Well, it’s all going on now!
The first announcements of some of the contributors to this years Radio Festival have been announced and we’ve received fantastic interest, followed swiftly by the announcement that the amazing Brian Eno will be delivering the John Peel Lecture on the Sunday evening the 27th September.
Check out https://radiofestival2015.eventbrite.co.uk for more details and get your Radio Festival tickets as soon as you can.
That’s all from me for this week, I will hand you over to two of the superstars behind the scenes who are curating this years Radio Festival, Simon Tuff for Radio Festival TechCon and Gloria Abramoff for Radio Festival Showcase.
People often ask me why should I go to TechCon? I am sure if you were to ask the team I have been working with on the Festival, you would get twelve different answers, but for me the answer boils down to audiences and money. We live in an age when technology is driving audience behaviour and business cost like never before, so can you afford to risk not attending?
Radio Festival TechCon is the home of broadcast engineering for Radio’s technology community and this year we again spread our wings over a broad range of topics and speakers.
We have a keynote from this year’s hosts the British Library, who have launched their Save Our Sounds initiative. The British Library wants to be the home of sound as well as the written archive, but if they are going to do that they have a deadline to meet, as the clock is ticking. It is thought we have about 15 years to preserve the nation’s audio record as recording materials degrade and replay technologies ware out. You can hear how the experts at the National Sound Archive plan to keep our work preserved and how you can help.
From Norway we learn more on the challenges of actually doing a digital switch-over for radio. From the South Sudan we hear about the challenges of engineering radio in one of Africa’s more remote nations.
We will hear about some new technologies that are on the verge of changing the world of audio engineering – Audio over Internet Protocol or AoIP as the techies call it and Object Based Audio. AoIP isn’t the jittery, compressed sound you get from most streaming services, but full bandwidth, high quality, full fat audio and Object Based Audio, that will enable you to add technical metadata to audio streams and files, which some believe could be a game changer. We also see how much of a radio station you can squeeze on to just one laptop and report on the audio technology Bjork used to create art in New York.
Plus we hear from Tony Ageh, the BBC’s Controller of Archive on public digital spaces, looking at how different broadcasters are using visualisation and find out why you might want to try DAB on a small scale.
So let me ask you, can you really afford not to be there?
Putting together a Festival, for me, is no different to producing radio content; the highs and lows are just the same and I get to work as part of a team. Last Friday I woke up feeling anxious and worried; would we pull it off, would the infrastructure be in place, can we maintain the energy levels we are currently running at and can we manage all the expectations? A green tea, a roll up, a quick walk with the dog didn’t reduce my anxiety, but then you get a few yesses and I’m back to being happy and positive in no time at all.
It’s my third year as Festival Director and what the experience has taught me is the key to a great Festival is “to ask”. Ask people what they want to hear and see. Ask people what the challenging issues are. Ask people what they want to flag up and celebrate. Ask people what they need to know. And ask them what they care about.
This year in order to cover the areas you have requested, we are limiting the number of panel sessions and going for more “polemics” and two way discussions. All the sessions will be held in one room, so you don’t have to worry about feeling conflicted between sessions. Our host is the lovely Paddy O’Connell. Guest speakers include Chris Evans, Will Page from Spotify, Amy Kean from Havas Media, Peter Barron from Google, Jocelin Stainer from Radio 1 and Christian O’Connell.
There will also be time to network. I attended the very first Festival in Edinburgh many years ago and arguably my career has been defined by the many wonderful people I have met at the Festival, so I really value networking and we will make sure that there are many opportunities for delegates to do that. Not everyone is like me and loves hosting a party, so for those of you who are a little unsure about the best way to go about this, we will be having a networking masterclass on Tuesday morning.
Writing this has helped me feel confident about what’s been achieved so far; and in the next we’ll be able to announce more great speakers. If I haven’t got round to asking you what you want, please do let me know… I’ll do my best. Like a good programme we are open to all ideas until we got to air and if I ask you for help, remember it doesn’t take much to make me happy; all I need is a ‘yes’!