Dear Radio: Radio without borders, radio on repeat & radio silence
by Paulo Dias (@therealptp) Have you ever, on a random Tuesday morning, wondered what song is playing right now on the biggest station in Vietnam?
Radio Garden streams almost 8 000 radio stations from around the world. The impressive interface opens up on a 3D map and allows you to drag and eavesdrop on radio stations anywhere in the world. Even if you land on a station in a completely foreign language, you’ll recognise enough of the traditional radio format to feel comfortable, engaged and keep listening.
For some reason, I keep landing back on 97.9 Easy FM in Aruba. The good news? Pretty much every station, no matter where in the world, runs the Secret Sound.
Then, answering the prayers of every radio advertiser with a long telephone number or tricky URL comes Radio.com Rewind, which will make non-music radio available on demand.
The feature launched last month on the American network’s talk stations; it lets streaming listeners pause and rewind live radio and consume full shows when they want, as long as it’s within 24 hours of airing. Working much like your DStv decoder would, the feature could also make radio content go viral as it allows clips to be shared instantly.
I know some of the major local stations have recently launched shiny new apps but none of them have this sort of functionality yet. Granted, content rights are more difficult on music stations — what I’ve seen offers pause functions but, when unpaused, brings the listeners into real time and not back to the moment when they paused, and the rewind feature goes back about an hour instead of by a few seconds with still mostly edited and ‘podcast’-type content.
I know the local teams who work on the station apps are on the bleeding edge so I look forward to new playthings in 2020.
Finally, let’s shift from hearing whatever you want to radio silence in Liberia.
President George Weah ordered the shutdown of Roots 102.7 FM, a station owned by one of his fierce critics, accusing it of inciting violence.
It’s not for me to get into political conversation but every country needs radio to be fearless and independent and, as long as it doesn’t insult the listener, needs freedom to broadcast as it sees fit.
Politicians shutting down radio stations is a common occurrence across Africa —showing the importance of the medium on the continent and how effective it can in mobilising communities.
Paulo Dias (@therealptp) is the head of creative integration at Ultimate Media. He works closely with the programming teams at leading radio stations to help implement commercial messaging into their existing formats. He contributes the regular column, “Dear Radio”, looking at the changing radio landscape in South Africa, to MarkLives.com