The number 9 is popular this week

So the buzz around the radio industry in Australia, channel 9 and their intention to take Macquarie Media. I’m interested to know what impact this will have on regional stations, will SCA end up dumping their own news service and then take Macquarie’s version?

I want this blog to be not only about my passion in radio but what I’m up to in general. Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts such as the Pineapple Project with Claire Hooper from the ABC discussing money and work practices, well worth a listen. Does anyone have a side hustle that works well for them? I’ve been investing through the Raiz app (previously known as Acorn). Benny Hope shot me through a message to say he’s been creating “The Burble” podcast, he’s certainly grown from his infancy at 2MCE.

I’ve also been studying up the ABS Household Expenditure Survey to help create my own budget and goals. It’s amazing what happens when you put automatic savings deductions in place from your main bank account. The Lime Scooter hire project in Brisbane has me interested in electric assisted scooters for getting around, at around $550, 25km/hr and a 20 mile range they seem like a great idea.

Once again the Ekka winds bring cold winds up from the south without fail although this year the southern states appear to have had a couple of days of snowfall.

Radio futurism

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.

Big end of town

So back in December it was about time to get my bone density checkup and I arranged to get a referral so I could have this carried out. At the time of booking I alerted that this was a followup and was given a time. When I arrived I was informed they would do the test then find an appropriate Medicare code. When this did come around they advised because it was not exactly or past the 2 year waiting period that I could not be covered and would have to pay $100 out of pocket. Now for someone that is currently trying to make ends meet through a government benefit this is a big ask. I took the matter up with the agency then eventually the health ombudsman to no avail. The lack of communication from Queensland Diagnostic Imaging was appalling. So now I will no longer use their services and I’m posting this so fellow Queenslanders don’t have to deal with this disgraceful company.

A dollar a day

Most of us have had to tighten the budget to make ends meet, I’m sharing this post to perhaps help others and perhaps even get a little help myself. Inspired by my university studies on “Consumption Matters: Consumer Cultures and Identity”.

I use this Australian Bureau of Statistics document to compare my expenditure against others.

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/CB07CC895DCE2829CA2579020015D8FD/$File/65300_2009-10.pdf

I breakdown my budget spreadsheet using the same categories then by year, month, fortnight, week then day and it can be a real eye opener. Note that I check the ozbargain.com.au website regularly for great bargains.

 

Electricity

I used the government electricity comparison website https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ to search for a suitable plan for our needs, this way you know there is no one being paid to promote certain plans. I ended up with Click Energy but there are a few noteworthy conditions, bills are emailed, direct debited to get the best discount. If you’re interested in joining them, save even more by a member referral https://www.clickenergy.com.au/about-us/forms/mates-rates/

 

Transport

I make use of public transport here in Brisbane and have a GO card – http://translink.com.au/tickets-and-fares/go-card

 

If I need to make a desperate trip around the city I use Uber

Save with a referral link – https://www.uber.com/invite/stevenc243

 

If travelling to and from the airport, where possible I use public transport for locals:

 

Brisbane: Translink Bus to DFO then free shuttle bus to the airport terminals and vice versa. Beware the shuttle bus only operates during certain times. Saves on paying a fortune on the Airport Train.

http://skygate.com.au/files/airportvillage/Bus%20Timetable.pdf

 

Melbourne: Public bus to Broadmeadows Train station then train to city. Takes longer but saves you a fair bit rather than the Skybus. Again I use a card called Myki for these trips.

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/journey

 

Sydney: No real choice but airport train here, but use an Opal card to save money. https://www.opal.com.au/

 

Adelaide: A couple of times I’ve stayed in Glenelg, there is a public bus to this area to and from the airport.

https://www.adelaidemetro.com.au/

 

When planning flights, I use a number of tools:

 

http://www.skyscanner.com.au/

http://www.webjet.com.au to compare domestic options then book directly through airline website. Try using this link and change the required city name in the link http://www.webjet.com.au/flights/sydney/

The cheapest option is presented by each month, think click through to find what day it is available.

Like the facebook pages of Jetstar and Tiger to be the first to get bargain sales. Note if you must get to a destination in a tight timeframe you are best of with Virgin or Qantas, worth knowing if you need to make a connection.

Try paying through your bank account or direct debit card to increase your savings. Oh and if you find a cheaper flight than Jetstar within an hour of one of their scheduled flights you can user their price beat guarantee policy for a booking http://www.jetstar.com/au/en/what-we-offer/our-guarantees/price-beat-guarantee

 

Food/Groceries

I buy groceries from Coles as I prefer their product range as well as getting a discount as a member of our house is a staff member. We plan our meals in advance for the week and only buy what we need generally. We pop it into the Coles mobile app by searching or scanning the barcodes then we tick them off the app as it guides us by each isle in the store. We also use Flybuys to get greater discounts on our shopping. Note that anything you purchase and swipe with your flybuys is saved to the app so you can select it for future shopping lists.

https://www.coles.com.au/customer-service/coles-app

I buy some staples through ALDI and where it is possible some bulk items through Costco. Always buy dishwasher tablets in bulk through catchoftheday.com.au or eBay resellers. I also buy batteries through catchoftheday.com.au.

 

When going out for a meal we use Zomato to compare places through reviews https://www.zomato.com/

 

Education

I purchase my textbooks second hand through Amazon.com where possible, takes a few weeks but huge savings.

 

Ink & Toner, always buy generic through ebay.com.au and save a fortune.

 

Hotels

Booking.com is my preferred site to book hotels

 

Furnishings

I generally buy new furniture from Super Amart or Ikea, rugs through eBay. Haven’t had to buy an appliance for a while but I’m tempted by appliancesonline.com.au best price guarantee and other aspects of their operation http://www.appliancesonline.com.au/our-prices.aspx

 

Communications

Internet

I’m located in an area that has a piece of technology called a RIM which essentially means that I have to use a Telstra ADSL2+ landline service with a traditional phone service connected. If you are connecting up anywhere I recommend Internode as your first company to call, their staff are quick to tell you what is technically available, they also resell aspects of the Telstra network. The staff are at a call centre in lovely Adelaide and in my experience are lovely to deal with. I am however considering switching to Belong when my contract is up do to a shorter or no contract period at a cheaper rate. If I had the Optus network available I would choose a company called Eftel although I don’t like supporting Optus as I believe they are still owned by the Singapore Government. Be careful when selecting services particularly unlimited plans as their contention rate differs (too many users online affect your speed).

 

Phone

Landline

I use a Voice Over Internet Protocol VOIP phone line service using a Mynetfone Neosaver plan https://www.mynetfone.com.au/whirlpool/VoIP/Plans

I don’t have my number listed at no cost and have enjoyed not having Telemarketers interfere with my life.

 

Mobile

I’m with Vaya using the Optus 4G network where available on a Power Plan 18. http://www.vaya.net.au/?option=Mobile&4Gsimonly&plan=Power%20Plans

I buy my phones second hand through amazon.com

 

Health

To find a private health plan I use the government comparison website, rather than paid comparison sites. http://www.privatehealth.gov.au/dynamic/compare.aspx

 

I’m lucky that I have a local pharmacy that collects scripts at a nearby box in an estate and then delivers them next day charging to my monthly account. I buy PBS through them and buy anything else through Chemist Warehouse.

 

Recreation

TV/Movies/Music

I’m a Netflix subscriber and also purchase itunes cards on sale for use with Apple TV, I keep an eye on Harvey Norman 2 for 1 sales.

 

When watching movies in theatres, I try to choose Cineplex cinemas as they are much cheaper and have limited free parking available.

 

Banking

I use Westpac and ING Direct, I will never return to ANZ after their disgusting treatment.

 

I have Mastercard and Visa debit cards along with Mastercard and Amex credit cards of which I earn Qantas Frequent Flyers and rebates on the Amex. Note that I use either the Qantas Frequent Flyers of Virgin Velocity rewards sites before proceeding to purchase at online stores such as eBay so I gain frequent flyer points.

Ebay Wonderland

One of the sites I just could not do without is eBay, I love shopping for bargains through this website. You can obtain items at a fraction of the cost of paying retail in store. I recently wanted to buy a digital scale to weigh my luggage for trips to avoid excess baggage fees, I priced them in the stores from $30 – $60. A short time on eBay and I had one with delivery for around $3! Ink & Toner, forget retail you will pay ridiculous amounts. Sure, you will find most of these items to be generic but if you want to print something quality then use the professional services of something like Officeworks. You can also setup eBay to give you email alerts when new items meet your search criteria.

Feedback it can help

So I recorded some imaging for a Northern NSW station and got to chatting to the fellow who requested it. He asked for my feedback on improving a voiceover he had done and was quite thankful. I’m not the best with feedback as in a support environment it’s very much find the fault and move on. Finding the positives first and relaying that is a huge challenge for myself. Below is the imaging I did and I’m going to start placing these into Soundcloud.

Welcome

My name is Steve and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of IT at Queensland University of Technology, specialising in digital environments. I have been involved with IT and radio since around 1993. This has been through amateur and professional experience with a large proportion of my efforts in the support environment. I’m very geared towards the problem resolution processes of finding business work-arounds, restoring functionality through to resolution and preventative measures. I’m a proactive person in most regards and always looking to raise the bar.

I’ve decided to create this blog to bring together my social media avenues and bond better with those that share my interests and passion. Inspired by Anthony Eden of Media Realm and the very media active Artie Stevens.

I hope to share with you my experiences, opinions, thoughts and to show my passions. This will always be a work in progress and hopefully it will bring reward with it. I look forward to your interaction through the comments you leave.