Friday, 28 May 2010

Future of Local Radio???

Stop press - this post seems to have gone modestly viral. BIG response. I'm pleased.

I was the keynote speaker at Creative Networks last night. Brilliant, interested audience of students and practitioners. I gave a seemingly bleak overview of the state of UK radio and the shrinking opportunities for creative work, as cuts continue to bite at the BBC, and the commercial sector continues to strip jobs out, and ramps up automation and networking. All is not lost, however – in fact, all is never lost, if you approach things the right way.

Bullet points after the jump. 

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Creative Networks, Thursday 27th, Millennium Point, Brum

Creative Networks is a monthly gathering of... Brum creatives who, er, network. The Birmingham Music Network meeting precedes this event in the same venue, and I’ve attended one or both of these monthly gatherings for some time. Last Thursday in the month at Millennium Point, and you get a meal thrown in - what's not to like?

I’m the Keynote speaker this month.  It’s an interesting prospect. I am going to, of course, talk about local radio and local music. But that may just be a sidebar to some of the other areas, as we look at 21st century ‘radio’ on its many possible platforms. After all, there’s not a huge amount to say about radio that hasn’t yet been said....

...or is there? 

Well now… Of course there is. I would say, that, wouldn’t I? But it remains a fact that ‘radio’ is ignored as a creative area by most people, and is especially ignored by other media unless they can print or screen something juicy or damaging.  Mass media loves finger-pointing tittle-tattle, and radio has more than its fair share of unbalanced egos who can provide a steady stream of gossip fodder.

I still think, thought that there is a world of possibilities out there around radio. So what sort of things am I going to talk about?

How about the explosion in alternative sources of radio – community radio, college radio, blogging, mixes and mashups? And how come there has been an explosion in the first place?

What sort of tools do you need to get started? And, er how much do they cost?

And what sort of things are out there that you can listen to or otherwise discover?

What about… sound with images? Not, I stress, video, but SOUND. With added images.

And is this still radio? Hell, I don’t know. I do know that when you get to this point, you’re still using the same tools that you’d use to make conventional ‘radio’.

Maybe it’s the whole definition of radio we need to look at. After all, when we think about radio, it’s almost always in connection with music, maybe with a voice to link it all. Maybe, if you’re on a Spotify, Pandora or Last-FM ‘radio’ stream, a 'radio station' with no voice at all.

But I kind of think that radio is still all about connecting, ideally live.  But how can you do that with a podcast?

Lots to talk about then. I’d be delighted to get some ideas from you ahead of Thursday next, by the way. Might even namecheck you on the night.