In 2022, Joe managed to secure a spot among the top 3 most popular radio stations in Flanders. It also expanded its reach to the Netherlands with the launch of its new digital channel, Joe 70s & 80s. This is a story about a radio brand for over-40s that’s rocking harder than ever.


(46), channel manager at Joe

Joe’s steady rise obviously started with the key ingredient for good radio: the music. Joe – founded in 2009 as Joe FM – plays a cleverly calibrated cocktail of hits: one-third from the 80s, one-third from the 70s and 90s, a pinch from the 60s and one-third from this century, including today’s music. It’s a mix that resonates with audiences. 

“We play all the music that makes you feel good,” says Robin Vissenaekens, one of Joe’s former DJs and, since 2016, the station’s channel manager. “It’s open, positive, recognisable and melodic. Anything that’s doing well in the charts, or that’s done well in the past, and fits Joe’s feel.”

Joe All the way 

That ‘Joe feel’ is captured by the station’s slogan, ‘Joe All the way’. “We want to move forward. And not just a little bit, but all the way. We want to make radio for people who still feel young and hungry, even if they’re past 40. Because life doesn’t end at 40 – no, that’s when it starts! That’s also what informs the promotions we run. Joe is more than just a radio brand, it’s become an experience.” 

Last year, that focus on experience resulted in major events like the Joe Top 2000 Singalong Party, Joe Summer Island and Joe Christmas House. There was also the second edition of Pakje van je Hart, a heartwarming campaign where listeners donate Christmas presents for children who are struggling.

Overtaking competitors

Listeners appreciate these kinds of events. “When we started the ‘Joe All the way’ adventure in 2016, Joe was still mostly a second- or third-choice station: listeners would start at another station before tuning in to Joe for the feel, and the hit songs. But we’re getting more and more people to come to Joe right away. We’ve now overtaken a lot of stations that used to be bigger, including MNM, Radio 1 and Studio Brussel, and we’re closing the gap with our colleagues over at Qmusic.” 

Joe’s main target audience is the 35-to-54 demographic, for which last year Joe was the most popular station in Flanders, sharing the top spot with Qmusic. This is according to data from CIM, Belgium’s Centre for Media Information. Joe’s market share among this demographic grew from 12.7 per cent in 2020 and 13.6 per cent in 2021 to 16.2 per cent in 2022. “In radio, you always have to play the long game. We started with figures well below 12 per cent, and we keep growing every year.”

250 minutes a day 

In terms of daily listening time, Joe is number one among its target audience. “People listen to us the longest: almost 250 minutes a day, on average.” Joe’s overall market share in the 12+ category was 10.7 per cent in 2022, making Joe a fixture in Flanders’ top 3, behind Radio 2 and Qmusic. 

Joe’s themed digital stations, available via DAB+ and online, are also a hit: Joe 60s & 70s (now the most popular DAB+ station in Flanders), Joe 80s & 90s, Joe Easy, Joe Lage Landen and Joe Top 2000. All of them are stations that fit Joe’s feel, Vissenaekens says. “We want to make people smile.”