Digital Radio Lust

You will be aware of my love of radio and my delight at Pure’s other products: the Evoke-1 and the Tempus-1. I want a Pure Digital Bug radio. I can’y jsutify it. Is it the look or the features?

Adot’s Notblog discussed the concept of tivo for radio a few Fridays ago. This reminded me that only last weekend I had picked up a leaflet for Pure Digital’s Bug in a store. You will be aware of my love of radio and my delight at Pure’s other products: the Evoke-1 and the Tempus-1 (actually, I never mentioned that I also have a Tempus-1). The Bug looks cool (it’s designed by Wayne Hemingway) and has a host of features (including some recording capabilities and radio rewind). I am not sure if I’ll actually invest in it (given I am running out of rooms to put digital radios in) but I will be keeping an eye out on the products that Pure come up with. I think Pure (or Imagination Technologies as they are also known) have some really imaginative products of high quality. They only lack one thing in their range: I wish they’d come up with a small, nicely priced portable radio that included FM for times when you can’t get DAB reception.

It’s A Takeover

As each day passes I have more and more respect for the talents of Chris Moyles.

As each day goes by I have a new found respect for the talents of Chris Moyles on the Radio One breakfast show. I’ve noted before that he’s the first presenter in a long time to get me to switch back to Radio One but almost everyday I find myself hooked into something about the show in a way I haven’t been hooked on the radio for a long time.

I’ve worked in radio. I understand the ‘magic’ of the medium. I know not to believe everything but sometimes, with Moyles, I wonder. His spontaneity seems so genuine and so well-done it is – almost – believable. I have a new-found respect for his talents as a broadcaster and, as very show passes, I see why he’s where he is.

Last Friday I was listening as he trailed the Radio One 10-hour Takeover that happened on Monday. I was almost sucked into the belief that, on the spur of the moment he decided to try the system but my understanding of the medium knew that it was unlikely. The beauty of the web is that now you can find out how it was pre-planned and read all about the technology behind it. Hopefully, and I say this meaning no disrespect to Matt, not to many people will read it and the magic will be maintained. In a similar way I hope not too many read the next part of this post so the mystery can be maintained.

I have to say that the concept of the 10-hour takeover is nothing new and, in many places, it’s as well staged as Moyles pretending to try to break the system without any planning. Most radio stations have some “you say it, we play it” mentality at some point of the day. In fact, my parents received some calls for Beacon By Request years ago when their home ‘phone number was similar to that of Beacon’s Shrewsbury call-in line. Digital station, Core, claims to be driven by listener’s requests (and will even text you back to say that song is being played).

Depending on the size of the station and the number of listeners at any one time the whole listener jukebox is, most likely, something of a con. There are so many requests that stations can, pretty much, stick to their playlists while actually playing the requests. They can filter out the material they don’t want. On smaller stations I imagine they’re making up the requests so, again, it can conform to their playlists (which – like them or nor – are a vital part of their identity). So, all in all, I wasn’t excited by the 10-hour takeover whatsoever but when I read items like this from David at Fuddland (via plasticbag) it strikes me that The Frog Chorus can’t have been anywhere near Radio One’s playlist for many years. So, hats of to Radio One and the technology team behind it.

I wonder what impact – if any – it will have on Radio One’s programmers? From what I have seen the selections were older-hits and often, like The Frog Chorus, a little off the wall. Did the broadcast teams actually select the most ridiculous tracks suggested? And what does this do for Radio One?

Next time, however, let Chris Moyles appear to break it. That would be even better radio.

UPDATE: The full 10-hour takeover playlist is available on the Radio One site.

Worthy of Comment

The Radio Authority rules that Midland News Association ARE not be allowed to buy Telford FM

Media Guardian carried a story about Telford FM today:

The authority today ruled that the Midland News Association, the owner of the Shropshire Star and several other papers in the area, would not be allowed to buy Telford FM on public interest grounds [Source]

Sadly, no time to comment.

Summer Listening

I invested in a Pure Evoke 1 earlier this year and it has shaped my radio listening this summer.

This has certainly been a long hot summer. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ability to sit outside in my garden and enjoy pleasant summer evenings and baking weekend afternoons. Despite the fact I have been unable to keep the garden in check (and it’s looking desperately in need of a make-over) it’s been wonderful.

At the start of the summer I invested in a Pure Evoke 1 digital radio. The sheer range of stations is fantastic and I, for one, welcome the introduction of Digital Radio to the UK. The irony of the purchase is that I’ve spent most of the evenings listening to the relaxed sounds of Jazz FM (which is perfectly clear across London on a regular radio set). At least my second favourite (and superb on summer Sunday afternoons) is The Groove which is only available on DAB in London and on the web.

No wonder I haven’t wanted to do much to this site.

Hooked on LBC

A week after the relaunch, I am hooked on London’s news station, LBC. Wonder how long this will last?

Last week I discussed the re-birth of London newstalk station LBC. Despite the fact that it’s not been that great and has had a whole pile of technical problems, I’ve been addicted for a week. So what if the news station doesn’t actually talk to that many news makers and the air seems full of journalists slapping their backs while gathering opinions from other journalists. So what if most of, what little real news there is, seems lifted from Sky. The whole thing has been addictive and if they keep this up I am convinced their audience will be huge. Not very well informed, but huge. Robbie Vincent has some interesting points in Media Guardian this week and it’s good to see a journalist of Brian Hayes’ standing tell the breakfast show presenters to stop interrupting each other. Regardless, I will be listening in the morning and that’s what they want from me.

Our Radio Rocks

The GlobalTuner InTune200 is a small portable radio that connects to a computer wirelessly, providing access to any music on the PC or to thousands of internet radio stations.

I am quite excited by this new radio. It’s a wireless one (so, what, I hear you ask). But it’s a wireless radio that you link to your computer. Internet radio around the house on a proper tranny (the radios, not the tall people in stilettoes).

The GlobalTuner InTune200 is a small portable radio that connects to a computer wirelessly, providing access to any music on the PC or to thousands of internet radio stations. [BBC News]

LBC Back On Air

LBC is back on the air on FM in London

This morning, London’s news and talk stations, LBC, came back on air. Of course, LBC is not really new nor has it really been away. The Chrysalis Radio Group have acquired the London speech licences from London News Radio and are continuing to use the LBC names (LBC being the original London commercial news station).

Sadly, while using the name with a heritage of almost thirty years, day one seemed a bit shambolic. The most noticeable and irritating part for me is the constant paper shuffling that goes on when the presenters are on air. I suspect, back when the news talk version was on AM, that this wasn’t that audible. Now, it’s irritating. Then there are presenters whispering to each other but still clearly there. It’s as if there is no off button on the microphones. This evening, there seems to be no off button the computers that play out the commercials as poor Clive Bull seems to be suffering from the fact that the advertisements keep starting and he seems blissfully unaware that they are about to play.

Still, I am pleased that the rolling news format has moved to AM. Not because it’s on AM but because it means most of my portable radios (which are FM only) have the more interesting of the two talk stations. These early teething troubles will, hopefully, be rectified and we’ll have a decent commercial talk station for London again (although, IMHO, BBC London seems to have been doing a fine job). I just wonder who is going to listen to the rolling-news on AM.

Continue reading “LBC Back On Air”

End Of A Radio Era

For almost thirty years the JY Prog has been a ratings winner. Lunchtime ratings of five million should not be sniffed at. And today, as he bid the Radio 2 airwaves farewell, I had a listen.

Broadcast radio is a big passion of mine and there is an event that happened today that can not pass without comment. Sir Jimmy Young presented his last show on BBC Radio 2 this morning – bringing to an end twenty-nine (or so) years on the air. There is much discussion as to the reasons behind his departure (here and here) but I don’t want to go into them. Neither does it really matter that I have rarely listened to his show. I am usually in the office where we don’t listen to radios (except today as I am on my own) or, if I am elsewhere, there are other stations I prefer. I do, however, think there are a couple of things worth commenting on.

Firstly, for almost thirty years the JY Prog has been a ratings winner. Lunchtime ratings of five million should not be sniffed at. Jimmy Young has managed to stay at the top of his profession longer than many. In this celebrity-obsessed, five minute fame world, Jimmy Young’s achievement should not go without recognition (his Knighthood at the start of the year testament to his appeal). Where presenters rarely last three years, JY lasted almost three decades.

Secondly, and to me a great contribution to broadcasting, Jimmy Young’s show has always been an interactive experience. There has always been audience involvement and comment long before talk-shows, shock-jocks, email and message boards were around (or even thought of). It’s something that should not be forgotten and I believe it has been a great contribution to broadcasting.

Thirdly, his style may not be to everyone’s taste but Jimmy Young has been able to interview some of the top politicians of the day and get them to answer questions without the need to resort to aggressive interview tactics. He was able to ask the questions many people would like to ask Prime Ministers directly. In an era where politicians (and politics) have been reduced to the level of a sound bite, this is also an achievement worth noting.

Finally, the way in which he has left the network has been sad. It was leaked 18 months ago that Radio 2 were talking to others about taking over the show? In itself, that is not an unreasonable thing to do for the network controller. For it to become a public affair (with questions in the House of Commons) is quite the opposite.

As BBC News has said, it’s a sad end to a remarkable career. Just don’t mention his recording career!