Cayman that’s allowing us to bring new and interesting features to the radio – not just listening, but interaction with the station,” Rankin said.
One of the new technologies is a barcode campaign where listeners can scan the code and it will take them to a specific web page.
There’s also U-stream, a free live video streaming technology that allows listeners to access Vibe content on their computer, mobile or iPhone.
And there will be GPS codes that can be scanned and will tell you where Vibe is at.
Listeners can also look forward to even more in the future as Vibe is also looking to bring in artists and DJs for more hybrid events as opposed to concerts.
“It’s a bit more of a relaxing atmosphere. They’re more relaxed when they come as a guest of the station,” said Rankin.