SION, Switzerland — Rhône FM has been a rhythm in the lives of the people of Valais in southwest Switzerland since 1984. From Radio Martigny to Radio Rhône and, finally, to Rhône FM, the station has won over the hearts of its listeners and built loyalty for almost 40 years. A member of the Union des Radios Régionales Romandes, Rhône FM employs some 40 professionals who are passionate about radio, and their station.
“The programs are designed and developed for the listeners,” explains Fabrice Mayor, news anchor, host of Good Morning Valais and the station manager. “The question we always ask ourselves is what people want to listen to at such-and-such time of the day. It is obvious that the person who drives in the morning will not necessarily want to hear the same thing as someone who is in the office or at home. That’s why the dynamism is different throughout the day, with a morning show that is more fun until 9 a.m., more service-oriented programming until noon, more musical until 4 p.m. and more youth-oriented to end the day, until 7 p.m.”
The radio of Valaisans
While the station schedules programming in the same way as almost all radio stations around the world, Rhône FM plays the card of the idyllic landscapes of the Valais and its unique climate. “Based on the principle that people from outside the canton who visit the Valais become a bit ‘Valaisan,’ Rhône FM is the radio station for the Valaisans, even in Geneva, Lausanne or Fribourg,” says Mayor. He adds that “holidaymakers and tourists who like to spend time in the Valais will certainly appreciate listening to Rhône FM at home to imagine or remember the sweetness, the lightness, the carefreeness and above all the good times of their last visit to our canton.”
Rhône FM boasts a daily audience of 82,600 listeners throughout Switzerland, with an average of 48 minutes of listening time per day in the area. According to Mayor, Rhône FM’s strength lies in its physical proximity. Listeners can identify with the programs and the people who present them and feel connected to the information they hear because it happens close to home.
Rhône FM plays the card of the idyllic landscapes of the Valais and its unique climate.
Switzerland will phase out FM by 2024, and the number of DAB+ stations serving French-speaking Switzerland is continually increasing, but the competition doesn’t worry the 38-year-old Valaisan news anchor. “We don’t imagine direct competition,” says Mayor.
“Each media, whether radio, print or television, has a different mission in the region. It’s more a question of complementarity than competition for the listener, who can also be a reader or viewer.”
That said, Valais listeners will be able to remain loyal to their radio station as it plans to create events, competitions and programs that will involve them.