Maidstone River Festival 2010

It is Maidstone River Festival time again.  I’ve been involved in the event for some time now.  Back in 2003 and 2005 I broadcast from the river banks of the event for CTR 105.6fm the then radio station for Maidstone. 

One year we also ran the Bag-it promotion from the event – several thousand plastic bags filled with leaflets and freebies – wouldn’t happen these days.

This year I’ve been asked to host the event stages of which there are 4, and all in different locations.  Could be fun, apparently to get to one of the stages I’ll have to go in a dingy and be sped up the River Medway to the stage.  Hmm.

The event takes place on Saturday 31st July More here

http://www.maidstoneriverfestival.com/

Awards…

Entering the IVCA Clarion Awards this week – could be interesting.

They recognise best practice in communicating the importance of CSR, diversity, community development, ethical, health and welfare issues in the public, charity, social enterprise and corporate sectors.

The radio project I manage at Media for Development does this in abundance – fingers crossed!

Digital Radio sitting on the fence?

There are some they say who sit on the fence when it comes to the future of ‘digital radio’ – especially when concerned with the DAB platform.

I find it very interesting to understand the development in the habit of the radio listener.  We (industry folk) forget sometimes that it is the listener, the major ingredient, that dictates the future direction of radio.  The listener who will find the easiest path to listen; it is our collective task to make that happen.

I have been asking a few people how and where they listen?  Have you stopped, considered and checked your own listening habits? 

Here is my listening list; I tend to listen via FM in the car, AM in the bathroom, via the TV in the kitchen, online when in my office at home, via my phone or using an app on foot or public transport and via the DAB radio in the office at work.   I listen to radio on so many platforms, and perhaps I have taken it for granted.

A friend sent an e-mail to me the other day with his tongue firmly in cheek.  He was asking how I’m getting on at JazzFM – I produce Greg Edwards on a Sunday Mornings – He asked ‘how’s it going at Jazz(not on)FM.

‘Jazz(not on)FM’ is indeed not on FM – the management at Jazz have taken the brand and forged a multi platform radio offering available on on DAB Digital Radio, Sky Digital 0202, Freesat 729, online at www.jazzfm.com, Jazz FM app on iPhone and iPod Touch. 

Now also on the iPad through the Jazz FM iPad Edition app and riding high in the UK and US charts.

Looking at all of the platforms JazzFM has available at its disposal; in the UK it is the DAB platform that is surely the driver for all of these.  Without DAB would they be able to drive the rest? DAB accounts for something like 15% of listening in the UK. 

Interestingly when the London Multiplex fell silent due to a technical hiccup earlier this year JazzFM listeners switched to online (IP) and TV feeds.  Friends of mine who were listening to Heart and Capital digital switched to the FM feed. 

My point is that listeners will choose where they can listen, all we need do is tell them (educate) where our station is available and they will turn it on like a tap – we just need to make it available.   The other is we need to know our market, our place – JazzFM does, they are now riding high in the Japanese Ipad music chart.

With DAB there is no doubt we (the radio industry) also needs to improve the signal coverage, the audible sound quality and listening in cars needs to be addressed – even though only 21% listen in cars we need to make it available for the people like me – the car listener.

Radio as a transitory medium has over the years developed the way people can listen, technology changes and improves and as it is now with the BBC announcing further transmitters.   Let us embrace a digital future with all platforms with technology and as the listener in part dictates where stations are listened to, whether it is IP, mobile or DAB or even good old AM and FM – after all making sure we are being listened to is what counts.

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