Throw the wireless radio away, for the digital wave is coming!

Updated March 1, 2007

About a month ago I noticed a shift in the kind of publicity that digital radio on the Internet was getting. I noticed the odd 'job vacancy' here and there for an Internet radio service both in sales and program production. Then I noticed some very large commercial companies talking of starting Internet radio for all of the businesses in their groups. There were news features daily coming through my e-mail talking about some new Internet radio service or the other.

The biggest shock of all to me recently was when France24 went live. It's a television station with live news, EXCLUSIVELY ON THE INTERNET. Their publicity has been massive and lot's of other media have been reporting on them recently. This is the way ahead. Here's something else that I saw in the news only tonight:

"One television entrepreneur is willing to bet his life that the future of broadcasting lies in the convergence of media -- a bringing together of television, radio, SMS, 3G, video conferencing, Internet chat rooms and web cams. In fact, the future of broadcasting is already here today and live and kicking in Hong Kong, according to industry veteran and founder of The Interactive Channel, Robert Chua.

Speaking in an exclusive interview in Bangkok, Chua explained how he had been in the business for 43 years and has seen the broadcasting industry from the days of black and white, through to colour, the advent of satellite TV and now the advent of the Internet and now interactive media. "I'm willing to bet my life that this is the future, Chua said.

Today, The Interactive Channel (tictv.com) broadcasts through multiple media channels -- cable, IPTV, Internet, radio and cellular phone in Hong Kong. The typical format is for a large video window, a chat room on the left, banner ads and call-in windows, either by videophone, webcam or 3G phone to enable user participation".

Full story here at AsiaMedia.UCLA.edu


Updated February 23, 2007

Izzy Wizzy Let's Get DIGITAL!

I alone don't have the financial resources or business head to start 'North Wales Live' TV or radio, sadly, but I do know that one day soon there will be a North Wales Radio service, a North Wales TV service and a whole host of other relevant media for people living in North Wales, exclusively local and exclusively digital. I urge anyone with the business skills and where-with-all to get a local TV or radio station off the ground and to do so quickly. Money will be made for those who do it right and do it soon, I'm certain.

Interesting also that Ofcom themselves are at last publicly embracing the digital platforms a little more. For too long the 'digital online radio' scene has been buried at the bottom of their business. They do seem to be more pro-active about Internet broadcasting today, which is encouraging.

The MCPS/PRS Alliance are still issuing their notes about how a 'Pan European Licence' is good for the performers and writers of music. It's confusing in part because they are offering a UK licence to Internet broadcasters but they are almost warning us that a new Pan European licence is to become favourite. As I see it, there is an issue arising about royalty payments, or rather a lack of them. It is difficult to track individual stations for each and every song they play especially across differing countries with differing mechanisms in place to collect their own royalty dues. There is a great fear that artists globally will loose out on royalty payments if there is no common policy or 'licence agreement' between countries. Hence the Pan European Licence idea being promoted on the MCPS/PRS Alliance's front web page. The point is, international royalty politics or not, digital and Internet radio is now well and truly in the regulatory and commercial arena, being talked about in much wider circles and growing amazingly fast.

This all means surely that locally derived Internet broadcasting will come. Any minute now someone will announce something to free us from the tyranny that conglomerate analogue radio has bestowed upon our once 'proudly local' commercial analogue radio services, and it will perform all the good and wholesome local things that the BBC in Wales used to provide on the airwaves of BBC Radio Clwyd, not just in static text and pictures with a scattering of video clips as they do now on the Internet web site that replaced radio Clwyd. Rather, their web site will be brought alive with real local presenters, proper local programming and real local issues being tackled interactively, live and for most of the day, like only the BBC in Wales can when it puts its mind to it...

If you want to start Radio North Wales, or TV Gogledd Cymru, why not get on with it sharp-ish. Let's for once try to make the business of local broadcast media LOCALY PRODUCED, and let North Wales profit from it, leading the way, building its plentiful local broadcast media skills once again, employing local talent and training skilled operators, but this time on the Internet and digital platforms, where I reckon all broadcasters will be in much less than 10 years time!

The Internet is there now plus the technology to run a radio or tv service fairly cheaply, and there is satellite, digital multiplexes and in some places cable to consider. Broadband will only get faster most likely, it already being a very good medium for transmitting and receiving live television and radio data, and the idea that I could watch the locally produced "Six O'Clock News of Connah's Quay" on a mobile phone sheer blows me away...

Keep it Live - Make it Digital - Keep it Local.

As in all cases, if you have a comment or wish to discuss any issues found on my web pages please contact me by all means. Email: roy @ roynorry . com


Updated March 1, 2007

Digital Roll-Out Gathers Pace

The digital highway is rolling out across the world so rapidly now you can't fail to have noticed or been touched by it in some way. It won't be long before the humble analogue wireless radio people will be competing and maybe even swamped by the electronic highway for their income and listeners. It must be mentioned here though that advertising prophets commented in the press over 12 months ago they believe Internet radio broadcasters will have to think in terms of much smaller niche markets and smaller audience numbers on the Internet.

This 'audience expectation change' could be for reasons of diversity, this being the key to the success of Internet radio as a whole in my view. Internet radio must be cutting edge and radically different in its approach to programming. Why?, because in effect there will be so many online broadcasters out there that digital listeners will do the equivalent of that which analogue listeners do presently when they are looking for some decent radio listening..., they tune around. There will be all sorts of radio available on the Internet, much of it diversifying away from the pop, prattle and blag of present day 'wireless' analogue commercial radio, hopefully.

What a play ground the Internet will be for the listeners when Internet radio becomes on a par with analogue radio, or even surpasses it in terms of popularity. Five, ten years tops? It's not that long when you think about it. It was ten years ago when Don't Speak - No Doubt was in the charts in the UK. It seems like yesterday to me.

The Pod Cast revolution is making traditional radio programmers sit up and think carefully as folks are moving towards making their own radio shows now, and putting them out online for their listeners, or turning their shows into pod cast for the ever popular I-pod devices.

As you may have seen from the information on my digital radio page, more and more internet radio sites are being placed online, and I can tell you that some of them are being aggressively advertised or 'marketed' if you prefer. There are more and more traditional broadcasters and publishers moving to the Internet out of choice now, and finally, more and more companies seem to be excited about sponsoring and funding online radio and digital communications.

"Now is the time", as Jimmy James and the Vagabonds said back in 1976. However, it hasn't happened fully yet, but in the scenario involving a big wave which starts as a ripple and gathers strength, I think we are at the stage where the digital radio wave has begun to roll over for the first time, as eager surfers prepare to ride it with enthusiasm. Bring it on!

To end, let me say that I enjoy the ability to get my online or digital resources such as news, traffic, weather information and my musical entertainment from the Internet. I can watch the BBC News headlines and stories, I can sample the television cultures of other countries with the click of a mouse button and I can watch the BBC Cornwall local news on the satellite TV from the comfort of my living room chair right here in Connah's Quay, North Wales as if I were right there in Redruth. Nice. The only thing missing is a real Cornish pasty. Bring on the digital replicator Captain Picard - I'm getting hungry for more!

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