4 things I learnt from Radio Days

Staff Writer

Ryan Khay is the Content Director at Eon Broadcasting (Sea/Mix) on the Sunshine Coast.

Ryan has written a summary of his experience at Radio Days Europe in Dublin to share with Radio Today readers.

There are 4 key things I have learnt from Radiodays Europe in Dublin over the last 3 days:

1. It’s all about The Craic (look that one up if your not sure what this means).

2. Our Aussie presenters at Radiodays captivated the delegates, and represented our industry very well.

3. We need to fight the PPCA to change the streaming costs in our country.

A lot of conversation at Radiodays was about online streaming/broadcasting.

4. Content is king… Worldwide!

The city of Dublin was an excellent stage for a brilliant 3 days of talking about radio, networking… and the odd Guinness or two!

Ireland has a very special relationship with radio. It’s a medium that is very well respected through the commercial and public broadcasters in Ireland, and I was fortunate enough to hear many of them speak, some with very thick, authentic Irish accents!

Radiodays is a very well run conference that showcased the best people in a variety of areas of broadcast across Europe, and around the world, included an excellent Aussie contingent.

The refreshing thing is that many of the scenarios we have in our country are worldwide.

Issues that were discussed included attracting younger listeners to radio, making radio stand out through the smartphone revolution, and looking for new ways to engage our listeners and ensure we are part of their lives well into the future.

The conversation frequently  revolved around streaming,  apps, website streaming and digital.

We are all well aware that  we need to maintain a close relationship with these elements for the future of broadcast, but obviously have a unique situation in Australia to deal with before we can progress further in this area.

As we are aware, the next generation is not listening to radio the same way as people have, and we need to keep up.

There was also discussion on the future of traditional radio in the car, and with new centre consoles in cars that resemble something from Star Trek and with internet and satellite services being offered, we are no longer competing with other stations, but competing with everybody!

What resonated from the conference is the age old adage that Content is King.

This will always remain the case, but the key is making that content relevant to the audience, how will it enrich or benefit the listeners lives?

At a time when we are bombarded with options, we need to make sure the content resonated with our listeners, and make them feel like more than just ‘listeners’.

One of the common themes with content discussion was to ‘break the rules’!

Be bold enough to do something different, and be prepared to fail.

For our industry to grow, we need to ensure there are people who are brave enough to try new ideas that may seem like a risk.

One of my favourite quotes was “if something isn’t broken, break it”.

The Dublin convention centre is an amazing building that was the perfect location to host the event, easy access via many forms of transport, and with a big glass front that looked out to the famous River Liffey.

Each day of the conference, the local Dublin stations shared the space out front of the conference centre to show off their promo vehicles and OB Vans. The FM104 OB van (pictured) made all the delegates jealous, and many of us wondering how we would fit that in a clients car park.

They do it well in Ireland!

The Exhibitors Hall was a showcase of broadcast technology, consultancy companies and music and production companies, but it was the ‘studio video’ display stands that took my attention.

And there wasn’t just one company displaying this technology, there was several.

I came to realise that the next thing in Radio in Europe is stations broadcasting their shows live on the internet, with pictures in realtime.

The technology exists to have a fully automated ‘TV studio’ set up so that listeners can log onto the website and literally watch the show.

The technology uses a voice recognition to trigger different cameras and seamlessly cut between the announcers and guests via a mixer automatically triggering the switching.

The technology can also allow social media to be added to the broadcast, and run music videos where the songs play on the radio, all unmanned.

As mentioned, this was not one company showcasing this, but several with systems that give pictures to radio in real time.

You’d want to make sure the breakfast team had not left a bunch of coffee mugs and cereal bowls sitting around, only sexy looking studios would want to embrace this new technology!

The passion for radio that we feel, is the same passion they have in a small stations in Latvia, or a huge network in Ireland, and it was enthralling to share this passion with a bunch of my new European friends, even if they didn’t understand my accent!

Radio is in a very healthy state across Europe and Ireland, with new challenges in our evolution, but there is a lot of people worldwide thinking about it daily, and working on ‘breaking the rules’ so we can find new ways of evolving our industry into the future.

Ireland put on excellent hospitality in their hosting of Radiodays 2014, and the ‘craic’ was excellent.
For sometime who was enjoying their first time to Ireland I was very impressed with the friendliness and warmth from the people, even when it was bitterly cold outside.

At the end of the conference it was announced that Milan will be hosting Radiodays 2014… I’d better start buttering the boss up now!

Sláinte (good health in Gaelic)

Ryan Khay
Content Director
Eon Broadcasting


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