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Martin Steers talks about the Community Radio Awards and the New UK Community Radio Network.

by Sam Sethi
June 13th 2020

Sam Sethi had the pleasure to interview Martin Steers the station manager at NLive Radio and Chair of Community Radio Awards.

We talked about how NLive is continuing to run their station thro... More

Hello, everyone on Welcome to Sam Talks Technology, Your weekly guide about all things Tech on Business with Sam Sethi. Hello and welcome to another episode of sand talks technology. I'm joined today by Martin Steers. He has multiple hats on one of his hats is he's the station Mandra in Live based out in Northampton. Another is hats on. He is the founder and chair of the community radio ward, and he's recently taken a new hat as the UK Community Radio network has been launched. Now we'll talk about all of those things. Also gonna be talking about Martin's passed on. We've got some amazing subject to talk about. Going forward. We're gonna be talking about the role of what community radio will have in local now that Baron Global are aggregating everything together. What does podcasting do with community radio? Now that podcasting seems to be growing on, there's so much more we're gonna talk about. But first

of all, let's say hello and welcome Martin, how are you? I'm not bad. Thank you. And thank you for having may pleasure. Now let's start off with what you do today. You're the N live station radio manager What does that mean? And who are they? Eso in live radio? It's the community radio station for Northampton were Abroad Station covering ALS. The communities off North Hampton Broad audience a lot of different shows from specialist content specialist music. And yes, it's my full time job since September last year to run the station with all my great volunteers bringing more volunteers in on It's that lovely coalface And I'm grateful of it, actually, because it's been many years since I've Bean sort of directly involved hands on with off come license community radio as a manager. So it's great to be back involved on. I'm absolutely loving it and finding this really interesting, especially the moment with working from home, because actually, we're completely broadcasting from home. All of my volunteer presenters were working from home. I've bean into the studio once in the last

three months. On everything else is is going from home. So from a technological point of view, it's fascinating to see how our station, but also the rest of sector, has really embraced remote innovation in terms of running their stations on broadcasting. That, I think, shows how great community radio is and how great community radio could respond to some of those challenges. And ah, lot of people locally where we are at, Marlow FM have said, because they're now home, they want to hear what's going on locally with community activities and projects. Andi, they can't find that through BBC, local radio or national radio. Absolutely Community radio. In the current coverted crisis, lock Down has really had an opportunity to shine and I think has taken that opportunity even to the point that off calm, relaxed or tweaked the short term. Or could RSL rules for short term dedicated FM licenses to having a special category just for co vid on? I think there's three or four stations that have been spun up in their local area on FM

broadcasting just to accommodate local information. Local What's on local? How support groups have been set up and forming from food banks to prescription delivery services to befriending services, and a lot of that has gone on a cross community radio. In live, we have our mid morning show which would normally be lots of different topics, and lots of different subjects need. All of that has been dedicated to talking about how the community has responded on the beauty of community radio is it's truly local in the sense that we talk about streets on neighborhoods and the town. Where is the BBC has its place, but the BBC actually is more county or regional based, so they're talking about whole towns and cities and whole parts of the counties in the areas that they go in on. They can't necessarily always gets that lower granular, almost a hyper local level that community radio does offer on across the board from my different hats on from individual within live, but also

from speaking to other stations and station managers across the sector. We are seeing listener ship on engagement increase averaging from what I've heard, averaging 2030% increase of online listenership. Because, of course, it Zhar to necessarily have that kind of responsive audience measurement. With FM, we can very much see our online data on within live. You see more people coming to our website, more people coming to our social media and more people listening to listen again, and they're doing it because they want to know what's going on in their local area. They want to know what shops are open. They want to know what social distancing looks like now at this moment more than ever, about how the high streets re opening, how are we trying to return to some form of normality, or what the new normal looks like? They can only really get that through their local community radio, but it goes beyond that as well, I think, with social isolation with locked down, I think people have been turning to local Radio Mawr for that companionship. For those voices that they hear from that dialogue they can engage with through interacting with their station, particularly

presenters talking about from home talking about, I think, what's really interesting from a technological point of view. For years, the industry has move towards better quality studios, better quality microphones, making the whole thing sound better on. Then we took a massive step back because it's right. What random piece of equipment can you get or you try buying a USB podcaster microphone on Amazon the first two weeks of locked down? Honestly, you just couldn't get them. Volunteers up and down the country commercial and BBC presenters up another country were buying these things on. I think the audio quality has dropped some war, but because people are saying I'm broadcasting from my front Rome audiences are completely fine with that. I mean, I've not seen any complaints myself or any issues with that, but more importantly, I think it makes it feel much more authentic, much more real and much more relatable. If you are stuck at home because you're working from home or you're furloughed or you're looking after someone who's vulnerable or you are vulnerable and you just can't go out listening to your

local radio station here in your local present to talk about them doing their initial one hour social walk, they could around the park that you can relate to that park. It makes you feel so much more connected with other human beings in the same situation. And I think we cannot underestimate the value of that for people's mental health and social well being on, but is only deliverable via local radio, which is now through local community radio. Well said, I couldn't have said it better myself now. One of the things I wanted to ask you was you talked about how end lives running from home for people listening, they'll want to know. Certainly community radio managers. What did you use this technology? Clear feed. Zoom. Have you done it? Well, lots of little bits, actually. So we did the standard installing, making sure we've got, like team, viewer and backups to team viewer working on every single PC service so I can access them remotely. We used myriad is a piece of play out software, and we're

so myriad with the developers or or broadcast radio as they are, I think did a great service to the sector because they offered up there online Web based platform, myriad anywhere. They offered that up for free because it was in a beater stage. They went right. We're going to open up the beater to everyone on at the moment they keep extending. Its been extended a couple of times. I think it's extended until August now as a free thing because they really trying to support the sector, because I think hundreds of stations across the country on across the world, because they're worldwide platform, have been using the software on. So a lot of our presenters have been doing what's called voice tracking or beating using their software. You could do that what I call beating in the hour so you could literally be recording 5, 10 minutes ahead or an hour ahead or a day or a day ahead, so it's not 100% live. But I don't think it necessarily matters to a certain extent as long as it's it's still authentic. Still local, still sort of engaging. We are still doing some live our breakfast presenter, and a couple of other shows are fully live on. We're

using I P. D T. Ella's our audio platform to get audio from presenter mix at their house straight rooting into the studio. And then they are using team viewer to remote control myriad and control the Fade er's digital fade er's into the what we have. An analog deaths were not fully digital environment, and so they're being why called Hot Mic. You just collecting their personal mark friend up at home via I P. DTL, which is a Web based platform. So it seems to be your either I, P D T Alley or Clean feed in terms of that, and they seem very much similar platforms. I've I've used a bit of clean feed on more of our presenters have been using Skype or zoom or clean feed to conduct interviews. Yeah, I don't think they've had any live interviews. We could do it if we wanted. You need a lot more producers helping to make sure the technicals right. Where is doing pre recorded interviews via Zoom I on a rig on a weekly basis? I'm doing interviews on Zoom on. Actually, as we were saying off air, we're actually using this as an opportunity to look at multi platform because Zoom

has the built in ability to record video. Andi. Nearly everyone's got a webcam now, and in fact, I've even gone out and purchased a better Web can so I could do it. We're even be looking at where we can possibly cut bits of video out, then uses promotes to the interview. It's been really interesting in terms of innovation on. It will be really interesting to see how much of that new practice we keep it in life, but also how the sector keeps that. But it's worth saying not every community radio station has completely fully shut down. Some have done a 50 50 mix or some presenters where they can have been doing it from home. But then there have been some community stations that have stayed completely from studio and just had to work out how you do that in the most safe way. So every presenter having their own mike foam that they use or pop shield multiple studios. So no presented going in and out of the same studio at the same time. So using Studio A then Studio Bay so that other people have got time to think going and clean things So you're not necessary having lots of people coming into contact, passing contact. Ah, lot of stations now are looking

at that waas. They look at returning back into the studios. It is very mixed approach across the sector, but what's great is the whole sector has risen to the challenge. It's worth noting all done by 20,000 plus volunteers. It's ah, volunteer based on a volunteer led sector on these are people who are going above and beyond way, going above and beyond their normal, going to into a studio to do their show to doing it from home and having to take on extra measures or even being willing during lock down, because if they are reporting or engaging with co vid their key workers, they should be going in or the ability to go in on DSO doing all of that and still wanting to serve their local community with local broadcasting, I think is phenomenal. No, it is, and just just a zey counter to that. Marlowe FM has been broadcasting live from the studio, but in hybrid format, so driver being done remotely. But all of our other shows are a studio one or studio to in between. We have pre record, so I can see how many radio stations are doing

it very differently. Cool. I want to move on to one of your other hats on that. One of those hats is that you are the founder and share of the Community Radio awards, which are about to be opened on. Also, it's in its 50 years. First of all, tell me when it's gonna be opened on what's different about it this year on, then I'd like to understand why you came up with the whole concept. The Community Ready Awards 2020 sponsored by play out one another, software that equally has bean supporting stations with their remote Web based platform. We open on the 19th of June for entries, and we're open for about six weeks, which is our normal period. It is worth noting that we're about two months behind where we are normally. I'll be honest because I was putting a lot of time energy into getting in live or fully remote on having to deal with working from home myself. But also we were trying to see what the co vid situation would look like on. We did consult with community radio. Station managers say, Look, what? What do you want us to do with the awards will present to still be able to get access to the logs. Will they still be able to put awards together on actually

positive response from managers? Say no, absolutely on, In fact, some managers and said, Look, they're actively encouraging presenters to look to the awards as a bit of Ah, I don't wanna say distraction, but something to focus on if they are sort of wobbling or slightly struggling with the presenting from home or feeling a bit sort of itchy wanting to do something like, We'll start looking at the awards crack on eso the awards air opening in about a week's time and run for six weeks. The awards submission process hasn't changed tall, really, Since last year. We've got one new category, which is for the general election, because we've all completely forgotten. But less than six months ago, we had a general election, But then we decided we were gonna have a special award just for the general election. I think every year we might have, like a new award or an award for that year that's relevant to something that's been going on. So whilst I don't want 100% confirmed now, I suspect next year there'll be an award dedicated co vid coverage

on how stations have done. We decided not to do that this year because we're still in the middle of it. We're still dealing with it on the awards process hasn't really changed, so I think there's now 18 or 19 categories, anything from Male of the Year, female of the year young present of the year to entertainment to sports to specialist music, speech, creative arts and lots of different categories. Each category is slightly different in terms of what it looks for. Most of them are five minute audio entries on then around 500 words. Give or take. There's a few that they're slightly longer entry times or slightly more words is worth as a bit of a plug, staying as £5 entries. I'm pretty sure with the cheapest radio or audio awards out there or dedicated in the UK sector. All the other ords, I think more now. Andi. There are two categories that are also completely free, which is station the year on our Cell station of the year, which is our category that open for non off Com FM licensed community stations. So those that are running

as our cells restricted licenses are running on digital radio like DB DB Plus s on the SSD be or even on their regionals or our Internet only community stations, because they are not normally allowed to enter. Enter the other category. So we've got a dedicated category for them, and that's also Frias well on. That's the awards process, which is mainly what I'm passionate about is the awards process on Then, like I said, we're running behind what we would normally be doing. I would suspect that we might then release nominations except end of September October time on to pre empt your next question with the hopes that we will have some form of awards. Ceremony on celebration event towards the end of the year is all. I'm being drawn at the moment. We are really, really hoping to have one, even if we have to do some sort of socially distance awards ceremony. But I'm passionate that we will try and do our best endeavors to make something happen a physical awards process. But that will be in the autumn. So we could be looking at sort of end of October, November, December, possibly

possibly even hooking over into early 2021 which would be ironic having the 2000 and 20 awards you know in January. But it does will depend on social distancing measures when then use are reopening. But I think if nothing else, the sector deserves on opportunity to celebrate what would have been a really struggling year. Okay, who are the judges this year? Same as last year, Or have you changed it around every year? We have new judges on. We welcome new people. Judging on, I'm always keen to grow the number of judges we have. So I think last year we had something like 70 70 maybe 80 judges last year. So we have some judges that come back every year because our judges of volunteers, it's hard toe. Ask too much from them on. As the number of entries increased, we obviously need more volunteers. Otherwise, we're gonna be asking too much from them, as volunteers are, judges are drawn from the community radio sector, particularly anyone who wins gold is invited to

judge the following year in that category on. They're not allowed to enter that Yes, because we very much didn't want the same stations winning the same awards every year. So we invite them to judge the following year on sort of sit a city year out from entering that cats really can enter other categories and be involved in other entries in other categories. So people from the community radio sector on, we always do our best. I would guarantee it that no judge judges their own material on there. Asked if they encounter any entries that are from their station or from people that they're involved with. To let us know. We make sure that other judges judge those entries. Every entry is judged by at least three people at its minimum stage on, we tend to find as we go through, because some categories, because the number of entries go through multiple stages of judging some or judges listen to them. So when we get to things like the final entries of Station of the Year, I think last year something like 10 separate judges would have listened to every single entry. So some some entries have more judges listened to ing

it than others. And that's purely based on the number of entries. On the level of depth we go Thio. So that's community just. But we also have people from the BBC people from commercial radio people from the wider audio industry. We have people who have sort of left so X any one of those sectors academics who were involved in in teaching, broadcasting or involved in broadcasting, and then we invite other community people in particularly for other categories, but only if they really have a sort of an understanding on little things like Podcast of the Year on That's actually open toe any not for profit organization that runs a podcast. So that's not explicitly for community stations that could be for different charities that running podcast on last year we invited people from charity Calms, which is, ah, organization that supports different charities with their media marketing communications more like an industry kind of body on, they run their own podcast. We actually invited those people to come on a Z guest judges. Eso is those kind of thing. We try and have a very round balance

on every year. Like I said, the number of judges grow, and we're always really interested and really open to people coming on board. I'd rather have more people, judging from lots of different backgrounds, so it has ah variety of different ears listening to it, but also hopefully giving feedback. Because we do ask Noel, judges do. But we ask all our judges to provide constructive feedback to the entries, which are then given out a month or so after the whole awards process is done so that people know how they can better themselves. But for me, one of the fundamentals for the awards is about sharing best practice on developing sector, on also celebrating what the sector does for individuals for those involved, but also for the local community. So having ah wide amount of judges and those judges providing feedback really helps answer that because I really helped hope that it's a developmental tool for community radio stations to analyze themselves. What do they do? What, certainly encouraging them to celebrate what they do. I

mean, first station of the year. They have to produce a pdf almost what I would call like an annual report to celebrate. And I have actively written blog's in the past on encourage stations to use the awards or use what they produce for their best station entry. If they don't do an annual report, they send two key advertisers to stakeholders to volunteers to trustees. If they don't do that kind of thing thing, they should use their entry into the community Ready awards, if nothing else, and send that to local MPs and the mayor because it's the awards should hopefully focus the station because we're so used to delivering every day great community outreach, that how often do people take the opportunity to step back. Look at what you do and go what we do. Good stuff. And that's what a part of what I wanted the awards to do, but also encouraged volunteers to consider what they do and encourage stations to celebrate what they're volunteers. Dio. Hopefully, it's about growth on development of the sector and its about championing and celebrating everything that

the sector and everyone involved in it does. Brilliant I look forward to entering was very lucky. Thio get an award last year myself, So I was very chuffed. Now moving swiftly on you were talking before we came on air about a third hat you are wearing, which is a new role that you're starting to form called the UK Community Radio Network. What is that on DWhite? What can people do to get involved? The UK Community Radio network, the several of us involved. It came out of managers coming together at the beginning of locked down. So just as locked down was happening, I posted into a couple of the Facebook groups exist to say, Hey, guys, do we fancy doing for managers? Do we fancy doing a regular zoom? I was possibly faced with the prospect before we knew would be working for a moment on full lock down the prospect of possibly working alone in an office, not seeing all the volunteers coming and going. And I thought, I think I need some support. I'm no doubt there'll be other managers in that situation. On it did. Turned out there was. And so, for three odd months we've been doing

weekly zoom meetings. Are average attendances sort of different? It is about 20 different station managers on every week. There's new people that come in and some people come in and obviously go away for a couple of weeks and then come back. But these are, ah, weekly zoom meetings on off the back. Through those meetings and off the back of those meetings, there was a real big sense that the UK off com license community radio sector needs a stronger voice, needs more representation with government, with key stakeholders to really raise the agenda off support that's needed for community radio on off the back of that group. That's where the UK Community Radio network has sort of form, and when the process off forming, there's there's a sort of a membership form out. At the moment, there's no membership fee at this point on, we're only concentrating on a few things at the moment. Once lockdowns over once with hopefully achieve some things, we'll look at what the future of this group possibly looks like with representation with government. It's almost akin a lot of people calling for an equivalent off the radio center. So the radio center represents all commercial

radio interests on bond. Something like 98% of commercial radio stations are part of the radio center. The radio center is sort of the commercial radio's voice into government and into big agencies and big stakeholders on There was a real sense that isn't necessarily being delivered for off com license stations in the UK for the sector. So we wanted something to happen that was on behalf of everyone on through that we've run a couple of social media campaigns. We had ah radio from home campaign back when locked down first happened just to sort of really raise a profile to say that community radio is still going and it's strong and it is doing what it can do to support local community on, then I think about a month ago we had our hashtag ready from a home hashtag support community radio, where we were really trying Thio shout to the government that we needed support. We needed some funding we needed access to their support on. We had hundreds of stations or tweeting at the same time. We trended in the top 10 on Twitter, using those hash tags on. There was also a video put together that I think

had 40 or 50 community radio stations that had submitted bits to that video. And it was all the Beatles or we need for love. And we encourage all stations to play that song at the same time. To really sort say, Hey, we're here. We're all local. We're all passionate about our local community, but we wanted to make some big noise and we certainly did. And then a few weeks after that, following that campaign, we led on an open letter to the sexual state for digital culture, media and sport GCMs all of the downs and on to John Whittingdale, who is the minister of I think it's radio and data or something like that. All right, radio and digital, something that was calling on the government to be paying community radio station is not for profit community radio stations for playing the public service announcements, PSAs or government ads. So you may hear if you listen to commercial radio, all sorts of different ads from Don't Be a space invader on the highways. Agency to tax check your tax allowance will check your tax statements. But more importantly, during covert to the wash your hands initially than the stay at home on Now that's moved on to sort of the track and trace kind

of adverts on. It's worth saying that from the beginning we engage with public health. England. We provided on opened up encourage community stations to initially play those psh because we thought it was the right thing to do the wash your hands, the state homes. And then, a few weeks into that, we found out the commercial radio was then being paid to play those campaigns on. But we were massively incensed by this by the fact that for years, commercial radio as a sector receives millions of pounds, we don't know the exact number. We've not managed to find out we need to put a freedom of information request in to find this kind stuff off out. But the commercial radio sector has received millions of pounds to play these adverts, and community radio receives nothing to do this on. There are multiple campaigns running. I mean, there's even off, which is the regulator. I've even heard advertising campaigns on commercial radio talking about how to make sure you get the best Internet connection at home, talking about wireless and making sure you're near to the root on those air being funded by the D. C. M s marketing budget on yet none of that is being offered up to community

radio. So there was a really sense of unfairness and injustice on that. So we did this letter writing campaign. I think it was something like 133 licensed station signing. So, nearly half the sector around half a sector sign this letter on to date. We still not have full engagement with the government on it, and it's our main campaign at the moment. Really. We're trying to raise the profile of community radio, particularly trying to aim for some national PR on We're about to start doing some or engagement with the GCMS Select Committee with shadow cabinet on with various MPs and encouraging stations to engage with their MPs. Now, if you're a local listener and you write your MP your MP right to the government, they get this almost standard copy and paste Letter three Government says that they really value the contribution that community radio has given through the covert crisis. But then there's no funding. They Amos towards what's called the off com Community Radio fund, but they won't even engaged on the campaign. So that's our big push at the moment, and it's more about equivalents. We don't necessarily expect to receive the same kind of money

that the hearts and the L. B. C s or that smooths or the Bower Group. We don't necessarily expect to receive the same amount of money from them, but we should be receiving some money because we are providing a public service. This isn't handout. This should really speak the language of the government. We're not looking for money for nothing. We're looking for money for playing their adverts, but more importantly, for community radio with P. S. A s is so Many community radio stations also have specialist niche audiences that just won't get those messages, so it could be communities of interest. It could be youth stations, LGBT stations. It could be Asian stations or Polish or all sorts of ethnicity religions. But also, if you're listening to community radio, you might not be listening to your local commercial or your national commercial because there isn't really local commercial radio anyway. So you're not gonna be hearing these messages. So that's that's what we're trying to do at the moment, on top of everything else that I'm doing as well. Now, how can anyone get involved? Where would they go? Is there a slack group, or do they have to email you directly, or is it invite only? Hopefully, nearly every community radio station has had an email

from me or from somebody involved in the UK Community Radio network, because we have been trying to email everyone UK crn dot radio. So it's one of the new radio Web websites UK CRN radio. We have also launched UK Community Radio, which is a news platform for us to be sharing good news off community radio. We're encouraging community radio stations to submit their own news articles on there because we wanted one platform to really do all this good news sharing best practice. All people are welcome to get in contact with me separately. My personal email is Martin at Martin stairs dot co dot UK. If they want to talk about anything to do with community radio. But at the moment we're focusing on off. Com licensed a community radio stations, so hopefully they will have heard of us. And already, and if not, people are more than welcome to get involved with us, and we really interested to hear what they've been up to, they can join our voice. There's a lot of unity and strength on I firmly believe in people working together to support develop on better represent the sector. Congratulations

. So now we're taking a quick breather from the three hats you've got. I just wanted to find out a bit more about you, Martin. So how long have you been involved in community radio and radio itself? And I know one of your other passions is scout radio. So what have you been doing before? You were doing in live lots of radio stuff. I'm one of these really interesting people that only on reflection do I realized I was a radio and Iraq. I never really embraced the full radio. And Iraq, never as a teenager, sort of made my own demo mix tapes, and it never really crossed my mind. But on reflection, if somewhere at home in a box, I've still got the full page spread of when my local commercial radio station launched locally in my hometown on, I made sure I went to every single outside broadcast and I listened Every day I listen all the time and I rang them on you. Reflect back and go your radio honor at your a G. You just never really realized it on. It wasn't until I returned back to university as a mature student. There wasn't a student radio station. I remember trying to join. Somebody was trying to start one. I remember trying to join it, and it never happened on campus

. So I think I've always had an interest in radio. In that sense, on by my brother, was was just getting into commercial radio when I was going to university because he didn't. He went through that sort of practical route on. Then it took a couple of years out and then returned to university and did communication studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. On there isn't a dedicated, angry, risking student stations there. Wasa joint radio station between Cambridge and Anglia. Ruskin and he actually ran on what's called low powered AM or Oil Palm as a full time student station. And I got involved in that even before I started my degree over the summer and email them to say, Hey, I know I want to get involved in you guys before I've even started, which is very unusual. I knew I wanted Thio on, got involved in them on a Actually. That was where my journey into community radio started because we decided as a station that actually we could serve a academic community of Cambridge, Cambridge, obviously university town to universities, I think combined staff students, alumni of 30

40,000, I think back then, probably more now. So a good chunk of the town or the city, even on they had previously tried to apply in the round one and hadn't got it on we were looking at Do we apply again on. Actually, I was the first ever non Cambridge university student to become the manager off. What? WASI you are 13 50. Cambridge University's Radio 13 50 which was our A in frequency. Andi. I applied for the community radio license on it Waas over 10 years ago that we applied on one. So that was my step into community radio had never really been involved in community radio before had been involved in student radio, and I wrote a license application back then. It was something like, I think it was like 45 page document because you have to include so much now. I think it's a lot more lightweight application process because you have to really get into a lot of data about what you were going to do and why you were going to do it and how you were going to do it on DWhite. What management platform? What. Staffing structure, volunteer structure

, What finance structure? What technical stuff. So that was my first John in into community radio. I then moved around a bit various personal moving with family or moving in with partners and stuff on, then worked for diverse FM in Luton, I think in 2011, 2012, Time on, Lose track of it. But I've always been passionate about just working in radio, so works in there for a bit. Aziz, the project manager of the radio station on, then ended up spinning out doing all sorts of different bits. End up working in a bit in commercial radio for Eagle Radio in Surrey, doing their community and education department. I was one of the lead guys in there, um, looking at funding applications for doing community radio projects or community media projects in commercial radio on that was working for U K Rd, which truly believe in commute or did before Bauer took them over on his dismantling them for want of a better word, truly believed in local radio s. So we're doing it very much

for the right reasons. On then, off the back of that, I spent many years teaching radio and come back to teach Radio Anglia Ruskin University on also working in schools doing schools. Radio Runner had a company called Schools Radio Network, doing radio projects in schools and encouraging a new generation of people toe love radio, which is really interesting when you go to radio conferences and they go young people don't listen to radio and I go number they do. Because actually, with you mentioned about scout radio over 10 years ago, I launched scout radio on state radio. Is that the official national radio team broadcast for the Scout Association S? So we're talking a scouts and wobbles and badges and camping it, and it's not the Boy Scouts. It's being coeducational boys and girls for decades on on What's got radio was set up to do was to provide short term FM licenses at the big camps they have normally in the summer. So we're not having any this year have been canceled, unfortunately, what it called jamborees on actually the biggest one that I've been involved with. This Essex Jamboree, which is over 10,000

people for eight days camping in the field, completely green fields I only the last couple of years we got a portable studio and by portal studio. It's the old caravan that we converted when she looks great. But before that, we used to have to say to the jamboree, Right, well, we need you know, a couple of porta cabins and some tents or marquis space on. We were literally building a radio studio in a green in a complete environment alien environment all over the country. We've done locally to you a Bark Shears jamboree, which should have happened this year in 2000 and nine was my first ever FMR cell, and that was off of the back of that. That's cat radio was formed, which is Wings FM in Windsor Jamboree, which is the jamboree for the local scouting. So a little bit of a local connection there, really. But I come from Bedford you at that time. So we traveled all over the country running FM radio stations but also running Internet radio stations that smaller county camps just for a weekend. And this is normally quite often to entertain and inform people what's going on in the event, but also particularly the weekend events. We turn the

studio over completely to young people to come and have a go at being radio presenters, and I tell you this, they love it, absolutely love it, take you out the door to have an opportunity to have a 10 15 minute slot. Talking about what they get up to in scouting and guiding, but also playing music and doing shout outs and dedications. Now I see. But they love it. So to say young people aren't interested in radio is at a rubbish because they are really interested on then, since locked down because face to face counting was suspended. We've actually been broadcasting regularly, and we're now doing weekly one day a week or one evening a week, broadcasting as scout radio, and it's called a scout cast. We've got a couple of other shows that we've done on. It's all about doing badge work via the medium off radio. So talking young people encouraging them to listen via smart speakers off our website because we're only online on encouraging them to do badge work, talking them through what's involved. But we've also had interviews with some really inspirational people or interviews with people from scouting association talking about what's going on. So we're running that as

well on that, and that was just over two years ago, and that's completely voluntary, completely voluntary. Running Scott Radio. Absolutely love it. I mean, I'm a radio person through and through, so even as a hobby. I do radio Ondas professionally. I do radio and in the last two years I've done some freelancing work for the BBC. Eso hospital radio is the only bit of radio we haven't done. I don't have the time yet, but maybe there's a retirement thing. In a few decades time. I might retire into hospital radio because it's the only better radio I've never done on. I'm sure it's got a big I'm sure Northampton's got a big hospital there, so it must be an opportunity. Now let's fast forward a bit, but there's a couple of topics every day. I want to talk to you now. I've got you on here. One of the first topics is what I called the death of local radio Bow are aggregating a lots of radio stations. They're quite last year. I think the number that we're looking at around 252 160 presenters they're gonna be made redundant in September. What do your thoughts on what they're doing there? Um, I'm

really mixed because one of the groups that waas bought last I think it was February time was u K R D. So Bauer bought up. Basically, what? What wasn't owned by global radio? Bauer effectively bought. And interestingly, I'm sure I saw something from Bauer. They reckon they're actually gonna be the largest commercial network, which will be really interesting because obviously, Global's Global went well, I was it two years ago. 23 years ago, global went fully regional. I mean, obviously, over the last 10, 15 years, they've been slowly buying up everything. Then the massive rebrand to heart into the capital on we all knew eventually would become regional networked radio. We just didn't know when on then, through lobbying through things like the radio center, there was the deregulation of radio. So I'm tourney because my experience of working for U. K L. D. They are passionate about local that the U K R D stations which, around your way was eagle or mixed 96 or some of the biggest stations that pirate passionately local. No networking, no. Huh, Bing, All local presenters all talking

about local areas. So I think it's a real shame for those to go. And in some of those communities, some of those radio stations going there is no other alternative. Local radio for them, so it's an absolute shame to see that happening. I can understand to a certain extent why? Because it's about business. It's about national brands. It's about off come, having done research that says people don't care where their radio comes from, which I think is utterly bonkers and really surprising considering we're both sat here with community radio, hats on on. We've got a thriving audience that are passionate about us because we are local. On when Heart did this, I think it was two years ago. There were petitions. There were changed dogs. They were parliamentary debates or because the local presenters or being stripped away on the audiences were up in arms about it. What's interesting is that hasn't been a massive drop in audience, because I think the power of personality radio is still quite strong for those brands. You know, the Jamie thinks on Amanda Holden breakfast, all that kind of stuff, and I also think that because these were legacy heritage brands

, that it was the radio frequency, the radio station that people grew up with, that people didn't really realize there is an alternative on the arisen alternative in nearly every area There are 296 licensed on broadcasting community radio stations with, I think something like 50 still wait license, but ready to launch. In fact, I know of at least five that are, which were waiting to launch were it not for covert on lock down. So we are nearly over 300 license and broadcasting stations, and that's very likely happened this year. Over 300 Mawr. There will be Mawr community radio stations broadcasting on FM licensed on FM AM. Then there will be commercial radio stations, and so there is an alternative. As we know there is an alternative that's wanted that's needed that's valued and that has an audience base. We may not have the massive audiences that the big commercial groups Consejo they have. We may not necessarily have that kind of mass national spread, but I don't think we should worry about that. I think this is

the new local community. Radio is the new local radio, and you seem or, um or local community radio stations, not necessarily calling themselves community radio stations. They're just calling themselves whatever they are radio on, just really going hard on this concept of local because I think what's really interesting Over the last 10 15 years of society, we have this massive boom on the Internet where everyone thought themselves as global citizens and they disconnected with their local. Then I would say, in the last 3 to 5 years we've seen a contraction of that. We've seen the birth of hyper local newspapers, the birth of hyper local news, blog's and websites and on Facebook groups, whereas before you thought you were a citizen of your town. Now people are working much more street on Borough Onda neighborhood level on we've seen that more with cov than ever. Little individual support groups coming out people the first time of generations knocking on neighbors doors to find out if they're OK or what can they do? Support the neighbors on that resonates so well with local community, community radio, community based radio. So

it is an opportunity. It's a golden possible golden age of to tears, but not in a minor major sense, but to tears in the sense of local radio, which is gonna be delivered through community practitioners on a national level or quasi national level radio because, let's be honest, three hours from your regional hub for global and then the rest of it coming from London. I mean that that's not local radio. And any pretense in trying to call that local I think treats and audiences, if they're idiots on, does them a disservice on? I have had some people say, Well, why don't they want to national license? Why don't they just go? Come. We not just have a national heart license like Radio One or Radio two or a classic FM or something like that on Call me a cynic, but I think it's because both Bauer and Global want their cake and they want to eat it. They want to be able to have local ads so they want to have the local frequencies on that loyalty to the local heritage. But they want to be able to deliver that in a national brand with national voices and national infrastructure, which

, let's be honest, is mainly about cost saving on his business people. If you were running a radio station as an actual share owner, share off, you physically owned a radio station, you are in your best interest to do what you can tow make the most of that investment or make the most opportunity. To me, though, the real big shame is the U. K L D. The group on No stations, particularly like Eagle. I'm really surprised So pirate is staying pirate. I think there's three stations that are staying in their local brand. They will be doing some networking, but I think they're the local brands staying. And I think it's for the barrel stations. And I think it's, um, pirate. I think it's pulse and signal or something like that. I can't remember them all, but I think it's something like 48 stations are losing their local identity or going branded on. I'm really surprised they've done that with the bigger U K RD stations, like Eagle Radio, because they were profitable stations on had a massive strength of audience on loyalty on DSA Um, really established names that have been there since the launch of those stations. So I think it's gonna be really interesting to see

what the future of the sector looks like in a few years time with this type of local level. Andi, even mawr. I know you want to talk about STD because that will show even Mawr local stations on then. These cause I regional or even national. I mean, it'll be really interesting to pre empt. Talking about a digital migration is what does that look like in terms of digital? We'll talk about it. You absolutely eso saving, saving. You asking your question? What's your thoughts on dab and dab Plus, then eso kicking off that from digital migration? Obviously, there was this big talk about closing FM, which isn't gonna happen or roadmap to digital. There were big plans to switch off for him, and that's now well being put on hold because it was a previous government. Was there sort of agenda? It's not really happening Attar moment, But it will be interesting now that digital listening is now over 50%. I think it's something like 60% digital Listening of linear radio every week is done. Very digital device. That's D A B. That's Internet. That's digital TV

and a few other different ways on D. A B from memory is something like 40% of that entire staff on the largest of all those digital's. So we interesting to see maybe in a new government or in a few years time, whether there will be this push to migrate the big commercial stations who are now quasi regional to migrate them to digital. Only So be really interesting to see what happens in that instance on what other opportunities that will open up in terms of FM, if nothing else, for community and hyper local radio. Because FM isn't dead and ISn't dying, I've heard rumors that off com are Inundated mawr than ever, with requests to launch FM radio stations. Throughout this, I've been talking about off com license, and that's a clear distinction because there are Internet only community radio stations up and down the country. I'm in the process of launching one for where I actually call home, which is Bedford Ah, Bedford radio. I'm in the process of doing that on off. Come in the past, I said FM's not gonna be there for It's not gonna be an option, or it won't

be for years. You need to think about SSD baby. But from Weinstein from off com, they've seen overwhelming support. They honestly thought that no one had interested FM on That's not proof correctly, so it be interesting to see what happens that for SSD A B. I think this is great. I think this should have happened 678 years ago. The trials there. So there was 10 trials that were launched eight years ago. Something like that. I can't think when they would try a licenses. So for those who don't know small scale D A B or S S. D. A. B is supposed to cover towns or parts of cities, and it's supposed to be the community radio equivalent of digital radio. So it's just supposed to cover smaller communities because the moment digital radio D A. B is either national. There are two national set ups, or what what is called local, But again, I refer to this regional or county because it normally is. It's county based, or in some areas, it's even

a couple of counties together to be a regional based things. So, for example, hearts, beds and bucks where I am is one. I think I'm pretty sure it's one multiplex or one sit set of multiplex like us on the point of D. A. B is. You can have multiple stations on it anywhere between sort of 10 15 to 20 plus stations on it. So it's a different kind of technology. It's been around since the eighties in the UK It's been a long time getting any listeners on S s a d A. B was supposed to be really the platform to enable community stations to access digital radio because of this digital roadmap. This digital future that we've been talking about because if you're a community station, which is your station, really want to cover the whole off your county on the cost involved in covering the whole of your county? Or actually, do you really only want to cover your 5 10, 15 mile radius of the area you live? These trials were set up using different kinds of technology to different kinds of set up to trial The technology Andi, there were 10 areas on. They were supposed to run for nine months as we limited nine

month trial. And I'm pretty sure I'm trying to think how long it was launched. Its gonna be, what, 56 years ago, these trials launched on. In fact, I think the nearest one to you guys, I think, is Woking or in that kind of theory. I think we've got one between Wickham sound ourselves that we're trying as well on. So it can't come soon enough and it still hasn't launched. Off. Comes announced that the beginning of September they will start offering applications for Foley's one licensing. I think it's a great opportunity, I think, the issue we have with co vid because I've spoken to a few station managers on. To be fair, they were fully for SSD baby at six months ago and local d A B Now they're concentrating on. Is there station even going to exist in three months time, let alone six months time? Because we are now all worrying about grants were worrying about donations, worrying about loss and events, income loss and advertising income we're worried about, Can I Present is even safely get into studio. So unfortunately, whilst it should have happened by now, it's almost as if now we need more time to give us an opportunity

for the sector to rebuild itself no long to come together and then work that out on my worry years even then went off. Qamdo, start licensing. It's gonna take too long. So traditionally off com has taken four or five years to run a licensing up and down the country. I am reassured that they're going to try and get SSD a be done in two years to do the whole country and then give it another go there. They're supposed to open one area for I think it's three months, then close it, then open the next area, then close it. And I think they're gonna do most the country. Then they're gonna have a little short review period before they do the rest of country. I'm not convinced because off come under resourced. I don't have enough resources to do what they do now on. That's before they get hundreds and hundreds of applications. So with D A B, you apply to run a multiplex, so this platform you can have 15, 10, 15, 20 stations on. But you also you need to have a service license on off comers said that when they opening up the multiplex licensing, they're also at that point gonna invite people to apply for service licenses

. So you are going to see hundreds if not thousands of people applying for licenses on if I've come genuinely, honestly believe they can do the whole country in a couple of years. Well, somebody's got my tenor. I will give somebody a tenner. Now, if someone's willing to take that better say no, they won't on DSO I'm worried with Bedford, for example, if S s d B is the only option for Bedford radio or for Northampton, I want in life to be on digital radio because I still get I get people asking me Oh, I've got it to radio. How do I pick up in live You got you? You can't you to switch it to FM or you need to listen to online. So I want it for for Northampton on. I honestly think it's gonna be a couple of years before we get there with the A B plus, which is it's an upgrade. A bit of technology, really. It's better quality. You can put more D A B plus stations on a multiplex than you can dear, because it's a superior technology. Initially in the consultation off come offered up. They were gonna force SSD a B licenses to be d A B plus only on die for, and I lobbied to say no that should

be optional. D A B plus is great, I think the A P plus gifts and actually of the trials. I think most the trials. The majority of the stations on the trials are running the A B plus. It was announced this week that talk radio and talk sport too on, I think maybe the original, the main talksport, I think as well are about to flip to D A B plus on. In fact, I think talk radio and I think talksport to have already flipped to the A B plus and I think talksport to talk sport. The main talksport is running on both eso that that's where the industry is going. And I think all the heart decades stations and heart special stations Airil db plus my concern with being D A B plus only is. No one can tell May how Maney d a B plus radios have been sold in the last 10 years or whatever it is. No one knows. No one knows or nobody knows how many sets out. There are not upgradable to D A B plus. Now we know from the D A B roll roadmap that people don't just buy a new. It's not like buying a new TV. You don't buy a new radio every two

years because suddenly it za bigger radio. It's got more color or more definition, or it's got more surround sound. Radio doesn't do that. People buy radios. They sit on top of their fridge. They don't buy a new one until that one gets so much grime on it that it dies or the batteries die on it or the power runs out or whatever. People very rarely replace their radios or cars. You don't get and deliberately upgrade your car to get a better car radio. You get a radio in your car, and radio car is still one of the main forms of people listening to radio on their commute. It absolutely is. Although we're not commuting so much, no. And this is gonna be really interesting. Because while I spoke earlier about how online listenership has increased for community radio and it's also been reported the online listenership has increased with commercial on BBC, no one has actually wanted to ask the uncomfortable question to say, Well, hang on. Does that mean listenership is increased or actually all those people that would normally listen on FM in their cars. Actually there just listening online by their smart speaks. And I don't wanna bake us because come on, let's

be honest. That's what it is. This isn't a significant increase in audience. I mean, hopefully my bus right here, because that's what I told her all. We've gotten more listeners. It's no, I think people are moving on to Internet, So be interesting to see what they do, moving back on what that looks like going forward. But cars is still traditionally the main way that people listen to radio Aunt, how often do you get a new car every five years? Five years exactly on again. No one knows how maney D a B car radios air out there, or how many cars are out there that can't pick up D. A. B plus three example that I give launching Bedford radio as an example. In Bedford, my old land lady had a pure radio, so brand of radio pure is sort of top end. Did digital radio good quality? They're not cheap on. She couldn't pick up the A B plus on it on. I've got on undergraduate degree in communication studies. My degree that I started before that they didn't complete was in it. I've grown up around computers I'm quite tech savvy on. I've

now got a master's in journalism. I say that to say, I'd like to think I'm quite intelligent person. It took me 20 minutes, three attempts and various different manuals to upgrade her pure radio so it could do de a B plus on. I had to connect it via USB cable. I had to go to the pure website. I had to try and find the serial number on download, assert do Donald an update, and I had to update the radio doing different combinations of buttons. I then had to put a separate access code into the radio, then unlock the D A B plus chip because it was there. It just hadn't been turned on on. That took me 20 minutes, and I'd like to think I'm an intelligent person. There's nowhere in how that my 60 something called Land Lady would have even attempted it. So that's my worry with dear B plus that it may alienate some audiences. We know that community radio has a big listenership of older generations. There are even some dedicated older generation radio stations out there. How many of those older generations have access to the A B plus how maney, even though the difference we've spent decades trying to educate people in terms of D A B radio

and analog radio. Now we've got to try and educate them into DB, plus a swell. So I think the pluses Great. I think it's part of the future. I think it's a great opportunity, but I'm glad to off. Com has said that you don't have to launch marks with the A B plus, and that's a decision that the marks operator on the station's coming on that most con's can still decide on. It will be interesting to see what that looks like. So I went from one you know, passionate. Well, I hadn't noticed one of the things I did. A survey on the Facebook community radio site on it was most interesting. It z an area that I'm passionate about, which is sparse speakers Alexis and Google homes on a lot more people are getting their radio access through those devices than they are through traditional standalone radio devices. My current car has got an Alexa built into It s oh, my point being Where does D a B plus FIC? I'm sure that clever developer can design a D

a B plus receiver toe work on Alexa skill, because that seems to be where the growth in penetration of radio is coming from. Well, I think it's all about physical digital platforms. D A V chip, or DB Plus is a physical bit of of chip. I think what we are more likely to see is smart activated radios. So a device that has an Alexa building, in fact, they may. I think there are a couple out there already exist. In fact, I think so knows, I think, is one of the ones that bean experimenting with it. I think what you're likely to see is a radio that has FM that has dear Be dear B plus, but also has smart Speaker a smart into Facebook into it. Whether that's Alexa, whether that's Google home, whether that's apple or something or their own other version of smart integration. What's really interesting with smart speakers is surrounds what Amazon are doing, doing really well trying to encourage other people to use it because, like you said, highly likely, your next car will have Alexa built into it. Well, Amazon haven't built your car. What they're doing is offering up their platform because

a bit like Google has you going to the days when you tell people to search on the Internet, you just say toe, say to people Google it. We would have grown up people in using our t knowing that even 10 years ago there was a dozen different search engines that people would use regularly. Now it's all about Google. It's all about Google in your life and doing everything. Google maps, Google calendars, Google email on That's what I think Amazon are doing with Alexa. They're almost offering up is a platform because they want people to have that integration. Smart speakers is very interesting on it's very simple toe. What I call the bubble effect of, say, podcasting is that if you've got a smart speaker on, you think they're great. You think everyone's got these on. That's how everyone is using. What's really interesting is what the numbers so the latest rage are, which is thes. The audience surveys for the radio and audio industry, is saying that only 32% of people claim to own what they call a voice activated speaker. I tend to call it sort of smart speakers Onda

. 20% of the 18% of the use it to listen to radio every day, drinking wrong. We've got three and our household here and I used them to listen to radio also have, ah, traditional radio that's also got Internet in it, So I use that as well. So I am a convert. I do listen to smart speakers, but equally I've got somebody who is 10 years younger than a very good friend of mine through Scott Radio. Actually, she's unplugged the smart speaker in the house because she doesn't like it. She finds there's some people that that don't like the technology because they feel it's too. It's integrating too much into their lives on. It's almost as an intrusion, So I do. Like I said, I think there's a bit of a bubble effect because I've had I've had lots of people like you saying we'll surely everyone's listening on smart speakers or podcasting going well, who listens to who listens to the radio. Doesn't everyone just listen to podcast? Now you go? No, Actually, only I think it's something like 15 or 20% of the UK population. Listen to podcasts. But if you listen to podcasts on you get and you get into that environment that becomes your bubble and you, you other people

that do it on, then you assume everyone does it. So actually, it's really interesting in terms of smart speaker ownership. Don't get me wrong. It will be a part of our lives. I think smart speakers or smart integrated technology will be a bit paralyzed. Remember when Alexa launched? Not long after that, they were saying the most requested service was listening to radio. So I think it is really powerful because I think everyone was panicked when these things came out that we would see them as a vehicle of radio death, a bit like we saw curated music platforms like Spotify and I can't think Pandora and you go to A with these radio conferences and everyone's panicking that Spotify, Pandora, etcetera will be the death of radio. And it hasn't because there's a reason people keep coming back to radio It's about personality. It's about voice. It's about that connection. If you're interested in music, it's about that person that could tell you about the music instead of just play you that music you're interested in. Local news, information, traffic travel, what's happening in your local community so people will always come back. Don't get me

wrong. I think smart speakers have a great part to play and will be there in the future. But I think you've got this massive innovator bubble coming, what they call it in consumer trends where you get the trendsetters on. Then you get the followers. And I do wonder, At what point do we get to plateau of ownership? Because if, if they reckon, according to Radar, the only 32% claim they own activated speakers on these things have been around three or four years. I think we might get to 40 50% ownership and then it'll plateau because actually, how many people want them? I'm not sure. I grabbed. I'll take you back to an earlier. I wasn't offering you a tenner for that one. Shame I was about to take that one. Now look, one of the things you talked about earlier, and I'm gonna bring that back into the conversation. Waas the use of Zoom on using video within the studio and you begin to see Look, if you look at LBC, they broadcast across Facebook at the same time you look at Radio One Radio, two Marlowe FM. We've been experimenting with Zoom in Zoom Video now with the the Echo Five, which I've just got right behind my laptop here That's

got a screen on smart speakers. So it's a it's integrated element. One of the things that when I talk about radio difference between podcasting and radio is live, and it's interactive, which podcasting can't be by its very nature because it's pre recorded. I think that when we start to look forward, I think what your start is's clever studios begin to say. Actually, we will broadcast the video feed out of the studio because now we've been doing it on. We can broadcast that to an Echo five device, or we can broadcast that our Facebook page. Or we can broadcast that if it's a business want to linked in and we can you zoom because it has a multi broadcast out to YouTube's well. And suddenly radio isn't just a medium of coming out of the radio. That's one static device on, as you called it, on top of the fridge. But it is actually the radio being brought across multiple devices because it's the uniqueness of the live interactive and it's the format. It's the way it works on. That's where I think we're going

. And I don't think people have caught onto that because actually, when you start to look at advertisers and you start to think about them, you've now got a medium that actually is a physical and visual medium At the same time. I'm obviously because we're not visualizing this. They can't see me gritting because actually, you just brought up another topic that I'm passionate about. In fact, I'd actually pitched to do a PhD on this exact topic, which is the visualization of radio, particularly history on the future visualization of radio. Because actually this is nothing new. Visualization in radio has been going on for decades from I've not found the actual full details of it. But apparently the original Chris Evans Virgin breakfast show was also broadcast on a TV channel at the time. Or you may remember Chris Miles is world record attempt when he stayed on air for 50 something on hours, whatever was on the red button, the whole thing and it blew the stats for red button off the charts. It was the most watched, and this was just people just watching what would effectively just like a webcam kind of environment on. And in the nineties

, every radio station had a live webcam, so visualization in the radio isn't new. It's just very initiative. And actually, what you would say about the radio industry is, I would say we are the most initative media platform ever. We are always innovating. We always try to find more ways of engaging with growing our audience on finding ways of getting our content out there on. This is a massive passion thing for me because I do think this is one area where I think community based on local stations do suffer because it's about the right people with the right technology or the right budgets and the right platforms. And you can clearly see that when the global rebooted all their studios, I think about three years ago with the heart of smooth the classically. Obviously, they were all rebuilt with visualization in mind, even to the point that each brand in Leicester Square, where Global's based each brand has at least one if not two dedicated studios on then I think there's something like over a dozen generic studios, and a year ago went in and one of the engineers showed me one of these generic studios on at the touch of three buttons. They can

suddenly change all the lighting in the room to be brand lighting. All the TV screens change to that brand on all the lighting in the room so you can add a touch of two buttons. You can convert studio from LBC two capital to heart at the touch of a couple of buttons so they could go in there and they can do stuff. The only thing they couldn't do, which I think that's really fascinating, was the mic cubes the mic muffs with the logo's on. And I said, Well, what about them on? Then he went over and he pushed like a panel on the side of the wall. This massive draw came out and there was a set of Mike must for every single branded radio station that comes out of that and you've got all the all the decades and the heart extra and all that kind of stuff. And they said, No, that's the only thing we haven't managed to solve. But we're trying. We've even tried with green screen muffs. So must that Mike Mike phones that are green on, then using technological overly. But we couldn't get it toe work yet on I was, like, blown away that this is all about visualization, even to the point of view that so many of the consoles in the studio were hidden out of you. So they were hung into the ceiling or dropped into the desk so that they're not in view on. If

you look at some of the stuff that LBC is doing on the heart of doing, there are completely open sight lines. Gone of the days where if you look at some community stations or even local BBC's, you've got monitors all over in front of the presenters. You've got big Mike booms Mike arms all over the place on all of that is really cleaning the global studios, and it looks really interesting, and you can tell that they are really getting that visualization on it's about. And this is what I was looking at. My PhD in was was challenging the concept of asking the question. How does radio as a medium audio and radio as a medium breakthrough in an ever increasing visual space? Social media, Facebook all prioritizes video YouTube. It's all about the visual more than the audio than ever. So many times, you watching content on your phone. Whilst you're wondering about commuting on your watch it you're reading subtitles or you've got headphones in or whatever it's all about that that experience of visualization on your right LBC. In fact, if you read James O'Brien's book from a couple of years ago, they talk about

that. They try and find what they call one viral moment in every show that they can clip is a two or three minute video on put out on their social media because they know it will generate a conversation. It will generate an audience, and it will generate some great numbers on that content. What You have to be careful, though, and it's something that James Cridland, who would be great person to speak to the sense because he's no, he's on my festival. Last week I did a massive podcast festival. Yes, yes, radio future ologists, as he calls himself. He's one of the people that have been talking about visualization of the radio because radio is radio and you have to make sure that you concentrate on the radio element and don't get too caught up in the visualization. Otherwise, as his as he would put it, you end up with crap radio and crap TV. If you try and make it TV, it won't be on radio. One tried that on that. They visualized the chart show for a couple of years, and it really didn't quite work because it went too much down that TV route and away from that radio room. But I do think visualization radio is really interesting, and I think it can be achieved very easily

. I've seen radio studios literature just use an iPad connected. What's really hard is the music. Licensing hasn't caught up with the technology. If you're trying to Facebook, live now from your stations account, including the music, you'll get banned. You'll get your stream will get suspended because the licensing hasn't yet caught up, which is a real shame now. There are some ways around that, and there are some other platforms that are coming forward and, in fact, mixed cloud. I think about a month or two ago actually mixed, carried, launched their own streaming video streaming platform, exactly educated toe to DJs, radio station's presenters who are broadcasting from home and want to be able to do that on. There are some radio stations that they're doing that really, really well in insanity Radio in Royal Holloway, which is a university student, youth community station based a student union university. And in fact, don't quote me that they won gold, but they think they got nominated in the community towards a couple of years ago for their technology. In doing that, Spark FM have done that as well on

. In fact, if you speak to those stations on this is what I love about the community Radio sector is if you speak to those stations quite often, they're very happy to share the technology and also share how you could do it on a budget on. I think that's really king because you could go to people like broadcast bionics or broadcast radio if that broadcast radio just launched their their system or who their partner with last week or broadcast bionics like I said on you can pay them thousands or tens of thousands of pounds. And they'll have auto switching cameras, the ability to be able to edit on the fly and published a Social Media platforms or even do live. But there are ways of doing this with a couple of webcams or a couple of iPads on DSM open source software O. B s as ways of doing it. But I think you have to really make sure as a broadcaster, what are you doing? Actually, you need to think about what's the outcome? Is it like a zoom called? Is it for your interviewing the mayor or the MP? And you want to record that because you could like LBC, obviously don't always stream everything they do 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They know when they've

got the big guests in. So Kier Starmer Coming in a couple of days ago that was livestreamed. They have their presenters permitted being recorded to get those viral moments for those guests moments. Radio four. Very interesting. They still on the Today show, but they're actually pulling that kit out, their actually moving away from doing that because radio, for we're getting those viral moments with their half past seven or half acres, whatever it was or not, they were there big, big minister or whatever. They would normally cut that out and put that up on social, but they're actually pulling away from that. So any station thinking about visualization? Great. You should be thinking about it. But you need to think about what are you trying to achieve? Because it literally you're gonna go back to the days of the nineties where we're just kind of a camera on permanently. That's not radio on. That, I would argue, is really bad TV and really bad visualizations. You have to make sure you do it with a purpose on you. Think about what you're doing and why you're doing it on. You have to make sure that you don't lose track of the factual radio, because if all you're doing is talking about the funny faces you're pulling on the on the stream to the say the 100 people watching it on Facebook live. You're gonna be putting off the thousands

of people who are listening at home on the radio who can't see what you're doing, so you have to make sure you do it right. But I think visualization radio, like I said at the beginning of this, has been around for a while on He's continuing, always to innovate, and I think that's great. But what I should say to radio stations actually is Take a leaf out the podcast, the book because I think podcasters air actually, the place that's innovating in this first because the way that monetization works in podcast, it's quite hard, if not impossible, to month podcasting effectively. So many podcasters, I know actually run it as a YouTube channel with cameras. And then they podcast. This show so they're using is a visualization platform because they know they could go on Facebook live and they could do their 20 minutes or half an hour. Podcast episode is a Facebook live or YouTube or put it up there, and I know a couple of people that do that where it is a podcast format, so it's not a big fancy TV studio because actually, people like that voyeuristic aspect effectively, what we're doing now, we could be live streaming the conversation we've got now for the lessons that can't see. We've both got broadcast microphones and headphones

and I've got the picture. Um, I've got a background of my bedroom and you've got your office, but we could live stream, well, green screener, or were particularly things like Zoom makes it so easy to do that. But people are happy toe watch podcasting on as a video format on, then pick it up as an audio artifact as a podcast. So I do think I do think the radio industry could be learning a lot from the innovation that's happening in the podcasting sector because they've taken that innovative spirit that lives in radio and they will run with. It was podcasters because they're not having to deal with live with a live linear environment, so they've got a little bit more time to work out what they're trying to do. But I do think visualization is still got ways to grow on, and I think always will, but I think it's about doing it for the right reasons and knowing what you're trying to do before you work out how you're gonna do it. I think talking to the visualization Joe Rogan show, which does it on YouTube, does it very well because it's literally watching him with a guest, but it looks slightly amateurish, but they've got three cameras running at the same time. So it

is a big production that Joe Rogan has to visualize it on YouTube when he says, It's just me and Mike and my guest is not quite true, but it doesn't have to be much to do it, whether you need a dedicated person to do the switching or unique or you confined software. And this is actually what Insanity FM did they actually wrote, or they cobbled a bit some technology. Together they have mike channels on the desk, a traditional raid environment of mic one mic to mic three, and they said, right, that camera there is Mike one when it gets to a certain volume level, switch to that camera or if all the volume levels are balanced or there is no volume level in a TV environment you called a wide shot, which is everyone So if in doubt, go to the wide so there is a way of doing it. So it's auto switching and, in fact, BBC Oxford were refused to freelance. They had it set up, I think, in their studio to because their breakfast show was for time being broadcast on what would be the local TV channel that I think it's called. That's Oxford. It doesn't do any more on this is a completely automated off of the mic channels, does

auto switching and that kind of stuff. So there's ways of doing it. I'm speaking to you now on the webcam I've got, I think 25 quid or 50 could webcam, So USB webcam. So I think the dedicated piece of equipment dedicated laptop war hardware, a couple of Webcams, the right software You could probably do it for hundreds of pounds, and it doesn't need toe cost a lot, but you do need to think about the resource, the physical resource, but the manpower resource in using that content for the right purpose, I'll give you the most effective way. I'll give you a chip ID. Cheap way of doing it. There's a Facebook portal. Those do voice tracking. So as the voice changes in the room, it will rotate to the person. And that's what's really interesting. Is Facebook. I think about 34 years ago. We're talking about launching a new audio platform through Facebook, and it hasn't happened, and I don't know what happened to it went very quiet. I think they were trying to if they could dabble in the radio sector but probably got undone when it came to music licensing. Because, like I said, I think music licensing is what's holding visualization back because nearly

everyone wants to do it via Facebook because we've experiment with Scott Radio. We've experimented between Facebook lives. YouTube lives on. Facebook is where people are because it's a live social, because it's because if you follow that page, you suddenly get all these notifications to say also in So channels live. And in fact, it's a little bit of a cheeky plug all the way back to a Community radio awards next Saturday. In fact, we are doing a Facebook live for the community radio wards to sort of launched the opening of the awards and do a Q and A bit like we have early, a bit of Q and A. So I'm gonna be experimenting with some of that soft. And in fact, we're looking at using a complete browser base platform where you send multiple links out to different collaborators or contributors on the whole thing is switched. The whole thing is managed via Web platform, so it's not even software based. It's not O. B s. I think it's obedient. Live is the platform we're looking at. I'm not experimented before, other than the fact I know Matt Deegan used it recently when he did a whole session on Radar's on That. But that's where platforms who

thought six months ago, a year ago that would be talking about doing visualization on radio, using chrome, using just Web platforms. So the technology is definitely there, and there are ways of doing it, like you said really cheaply, really intuitively on it. Like I said, it's it's what I was looking at doing a PhD. And so I'm passionate about visualization radio. But more importantly, answering that question of how does radio or audio stay relevant in ever increasing visual Space Mountain? I could talk to you all afternoon that there's so much more we could talk about. I mean the whole subject off radio licenses. And where is PRS and PPL in? Why isn't that done? Is just the whole topic in itself, But I think we've been going for a little while. I think we should give everyone a break now. Martin, thank you so much for your time now. Before you go, let's do a couple of quick plugs. First of all, community radio awards. Where can they get hold of you on that one s? Oh, that's community ready Awards toe or dot UK. Or I think we've got hello it community ready awards to order UK or just search us out on the Facebook and the twitters and stuff. Just a reminder that that is open for off com license

community radio stations on that opens on the 19th of June on, then closes on the 31st of July. And that's the awards process. The awards ceremony later on a some point this year on the other one, was the UK Community Network that you formed. So the UK Community Ready network absolutely so. That's UK crn dot radio is a website. There's not much on there at the moment or my personal email. If anyone wants to talk about anything to do with community radio or anything we've spoken about. Or, like you said, it can have family chat about these things. It's Martin at Martin stairs dot co dot UK Martin. Thank you so much for your time. It's been fascinating. Take care. Thank you for having me. Thank you, Sam. That show was amazing. Don't forget to visit Sand talk, Doc. Technology to discover Mawr Great shows. See you next week. Same time, same place.

Martin Steers talks about the Community Radio Awards and the New UK Community Radio Network.
Martin Steers talks about the Community Radio Awards and the New UK Community Radio Network.
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