Posts Tagged ‘audio’

Planning A New Kind Of UK General Election Results Show – Can You Help?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Tuesday’s announcement of a General Election in the UK for June 8th caught me a little by surprise and set off a riot of emotions. I tend not to talk about politics too much online, so many of the thoughts I had yesterday are mine, or for friends and family.

But I’ll happily tell you my very first thought, because it’s one you can all help with.

I need to get behind a microphone to do the results show from 10pm on June 8th.”

I’ve anchored a number of overnight election shows on community radio here in Edinburgh since 2010. These have been broadcast out to the capital but also syndicated to other radio stations and streamed online for those in the UK (and beyond) looking for something a bit more rock and roll in their election night coverage.

I am confident I’ll be running an election night show this year. Now I need to get to that point, get a team together, sort out logistics, and all the other little bits and pieces in the way. Time is tight.

Putting The Team Together

The Election Results Show will be a collaborative effort, so I’m looking for people to be involved in the broadcast. The rough plan is have a core hosting team of two or three people working through the night, an ‘experts and pundits panel’ to discuss the results and keep the sparks flying, someone to stay on top of the constituency results and trends, another to watch over social media for a more interactive show, and a tech or two to keep the video and audio streams running.

If one of those roles sounds like something you want to do, get in touch – is probably the best way to do so.

Finding Our Temporary Studio

The first order of business – and one that really needs sorting out before the end of April – is the venue. Short of finding a radio studio suite, the show will need a decent sized space for up to 15 people, with tables and chairs, good lighting, and a rock solid internet connection (preferably with a mix of wi-fi and wired access).

My initial thought is that the show will be Edinburgh-based, but as the broadcast will be streamed online I’m open to other locations around the UK, including London.

Other Ways To Support The Show

Obviously there are some costs involved in the show, so I am very much open to partnerships. That could be co-working spaces, start-ups in a ‘broadcast’ space, publishers or other media organisations, sugary energy drink manufacturers, and so on. Again get in touch if this sounds like a contribution you can help with (

At the very least I would love to cover volunteer expenses and potentially the venue hire.

What About A Name?

The Election Results Show’ is functional but not incredibly descriptive. ‘Rock and Roll Results’ suggests musical content, and that’s unlikely to happen. There’ll be a good name that talks about the open nature of the show, the slightly rough at the edges feel, the move away from mainstream media coverage, and the online nature of the show. Right now I can’t think of it. Once more, suggestions welcome.

Over To You

I could do this alone, but it’s going to much more fun with a big group of people. Join me?

Another end of the line for MixRadio

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Part of me thinks that a service that has died so any times just to be brought back to life again can never be considered ‘dead-dead’, but the announcement today that MixRadio is be closed feels much more terminal.

Picked up by LINE from Microsoft (who picked it up from the Nokia Lumia team, who picked it up from the Nokia Music project, who picked it up from Ovi Music, who picked it up from the Nokia 5310, who picked it up from a Series 40 test app…), MixRadio is a personalised radio station that worked… offline listening, artist seeding, hand-rolled playlists, the works.

It’s not clear what defeated it, but streaming music requires a lot of data bandwidth, and the rights issues for any music service are legendarily backwards-looking. LINE’s statement covers all of those bases but with little detail.

Nevertheless, after a careful assessment of the subsidiary’s overall performance, the financial challenges posed by the music streaming market, and priorities of LINE Corporation, LINE has determined that future growth would be difficult to ensure and decided to discontinue the MixRadio music streaming service.

It’s going to be a few weeks before Mix Radio goes dark, so maybe there’s time for someone else to swoop in and Mix Radio can be a phoenix once more. Anyone interested should get in touch, the team are really good at transitions….

From The Sublime… To The Cliffhanger

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

I know there are a million ‘media/sci-fi/genre‘ podcasts out there, but here’s another reason to listen and subscribe to ‘From The Sublime‘… I’m making an appearance this fortnight!

FTS (because every good show needs to have a good abreviation) is hosted by Iain Hepburn, and works on a magazine-style format, with discrete topics introduced and presented as monologues from Hepburn and his “finely honed fighting force.” Yes, it’s ‘Nationwide for Nerds’, with just a little bit more attitude than Frank Bough.

Anyway, Hepburn asked if I would take a swing at a topic for the current episode, and I decided to look at the staple of genre television the cliffhanger, taking in the current season of Doctor Who, some of the classic series, Star Trek The Next Generation, and a few easter eggs hiding in the script (there’s a free badge for the first person to name them all).

It’s been fun being able to concentrate on ‘just the audio’ for once, and not worry about long term goals, website, promotion, or anything else. Let me know what you think!

Listen to the full show on the website, alternatively subscribe to FTS in iTunes or by RSS to get every episode.

The moment when a post about ‘audio not going viral’, goes viral

Friday, January 17th, 2014

An interesting article for two reasons on Digg about the viral nature of content and why audio doesn’t have the same viral velocity as an animated GIF or a flashy YouTube video:

“Audio never goes viral,” writes radio and podcast producer Nate DiMeo. “If you posted the most incredible story — literally, the most incredible story that has ever been told since people have had the ability to tell stories, it will never, ever get as many hits as a video of a cat with a moustache.”

It’s hardly a fair fight, audio vs. cat video, but it’s the one that’s fought on Facebook every day. DiMeo’s glum conclusion is an exaggeration of what Giaever reads as the moral of her own story: “People will watch a bad video more than [they will listen to] good audio,” she says.

Definitely worth a read if you have any connection to radio or podcasting. The other interesting reason is that this article is not Digg linking to an article, but a Digg ‘original’ article commissioned by the new owners, as TechCrunch points out:

The new Digg is more about marrying the concept of a trending post with the human touch that only comes from an editorial eye about what deserves consideration. That puts into a category where it could compete with other viral aggregators like BuzzFeed or Reddit, news aggregators like Techmeme, and also with services like Medium, which offers a sort of collaborative blogging platform where top stories and recommended content is also presented to end users.

Some thoughts as the Fringe ends for another year

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

And that’s that. The Edinburgh Fringe Podcast, one of the most high profile, enjoyable podcasts that I do in the year can be put away till about March next year – that’s when people start to email me asking if I’ll be doing it again.

How about some numbers to put this year’s run in perspective:

  • 31 podcasts, made up of..
  • 22 regular shows
  • 5 preview shows
  • 3 Sunday specials
  • and 1 “Top Ten” clip show (which only has two clips actually repeated from other podcasts)
  • The podcasts featured 19 musical acts
  • 1 poetry recital
  • 1 rap
  • 58 ‘studio’ interviews
  • 18 hours 34 minutes 52 second of edited audio
  • …which clocks in at comfortably over a gigabyte of downloadable MP3’s.

My Fringe experience is very much like the X-15 rocket plane. Heading out to the press launches at the start of the preview week lifts me up from the clichéd “I live here, get out my city” to “brilliant, the Fringe is back!” to the point where the curtain goes up on the five minute come and see our show spots, which lights up the rocket engines behind the podcast and thrusts it (and my adrenaline) to over 300,00 feet in the sky.

And then, from early in week three, I start to glide home. Most people want to be interviewed early in the run, thinking this will get them on air straight away. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that, and I’m pretty good at editing out any references to “I’ve only done two shows so far”.

That’s just one of the things I need to keep in mind while interviewing. The one that has surprised people when I tell them is that I regard all the interviews as one big game of Just a Minute. Not completely you understand – listeners will know I love a bit of deviation in the podcast – but in terms of no hesitation and no repetition.

No hesitation because when there’s an opportunity to grab an interview or do something special, then I just go for it; such as approaching Arnold Brown for a ten minute interview between shows, dragging Rachael Sage into a shop for her first taste of Bourneville chocolate or taking up Phil Nichol on his offer to do a stand-up set at Old Rope.

And no repetition because asking the very same questions in different interviews is asking for trouble, because it’ll be as clear as day to the listeners of the podcast that I’ve had to do the same thing twice, when it’s far more entertaining to keep asking about new things and finding out different angles to people and their time at the Fringe.

Sometimes I think it would be far easier with the sort of production teams doing video that I see around Edinburgh, but to be honest I look at these large teams grabbing 30 second vox pops, then listen to a in-depth twenty minute interview with a small theatre group and realise that I much prefer the intimacy and depth that audio allows me to explore. I’m not surprised that so many people jumped on video podcasting as soon as it was feasible. While I do dabble with it, I still prefer working in pure audio. To be honest i think you can do a lot more in the pure audio medium than any other that’s available online.

But it’s over now, for another year. And give it a few days and I’ll be working out what worked, what didn;t and what I need to change for next year’s shows.

How Many Minutes Of Video Must a Man Watch?

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

The ideal length for a video podcast turns out to be between two and a half to four minutes, assuming you want to agree with the data at Shooting By Numbers.

I’d tend to agree with that, but with a couple of caveats. I don’ think it’s a surprise given the proliferation of music videos on services like YouTube that the perfect time fits an MTV-style view of the world, but there are videos and subject matter that need to be longer.

Interviewing is a good example. I’ve got a fair bit of experience with this, and my gut feeling is that about ten minutes, after a good edit, is about right for an interview. I’d also say you can go a bit longer with audio than video. But then there are interviews I’ve done that worked perfectly at ninety seconds.

Robert Scoble does a bundle of video interviews, first for PodTech and then Fast Company. These are long form, forty minute affairs, with the occasional ten minute edited version. Scoble argues the forty minute videos are jam packed with stuff, and I’d tend to agree, but having linear online media is tough because we’re all so used to chopping and changing quickly.

Compelling content will hold the viewer or listener. As the length increases, you must make a more compelling argument in the media to keep your listener. If you deserve it, you get the forty minutes. If people jump away after two minutes, that’s not because there’s some sort of magic formula, it’s because that’s their attention span.

Here Comes the Edinburgh Fringe Podcasts for 2008!

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Fringe podcast has started again – I suspect many of them will be cross posted here, but in case you want to be niceley organised, this is the RSS feed for just the Fringe material.

The Edinburgh Fringe 2008 Show #1 (MP3 40.4 mb, 44 minutes 10 seconds)
DOWNLOAD the podcast by right clicking on this link, or press play and listen in your browser.

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Download MP3Show NotesRSS Feed

August the first, and the starting gun on both the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Podcast has fired. Which means a month of daily podcasts from the biggest arts festival on the planet are going to be heading towards you at top speed (or whatever your broadband is capped at). For the opening show, I thought it was time to dig a little deeper into the relationship between the festival and Scotland’s capital city, so I spent some time with Councillor Steve Cardownie, the Edinburgh Festival and Events Champion.

On the show front, one of my favourite groups, Tha Martians, are back with a new show called Greyfriars Twisted Tales, and I caught up with them at a rehersal to talk about the show and grab some unplugged music from the show. It’s also your first chance to meet Georgina Sowerby and Brian Luff, who are running their own daily show at the Fringe – they’ll be popping back with their guests and thoughts on Edinburgh from a behind the scenes perspective throughout August.

Do leave your comments on the website or email me on

The Edinburgh Fringe 2008 Show #1

Councillor Steve Cardownie
Edinburgh City Council, Festival and Events Champion

The Martians – Greyfriar’s Twisted Tales
at the Musical Theatre, George Square

Sowerby and Luff – Sex Tips for Pandas
at The Dragonfly (Part of PBH’s Free Fringe)