Tag Archive | radio

Radios need screens? Bollocks do they.

I’ve just read this article from Tim Davie from the BBC’s head of audio and music. Apparently in order to engage listeners, radio will soon need visual content.

I’m a big fan of pure audio and I have always felt that audio will hold up for a long time but in terms of the devices, it will have a screen on it. We have been at it for a while, but what information we give on that screen, that is now a real issue.

I’d hope he was a fan of pure audio, as he calls it. He is the BBC’s head of audio and music!

A sidenote: Tim Davie is the man who decided that closing BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network was a good idea. He backed down after being told he was wrong by thousands of petitioners.

We don’t need a screen to enjoy radio. I’m not sure about you but when I’m listening to the radio I’m usually doing something else be it on my PC, doing the washing up, driving the car and whatnot. A screen to tell me something about what I’m listening to is not important to me.

That’s another issue. what on earth do they want to put on these screens? Tim doesn’t know:

Radio needs to be careful that you don’t just visualise everything and chuck up video everywhere. Our power has always been about the curating and the editing, rather than just showing stuff on a webcam.

I have a digital radio which has a little dot-matrix display on it. I’ve known it to show song titles and artists or the name of the show I’m listening to but apart from those things I can’t think of anything useful that’s cropped up on it. Talksport put sports news headlines on it but they read those out every half an hour anyway.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has trouble reading something while trying to listen to someone speak, which kind of cuts out the possibility of putting meaningful written content on the screen. To show video would just make it T.V., which radio isn’t.

A wise man once said “T.V. doesn’t go around corners”, or something like that. I can’t remember who it was but it’s true. If the radio started using screens, at what stage would that screen become necessary to the enjoyment of radio? It would have to enhance the experience otherwise it isn’t worth doing. However, as soon as it becomes useful, radio starts to directly compete with T.V. – there is only one winner there.

We need to be on more smartphone devices. If I have one challenge for the industry it is to get on devices, we need to be distributed on iPhones and all the various platforms. That is the real priority.

What he means by this, I’m not sure, as there is a wonderful mobile app called TuneIn Radio. If you need more content than what they can provide you’re either very obscure or being deliberately obtuse! Also, the BBC have their own iPlayer app, so they’re on there already themselves.

If this is the direction which radio feels it needs to go, it had better try bloody hard not to lose its USP, namely being able to enjoy without looking, or we could end up with even more TV people aren’t interested in watching.

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