James Cridland

UK election tech, and closures in NZ and Canada

Fly FM buildings, Malaysia

Above: opposite the hotel in Kuala Lumpur this week: some of the country’s biggest radio stations, seemingly!

The UK election happened last week. Plenty of interesting technical posts on X from Marc Blank-Settle, including the kit they sent to all 650 election counts, how many bits of media were sent in on the Friday morning (2,410 bits of audio, 1,445 video), and plenty more.

On telly, I added Channel 4, LBC and ITV News’s coverage to my “live now” news website, which uses official streams for all the big channels. Yes, the UK radio station LBC is in there - they were producing TV-like output for the main election night special. The full show isn’t on YouTube, but some clips are - personally, I wonder whether the audio was as good as it could be from the studio they used. But, attention to detail is all: drinks were in Global-branded cups, and co-presenter Shelagh Fogarty uses a Global-branded pen.

Notable that the podcast The Rest is Politics, was so big a part of Channel 4’s coverage. While the BBC trumpeted an “amazing experiment” of getting their Newscast team doing, um, live radio (an excellent way to put radio folk’s noses out of joint), we saw no cross-promotion of it from the main BBC News television output all night.

I wrote a blog post about how elections work in Australia - particularly, how the results get to the broadcasters. It’s a updated-every-90-seconds data feed, which I’m sure the UK broadcasters would have loved! I also wonder whether preferential voting would be a better thing in the UK.


  • In Kuala Lumpur this week for the ABU’s RadioSonic conference, I enjoyed a presentation from CGTN, the Chinese broadcaster, on how they’ve used AI to produce Soaring Wings, a short drama. It was presented by the producers of the film (who’s voices were AI-cloned to speak English). Interesting - less about AI replacing jobs, and much more about AI producing new types of content.

  • Talking about AI, this week, I played with Wondercraft AI all this week. Wondercraft AI has a thing called “dubs” - you upload your audio of you reading something and it will dub it into another language - using your voice. Here I am in French, in Japanese, in Danish, in Dutch, and in Arabic (including a clip of a guest, too). If you speak any of those languages, I’d be curious to hear your comments.

  • In New Zealand, Newshub - which produced TV news for the television channel Three, closed on Friday with the loss of 300 jobs. It could have left just state broadcaster TVNZ producing television news; and TVNZ has cut their news output too. Last-minute, NZ’s Stuff is to produce a 6pm bulletin for Three, called ThreeNews. Clips from the show - but not the show itself - are on the Stuff website.

    • As overseas staff flew home to New Zealand, the July 5 date meant, of course, coverage of the UK election results - without anyone being in London to cover them. Lisette Reymer, Newshub’s Europe correspondent, appeared as a live cross - but recorded her piece outside Number 10 weeks ago. She appeared in the Auckland studio with more updates - wearing the same dress.
  • In Canada, “some analysts” suggest that Corus, the owner of plenty of radio stations and TV channels, is headed for bankruptcy. The company closed their innovative AM 730 traffic station in Vancouver in the last fortnight. The company also closed 880 Edmonton. They’re both simulcasting other radio stations owned by the company for now, but that’ll stop shortly (and I’m surprised that the media regulator is allowing them to do that).

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