It’s been a long time since I posted and I’ve been thinking quite heavily each week about putting something up. I’ve now left my role at Sunshine FM and exploring other opportunities; it was time with a number of factors pointing to the decision. I had a trip down to Sydney originally intended to check out radio broadcast gear at SMPTE however that intention was quite a disappointment with what I found on offer. The trip however included catching up with childhood friend Damien Spanjer who organised for a tour of ABC Ultimo. It kinda shocked me that the ABC appears to update equipment in waves, like if there is a new building in the pipeline. Damien has always been extraordinary in writing business cases and I explained one of my pet peeves now is with free to air tv and finding quality viewing. It’s often said that at least free to air commercial tv really is dead in the water and I have to agree for the most part. I only watch the local news bulletin for 15 mins, as soon as they cross to sport I’m out of there!
So with this in mind I see Australian commercial TV as having two drawcards still, news and sport. Why there is no catchup tv for local news just astounds me. I’m interested in ABC/SBS programming but I want to know the lineup, Damien mentioned integration with Facebook and Twitter but there doesn’t appear to be a TV promo like the news bulletin headlines available in text form showing up. I think ABC & SBS will end up merging resources, I think it really is inevitable considering all the budget cut backs
It was so nice to catchup with Damien’s daughter, this young girl took my hand as we took the tram back home for dinner. Seeing her extroversion amongst introverted parents was just amazing and so joyful.
I stayed at APX Hotels & Apartments at World Square which was just perfect accommodation and thoroughly recommend them for price, service and quality. We ventured to the Hard Rock Café to find out the latest broadcast product offerings from AVC and the cloud based software really caught my eye. I spent the rest of the day with Damien playing tourist, so many of the train stations have been upgraded in the CBD and Barangaroo was full of people. I still can’t believe that George St at 9am in the morning was like a ghost town. I know the tram lines aren’t completed but that seemed to be enough to keep people away.
The whole trip gave me time to reflect on where I’ve been and to focus on where I am going and where the media industry is headed. In all honesty I think Digital Radio (DAB+) is just a better version of AM Stereo. I know I and others were expecting new radio stations but ended up with music jukeboxes much like the commercial TV additional channels. The real platform or space that needs to be worked upon is the internet and looking at ways of how to cover content in what was typically terrestrial broadcast landscape. I think it’s time for the government and Commercial Radio Australia to approach Google, Facebook & Microsoft, the large data analytical companies to do what radio sells the best and I believe that to be “Voice”. We’ve already seen that if enough voice samples are taken you can generate speech sentences as if the person actually said it themselves. Who likes listening to the voice of Siri or Alexa, imagine if you could listen to a voice of someone familiar who has passed away. For example, what about Ken Sparkes? I’m not sure how far away we are from this reality but I’m near sure that’s where it is headed.
But what about the transitional period before that becomes a reality? Well from what I can see radio can provide the voice content between algorithm based user playlists from services such as Youtube and Spotify. We already see network stations using clocks to disseminate shows such as Nova’s Kate, Tim & Marty at different times on different networks. What is to stop them from doing these voice breaks live or pre recorded and sending the metadata time stamps between breaks so the streaming services can fill with the users desired music playlist, it’s just an algorithm being told I need x minutes/seconds here. Then you might say how do you monetise this, well it comes down to subscription options. The free based model might include the radio station advertisers, or the stream providers advertisers, if they want a particular news service again it will come down to packaging.
What about the worm polling used in political debates, why could we not have multiple demographic worms during our broadcasts. We know the devices are actually listening to what’s going on, just pull a few seconds every few mins to find out what radio content is being listened to. How many times have you tried to cover your phones mic but somehow Siri still can hear you say “hey Siri”?
I also think we need to return back the record button, giving it the ability to record all, record breaks, record adverts, record songs, with a recording pay toll or recording expiry period. How good was it (Sounding like Scomo now) when we could record radio on the tape deck?
I’m going to stop rambling now and hope that viewers of this post provide their thoughts on something that’s been on my mind for a while now. I think it’s more than time for this discussion to take place.