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Five-ish Questions with Radio Comercial’s Pedro Ribeiro


GM:  Radio Comercial (http://radiocomercial.iol.pt/) in Portugal has recently achieved its highest ratings in its nearly 40 years of being on the air.  What have been some of the primary drivers of this unparalleled level of success for Radio Comercial?


PR: I’d say our success comes from a real accurate approach of playing the best hit songs of the moment, balanced with the super-testing gold material. This and being very meticulous about the amount of talk and the flow of the music on the station all day long has gotten us to this point. The focus for us is always on the hit factor.


GM: We have readers from all over the world, what can you tell them about the radio market in Portugal?  Is there anything that you think makes the Portugal market unique?


PR: The main thing is that we have only two really strong stations and then there’s a huge gap, in terms of ratings, with all the others.  We have a Hot AC in the lead (us) and an aggressive CHR in 2nd place. The 3rd station appears 10 points behind the two of us.


GM: The morning show on Radio Comercial has been the most listened to morning show in Portugal for many years at this point.  What are some of the ways that have enabled you to maintain this success?


PR: Well we had to find good personalities that are also radio people.  We tried once to bring in TV personalities, but we soon found out that they lack the radio technique, and that makes all the difference.  We have the most popular guys from comedy doing guest stints, but are very consistent with the 4 resident DJs that we have.  It also helps to be really tight in terms of the songs we play in the morning: just hits, no fooling around.


GM: Over the past several years, you’ve brought in different celebrities to be regular contributors to the morning show.  How has this experience worked out for you and do you have any tips for people who are considering doing this on their show?


PR: In terms of comedy people, it’s been spot on for us.  They really work.  I/we got very lucky because they merged perfectly with our morning team.  On the other hand, as I said, trying to bring TV personalities into a morning show on the radio didn’t work out for us.

GM: How important is social media to your show and how do you and your team use it on a daily basis?


PR: It’s a really powerful tool to extend our brand and product.  First, for us is Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RadioComercial/), and now Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/radiocomercial/?hl=en) is becoming almost as important.

GM: In addition to being the PD of Radio Comercial, you are also the “captain” of the morning show.  How is juggling the responsibilities of these two very important roles?  Do you have any recommendations for other PDs who also wear “two hats” like this?


PR: Be strong, be focused, sleep well. Be fair, always...starting with yourself.


GM: Events have also played a role in Comercial’s success.  Can you tell us about some of your bigger events and how these kinds of promotions play into keeping you at the top of the ratings ladder?  Can you give us any preview of what you’ve got planned for Commercial’s “Big 4-0” in 2019?


PR: We do a live show with songs that we make up (from original songs of the artists we play).  Comic versions that we sing have sold out arenas all over the country.  It has been a great adventure to step out of the studio and to build a live show like this based on content that has its origins on the radio. It’s been a huge ratings builder for us and a source of competitive advantage that we have against our competitor who has nothing quite like it (http://radiocomercial.iol.pt/destaques/9221/esgotado-manhas-da-comercial-em-guimaraes).


For the upcoming 40th anniversary of the station, we will do something big!  But if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.  You’ll just have to wait for March, 2019!


GM: Musically, the station has strived to forge strong bonds with local artists/bands.  How important are these kinds of relationships to a station like Comercial that has local content quotas?  What are you some of the more creative ways that you’ve featured local artists on the air?


PR: Well, we gave the best local artists a show on Saturday nights for a start.  Some of the most popular artists we play make a 2-hour show on the air.  We call it “Comercial Night Out,” and it has been very fun and a powerful marketing campaign.  It has helped to promote the station, with the local artists that we know are loved by our listeners.


GM: Lastly, a non-radio question…Portugal has become a super-hot travel destination for people from Europe and all over the globe.   What’s your favorite part of your beautiful country?  What’s an off-the-beaten-track spot that you’d encourage our readers to check out?


PR: Portugal is unique.  Being a small country, it has a lot of different landscapes and variety; we have snow and beaches, we have wine tourism and radical sports.  We have our traditional music, Fado, but also great dance venues.  Lisbon and Porto are trendy at the moment.  We are a country with great food and are a people that get pleasure in receiving well everyone that visit us.  So, all of this and we have great weather all year long.  You have to check it out!



(Note: For any of our readers that may think of themselves as language purists, please excuse the fact that the "a" in "Radio" Comercial should contain an acute accent.  Sadly this character causes issues with our site so "Radio" it had to be in this interview.  Desculpas!)