James Cridland's blog

A radio futurologist writing about what happens when radio and new platforms collide
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Sunday reading

Posted on Sunday, September 12th, 2010 at 9:00 am. #

Now, THIS is a media park.

Sunday reading this week is all a little radio orientated, for which I apologise; I’ll try and broaden the list for next week!

When I worked at the BBC, one of the things I achieved was the final launch of Coyopa, their online audio encoding farm. The bright and wonderful Rupert Brun has pushed through a test of ‘super high quality’ audio, using much more bitrate in an experiment on one of the two special-event encoders that we built in to the system (at moderately late notice, I might add). Steve Bowbrick loves it. I’m really pleased that Rupert’s got this trial working.

Now, it’s one thing to think about cutting the BBC’s licence-fee – but quite another to think about cutting the Foreign Office grant that goes to fund the BBC World Service, argues Sir Michael Lyons. The name ‘BBC’ is synonymous, in many parts of the world, with the World Service’s output: and with a positive view of our country and our culture. It’s hard to think that the World Service can live in a financial vacuum; but important that it’s preserved.

Interesting radio listening figures from Germany, via the anti-DAB campaigner Grant Goddard, if you ignore the spin he puts on them. Grant doesn’t mention that the reason why internet radio is low in mornings is due to the device, not the platform; and I’ve given up trying to understand what Grant’s argument is other than a continual fight against progress. If I might venture: the right way to ensure radio’s vibrant future is not to think it’s still 1980. Since Google Chrome is warning me that his blog contains malware this morning, if you want to visit, you want to copy and paste http://muk.fm/svi into your web browser; otherwise I’d link there; the post’s worthwhile reading, and I’d recommend it: we need healthy debate, too.

NPR’s publishing more research: this time, how people consume their content. The big takeaway, for me, is that radio is so, so much bigger than their online stuff; I’m not sure that rechristening the organisation “NPR”, and losing the “National Public Radio”, is necessarily the right move. Indeed, the boss of NPR is now claiming that broadcast towers will be history ‘in the next 5 to 10 years’. Bullshit. And you can quote me on that. The future of radio is multi-platform. You can quote me on that, too.

It seems Jeff Jarvis agrees with NPR, though – reckoning that Howard Stern should move away from satellite radio and over to internet radio. If I can’t listen to live internet radio in my car with any degree of reliability, I’m wondering how he’ll be able to… oh, he says “The delivery‚Äôs tricky but that will be fixed quickly”. A media commentator betting the future of radio broadcasting on something that doesn’t actually currently work? Dangerous and irresponsible.

Meanwhile, from WIRED, a piece about the history of radio – particularly, the birth of America’s NBC, and an earlier one about the first US radio news broadcast. Of note: a tech story, in Wired of all places, which doesn’t trash radio – indeed, considers it has a good future.

A few non radio things – firstly, I use, and love, Dopplr; but it seems it’s dying. It turns out that Nokia, who bought it, have placed it in ‘maintenance mode’; and not bothered to communicate to its users that they’ve done so, and can’t really be bothered about the product. A good story from Jemima Kiss. Good job I’m now feeding Dopplr with my Tripit feed, I guess.

And finally, if you’re interested in how things become news, you should read Roy Greenslade’s analysis of the Koran burning pastor, including a bunch of bits of video. It’s an interesting read.

One comment

David Sim
commenting at September 14th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Wouldn’t Howard Stern’s content be ideal for distribution as a podcast on the Internet. No streaming platform required. Reach an international audience.

Could he be the first to make it work as a paid podcast? Or accept donations like NoAgenda and TWiT?

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