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Posted by The Radio Academy on 13th August 2016
The Very Latest From Rad Fest 2016

The Very Latest From Rad Fest 2016


BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary will join the line-up at this year’s Radio Festival taking place at the British Library on September 26th and once again generously supported by headline sponsors PPL and PRS for Music.

O’Leary, who hosts a weekly show every Saturday on Radio 2 from 3-6pm, will lead a special and moving tribute session to Sir Terry Wogan, celebrating the life of a true broadcasting legend.

“To say Terry was part of the fabric of Radio 2 doesn't even come close.” Said O’Leary. He added: “He was and remains the very foundations of Radio 2. Every broadcaster, producer, studio manager, security guard looked up to him, he was the head of the family and it's a huge honour for me to share some cherished memories with our colleagues at the Radio Festival this September”.

The Radio Festival also adds to its line-up Phil Critchlow, founder and CEO of TBI Media and Chairman of RIG (Radio Independents Group) for a session on the current creative economy in radio. Hosted by Radiocentre’s CEO Siobhan Kenny, the session will consider the benefits and challenges of more players delivering original content, which, with the BBC’s ‘Compete and Compare’ proposal opening up BBC Radio hours to indie competition, will see a reshaping of the creative and audio landscape.

Phil Critchlow commented: “We’re entering a genuinely brave new world, where everyone who’s passionate about creating audio based content will have significantly increased opportunity to propose ground breaking ideas. The next stage will be crucial though, as we work together as an industry to create a framework which then guarantees to deliver the best of those ideas to listeners.”

Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd will host a session on risk in radio - do we play it too safe? Hannah Witton, a 20-something influencer and vlogger, will join Geoff to offer her perspective on creativity, rules, and if and when should they be broken.

Witton, who has recently launched her own two-hour radio show on FUBAR, a subscription based app outside of Ofcom’s jurisdiction and billing itself as uncensored radio, is well used to controversy having hosted ITV2’s Love Fix It discussing various taboo topics, as well as her own weekly videos on YouTube where she delves into a range of topics such as sex, feminism, books, film & TV and travel.

Geoff Lloyd said: "As someone frequently chastised by engineers for having hot beverages too close to studio equipment, I'm no stranger to risk in radio. I'm looking forward to hearing how panellists from social media perceive risk in a medium that brings us 'The Organist Entertains', 'Gardeners' Question Time' and Mellow Magic FM.

“The festival programme is fantastic this year: I welcome the opportunity to both celebrate the rude health of our industry with radio colleagues, and to suck up to podcasters and streaming services, in case I need to make like a rat off a sinking ship."

Roman Mars, one of the world’s leading podcast entrepreneurs, will join the festival live from California alongside Richard Herring, comedian and podcaster, for a session hosted by the Guardian’s Miranda Sawyer. Mars is host and creator of the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible, and with over 120 million downloads, it’s one of the most popular in the world. Mars is also the co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of ground-breaking story-driven podcasts. The panel will debate if curated content is the future, does podcasting really create choice and does it compliment, compete or replace traditional linear services?

Other highlights added to the Festival schedule include:

  • One of the world's leading inspirational speakers and best-selling author on diversity and inclusion, Verna Myers, joins the festival live from Washington. Myers, whose TED talk on How to overcome our biases has had over a million views, will share her thoughts on why celebrating difference should be encouraged, not feared. The session will be hosted by Stephanie Hirst.
  • Why Big is Always Best - how stations are using big data to inform programming decisions and targeted marketing, with My BBC’s Phil Fearnley and Bauer’s Sam Jones.

A number of other sessions are still under wraps with more speakers, films and ‘sparkle’ moments still to be revealed.

Jez Bell, Chief Licensing Officer, PPL said: “PPL are proud to be long standing supporters of the Radio Academy and we are very excited to be involved with Radio Festival again this year. 2016 is particularly poignant as we mark the passing of one of radio’s most legendary broadcasters, Sir Terry Wogan. We look forward to celebrating the new generation of radio innovators and audio pioneers with the inspiring collection of speakers and panellists at this event.”

Andy Harrower, Director of Broadcast, PRS for Music, said: "PRS for Music is delighted to return to Radio Festival as headline partner. The Radio Academy has put together a strong schedule of sessions this year; as well as what will surely be a moving tribute to Sir Terry Wogan, there are a number of talks focusing on the future of audio content. As a membership organisation representing the rights of over 118,000 songwriters, composers and publishers, we are proud to support and contribute to the exciting developments, insights and successes in music broadcast.”

The British Library, which is hosting the Radio Festival, is currently working with the industry to develop a Radio Archive to capture a representative sample of the UK’s vast radio output, ensuring that this important element of the nation’s memory is preserved for use by future generations of researchers. The archive will start recording on a pilot basis from April 2017.

For more information and to purchase tickets please visit:


For more information please contact Lucy Goodwin on: 0203 189 1951 or

Notes to editors:

  1. For press accreditation to attend Radio Festival please contact Lucy Goodwin on the details above

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

The Radio Archive is part of the British Library’s major Save Our Sounds programme. The Library is working with the radio industry to develop a service that will collect, preserve and provide long-term access to a representative sample of the UK’s vast radio output - only a tiny fraction of which is currently being archived. The Radio Archive has the active support of the BBC and a range of key industry bodies including Radioplayer, Community Media Association, Radio Academy and Radio Independents Group. A two-year pilot archiving project will start recording in April 2017, to explore the technical challenges of collecting and providing research access to substantial amounts of radio content

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