Radio at the Edge Write-up

Written on November 17, 2009

This is the writeup I did for the Beeb on the Event I attended.

I attended this event for the second year in a row and it is now in it’s third year. The idea is ‘What’s Next Now’ and it looks at the future of Radio. There were sessions covering Mobile Phone applications for listening to radio and participating in it, whether if starting up a digital only station you should rip up the traditional radio rule book, visualising radio with ‘glance-able’ content, whether Spotify is a friend or foe, whether to build, buy or go open source for websites and an international radio consultant talked about his experiences working in community radio in Africa. To finish Tony Blackburn was interviewed by Richard Bacon.

There is a write up of the events of the day here: – along with some excellent video ‘factoids’ which are well worth watching. There is some audio on the Radio Academy website Some bits and pieces that I found interesting were:- Jazz FM has launched an iPhone app and so far received 78,000 downloads and since August 160,000 people have tuned in via a mobile application.

Spodtronic ( spoke to us about their phone applications and showed one stations use of their app and the GPS chips in phones to tell the station where traffic jams were plus speed cameras! These apps are not only on iPhone but Blackberry, Android and most importantly Nokia which accounts for a huge number of listeners. Their apps also allow for two way votes and competition entry. Mark Rock, the CEO of Audioboo (, spoke about the service which has been described at ‘Twitter without Typing’ It is an iPhone application which allows you to record up to 5 minutes of audio and it is automatically posted to the website or someone can subscribe to your ‘boos’ in itunes or via an RSS reader. The quality is very good and has been used on air to report news events. More importantly in the future there will be the ability to embed the application on a website using Java and allow visitors to record using either their in built mic / external mic or already saved piece of audio to your stations account enabling ‘good quality’ audio from your listeners or a good quality news reports. They do not allow editing of the audio – they say it helps with the ‘authenticity’. They currently have 32,000 users and 77,000 pieces of audio are uploaded each day.

Listenners habits – Instead of talking about ‘share’ for audience figures it seems the new term is ‘Share of Ear’ which deals with how much of your ‘brand’ is listened to throughout the day. Listenners want more interaction, more control and more portability. Chris Kimber from BBC Audio and Music Interactive spoke about the Simon Mayo visualisation experiment which went well but it was quite labour intensive. The important part I felt was it did allow for more texts to be shared with the audience than could be read out on air by the presenter.

Radio with Pictures – this was an extension of the previous years talk about radioDNS ( Colin Crawford from PURE talked about their new radio ( Pure Sensia which uses the technology.

Jonathan Marks spoke about radio in Africa and mentioned a couple of phrases I found interesting. “New Ideas are easy … getting rid of the old ones are hard” and moving from “Shouting to Sharing” for radio. He also mentioned Telecoms Sans Frontieres ( which is along the lines of the ‘Medicins’ but whenever there is an incident they come along and get the telecoms and radio up asap to enable proper communication in such an event.

Finally… the interview with Tony Blackburn was interesting. Tony Blackburn makes a small video 10 minutes before he goes on air on the variety of stations he works for (4 at the moment) saying what is coming up on the show and Tweets them on his twitter feed. It also acts as a reminder to his audience to tune in. Richard Bacon who interviewed him has over 1 million follows which he says is down to ‘an administrative error’!


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