InterFM DJ lifts the bar for morning radio

By Chris Betros

If you are lucky enough to be on InterFM’s weekday morning program "Good Morning Garage" hosted by DJ George Williams, Mike Rogers and Taro Furukawa, you’re in for a fun time. You can expect a lot of bantering and edgy comedy in Japanese and English, interspersed with some great music during the 7 a.m.-10 a.m. program

Now in its 3rd year, "Good Morning Garage" (GMG) is a big change from the bland variety shows on Japanese radio. It is InterFM’s highest rated program and consistently beats rivals J-Wave and Tokyo FM for the No. 1 rated morning slot, and though it is a local program, "GMG" has a huge number of fans throughout all of Japan on the Mixi Social Network.

“What we are doing is pretty unique in Japan,” says Williams, 37. “It’s not what we are saying but the way we present it. We’re making something we ourselves really want to listen to. The title word ‘garage’ sums it up. What’s in a garage? A whole bunch of things, sometimes including items that tend to be forgotten, but are still great.”

Williams, who is half British, half-Japanese, spent his first five years in Japan, then went to the UK, before returning to finish his high school education in Tokyo. He says he always wanted to do radio. “I grew up listening to FEN and used to hear Casey Casem all the time. In junior high school, I started working for a cable radio station in Harajuku. One thing led to another and I did TV jobs and more radio work.”

Since then, Williams has also worked for MTV Japan, is currently doing three programs for NHK -- "100 Go De Start Eikaiwa" on NHK Ch 3, "Digital Stadium" (an art program) on NHK BS-2 and "Your Japanese Kitchen" on NHK World, as well as a music show called "George’s Garage TV" on SKY PerfecTV Channel 731 . He does narration work and voices TV commercials for companies such as Bridgestone, Canon and Kirin. Soon, Williams will even be appearing in a Nintendo Wii game, his name being rendered as Wiilliams, naturally.

Williams says "GMG" gets a lot of feedback from listeners. “Our core audience tends to be Japanese blue collar workers and self-employed people, but I meet lots of doctors, creative people and musicians who listen to our show. I think what draws a lot of listeners is that we don’t take the easy road. We tend to be more opinionated, and listeners appreciate it and enjoy it.”

Radio faces a big challenge to stay relevant in this era of Internet radio and digital music downloads. Williams, however, thinks radio will survive. “First of all, radio is free. Also, I think radio will always be a place where you can discover new songs or songs you haven’t heard before.” Record companies often send him music to trial. “I’ve got maybe 5,000 CDs here at InterFM and 2,000 at home. They almost fill up a room,” he says. At home, Williams says he prefers listening to Mozart, Beethoven and instrumental music. “I download stuff from iTunes, too. My work involves playing a lot of music, not just here, but also on TV, so when I get home, I want to listen to something different.”

Williams starts his day early, getting up around 5 a.m. He is at the InterFM studio in Kamiyacho by 6. “I generally prepare the night before at home, so between 6 and 7, I check the latest news, sports and look for topical or bizarre stories that we can chat about on 'GMG.'” After the show is done, he may be off to NHK or on rare occasions, he is finished for the day, giving him a chance to spend some time with his two young children and walk his dogs. “I’m having a great time. The best thing about this job is we get to laugh, we get to give listeners a sense of nostalgia and we sometimes get them to say ‘What the hell?’ And we’re done at 10,” he says.

© Japan Today

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Yo... Good Morning Garage is NOT InterFM’s highest rate programe. And it does NOT consistently beats rivals J-Wave and Tokyo FM for the No. 1 rated morning slot. If you looks at the official ratings of radio stations done in Tokyo, InterFM does not come close to J-Wave or TFM. Were do Japan Today get this information?

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Is InterFM tied to this site. If not, is this advertising masked as reporting? That aside, this has to be one of the noisiest radio shows I've ever listened to. Who needs it in the morning on the way to work. Can't they just get on with playing the music and cut the banter and "edgy" comedy that should take one more step backwards?

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they're not always funny, but the program is interesting, noisy and wakes me up. and the music is usually very good (= on my taste). I've been listening to them from the beginning, and I still wake up on their screams and shouts

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J-Wave and Tokyo FM are crap. As the article says, they are 'bland'. At least GMG has some life to it, noisy or not!

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radiootaku You must work for J-Wave or TFM. Sorry to burst your bubble, but GMG has it all over programs on your station.

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I do not work for those stations. The point is... the morning shows on TFM, J-Wave, TBS have higher ratings than InterM. GMG has a strong following, its popular, but their ratings are not number one. Japan Today has the information wong.

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who gives a fishes tit at the end of the day? its all rubbish

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You are absolutely wrong. According to the data research results of Video Research, the ratings system that all the stations use, Good Morning Garage is dominate. Do your research.

Since Feb of 2007, Good Morning Garage has consistently beat J-Wave and FM Tokyo.

In that month, Good Morning Garage blew the rival station's door out:

2/19/07 - 2/25/07) 12 - 29 Male & Female

7:00 - 8:00 InterFM: 0.8 FM Tokyo: 0.4 J-Wave: 0.7 8:00 - 9:00 InterFM: 0.8 FM Tokyo: 0.0 J-Wave: 0.7 8:00 - 9:00 InterFM: 0.6 FM Tokyo: 0.1 J-Wave: 0.0

2/19/07 - 2/25/07) 25 - 34 Male & Female

7:00 - 8:00 InterFM: 0.4 FM Tokyo: 0.8 J-Wave: 0.5 8:00 - 9:00 InterFM: 0.6 FM Tokyo: 0.2 J-Wave: 0.1 8:00 - 9:00 InterFM: 0.8 FM Tokyo: 0.7 J-Wave: 0.5

And the ratings gap has increased considerable every quarter.

How do I know this? I get the data directly from Dentsu and Hakuhodo. I work for one of the major networks. And Good Morning Garage is, by far, InterFM's highest rated show... You'd know that if you knew how to read a ratings chart, which I doubt since it seems you are talking out of your hat.

For InterFM's ratings to not drop from a, say, 0.8 at 8:00 in the morning, the 4:00 in the afternoon ratings would have to hit a 3.6 considering the effect of potential audience. InerFM never even comes close to that. Never has.

Think. If Good Morning Garage was not the highest rated show, then how is it possible that it has all of InterFM's big sponsors?

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By the way:

Mixi community:

Good Morning Garage (InterFM's #1) community is 780 days old; 4919 members. Averaging 6.3 new members a day (The largest FM progam related Mixi community in all of Japan - even though Good Morning Garage is local - Even more members than Morning Musume has!)

J-Wave Groove line (J-Wave's #1) community is 1102 days old; 4321 members. Averaging 3.92 new members a day.

This is real data, not opinions, or heresay, radiootaku, go check it for yourself.

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Hairforest, Thanks for the ratings information. But, why do you give out ratings information the is over 1 year old and only give info for a certain age of people? How about the other stations like TBS, Nippon Hoso, NHK?

The reaon I make the comment is because my boss wanted to advertise on IFM. My friend works for an advertising agency and has the data. He said the the rating are all low. It surprized us both. In the Japan Today report it says that GMG is rated No.1 in the moring.

As for the Internet mix community, it sounds like the Good Morning Garage has a lots of fans. But does that mean more people are lisenting to InterFM? It means many are signed up and talking about Good Moring Garage, that does not mean the rating are no. 1

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I have the copy of the lastest rating. If anyone wants a copy I can show you. Sorry it is in Japanese only

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Hi radiootaku,

No, it is not generally common use of information that FM ratings are compared with AM ratings. AM stations, generally speaking, show higher ratings than FM stations do. Just as TV shows higher than radio, and satellite TV ratings are not compared with terrestrial.

I use the ratings from that time in that format because:

1) If it is found out who I am, I won't get into trouble. And; 2) All ratings systems use age groups and gender.

If your ratings are not so divided into catgeories, then your information is wrong. It is the way it is done.

If you use the overall ratings system, then, no, Good Morning Garage does not beat out Nippon Hoso, etc., Good Morning Garage beats FM Tokyo and J-Wave in ratings, generally speaking across the board. That was what was being discussed, now you are changing the subject. FM is not compared to AM. We're are not comparing apples to oranges.

You might also be using data not from Video Research (the Japan industry standard...) The latest data, from the second week of April, has not been released. So it is impossible that you would have it.

By the way, NHK ratings are never released, nor researched. NHK is not a private station, they are government run, they have no use for ratings.

Yes, IFM ratings are all low. Excepting Good Morning Garage. Do you realize that Dairiten has their own preferred clients and stations? Unless your friend works at Dentsu, Hakuhodo, or ADK, they will not push InterFM....

Look at Good Morning Garage's sponsor list. Some of the biggest copmanies in the country. They have the same info. If it were so low, why would they spend the money? Doesn't add up. Sorry.

I have the ratings from Feb. 2008 (the last ratings currently available)...My information is correct.

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guys, you are getting too carried out with this rating thing. it is a very popular show and that's enough I would say. there is another aspect that proves their popularity. I think the morning slot is one of the most important for a radio show, with all the people waking up for work or school and so. And GMG has been there for 3 years, which is absolutely amazing. The only other show that has been so long on air it was some hip hop thing, but it was in the afternoon and it was horrible (in my opinion at least). so let's give the guys some credit, they deserve it, either you like it or not

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All this ratings crap aside... it's a great show, I love it and listen to it every morning while I drive to work. ;-) Reminds me of the zany, nutty shows I used to hear in the US... only better.

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InterFM is generally one of the most annoying, awful radio stations I have ever listened to, with some of the worst music I have ever heard on radio. One or two of the DJs are not bad - like Guy Perryman - but the rest is mainly rubbish, with that annnoying American womans voice announcing the mindless "76 second play" and the other Japanese? American? Kyasarin and her painful "English" lessons. "Better English with Kyasarin" is mostly mindless claptrap in Japanese with a totally useless expression being taught every day. For example, on one occasion "My butt is sagging." What the heck is that about - and who but an overweight American would use such an expression - certainly not many of the young, grossly underweight Japanese young people here. I do admit, however that I liked Daves parody of that called "More better English with Dave" - really funny at times. However, overall I have mostly given up on InterFM becuase of their awful choice of music - simply ghastly. On the occasions I have listened to this morning show, and I have to admit the banter between the DJs is good fun, and they are good at their jobs.

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Realist is right. InterFM is the worst. The only saving grace is the morning show. At least they don't talk like they are full of themselves like the other DJs do (that includes J-Wave and FM Tokyo). I listen to the morning show sometimes and they make me laugh... The worst thing on InterFM (If you can stand listening to it any other time of the day), is that guy that comes on in the afternoon and plays the J-Pop and Led Zeppelin. You want torture? Try listening to that for more than 10 minutes.

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Hey Hairforest,

This is the last post for me. I understand your points. The ratings I saw was from a Video Reseach company too. It was 4 month ago. For Inter-FM all I saw was the kome (*) an low ratings. As for breaking down the ratings, all good sales staff can find that a show is number one in some catagory.

As for the GMG show, I like it very much and it does have very nice sponsors. But I bet they pay a lot less to put CMs on InterFM than if it was on the higher rated shows on TFM and J-Wave.

It sounds like you work for the production company that make the GMG. You know too much information.

Anyways, I still think it is a great show, but is NOT number one in the ratings. But as many others says in the comments page.. who cares.


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uniquo, walmart and MacD are popular and they have crappy products, too. Britney Spears has high ratings on the net, so who cares about most listened to. Noise is noise! And why does someone have to scream to be heard on the radio when they are not in the middle of a crowd at a rock concert but just in a studio with their own mic???

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Hey there.. warispeace..

I agree 100%

GMG is a good show, but they are not no. 1 in ratings.

It is a good product too.. but they should not claim to be number one.

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I don't work for the production company that makes this show. I already told you that.

I never said that Good Morning Garage was even a good show. All I said is that their ratings were #1 and they beat J-Wave & FM-Tokyo. Now, if you want to compare to AM. FM never beats AM. InterFM is a Rock station, for the target they are going at, Good Morning Garage is #1. To that there is no doubt. You made the claim first, then you keep changing the subject... Now radiootaku proves he has his info wrong. Now, you want to compare all age groups? Duh! How many taxis have you ridden in that even have FM radios?

If you get to overall ratings from 12 - 69 years old, no they don't. A qualified, intelligent, judgement would show that there's no way a 10 year old station is going to beat out a 30 year old station for overall ratings.

Good Morning Garage is the best on InterFM and is, perhaps, not original at all (like some have alluded to) but is typical of American & British morning radio style.... Which, I gather, that they try to mirror.

warispeace and radiootaku just don't like it and present their opinions as facts... Just as they claim McDonalds is crap, yet eats there every-so-often. And wears Uniqlo stuff, like eveybody else does.

I wish my company did make shows that got ratings like Good Morning Garage does in their market... Then we wouldn't be hurting for cash flow all the time.

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Those guys are hilarious! They are different. They have made it in japan.

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What's a radio?

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Also... this 'hairforest' guy is Mike Rogers! Look back and see what he says to protect his program. funny stuff..

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