“I got my start in a small FM station in Saskatoon—CFMC, doing overnights, then drive, then mornings.
Kind of a loose format, and with such a small staff that we were all doing each others’ jobs. When the news guy went on vacation, I got to rip-and-read.
Later I moved to another market, with a bigger transmitter and more audience, a tighter format and rules about what you could say and play—but the lone magic of talking into the mic and being in the ears of a complete stranger never left.
It’s why I’m a Ham, I suppose. It’s already depressing that the biggies like Netherlands and Canada and others have tuned out. I hate to ponder the End of Radio—it’s like losing an untouchable, rare dimension to our human experience.”
David Korchin (K2WNW) is also a talented photographer; check out his website–One Camera One Lens–and especially his photography project, The Hamateur. Amazing images…
Cridland gave this speech at the opening of the Radiodays Johannesburg conference. Here is an excerpt:
“There’s a theme that runs through the conference today of threats and opportunities. This panel is called “Radio’s Brave New World.” It sounds as if radio is heavily under threat. That radio is on its last legs. That we should pack up and go home.
The facts are that radio is as resilient today as it always has been. Radio is tremendously successful here in South Africa, in the UK, the US and across Europe. The amount of people who tune into radio is as high as it has ever been. And that’s great news for those of us who love the medium.
Radio has a unique place–in that we enjoy radio while we’re doing other things. No other medium can say that. Some people call radio “the secondary medium.” I prefer calling it “the multitasking medium.” There is nothing secondary about radio.
Radio also has unique opportunities. We are part of people’s lives in a way no other medium is. A station in the UK ended up having hundreds of thousands of protestors when the BBC tried to close it down. You wouldn’t get a march on Broadcasting House for a website being closed down. Or a Mobile app. But there’s something in radio that means we are intimately connected with our favourite presenters and our favourite stations. As Franz said, that means that we can be more interactive with our audience, too.
Radio’s reliance on audio, rather than visual, means that it can go places no other medium can. We can make full advantage of podcasts and on-demand listening: something that is continuing to grow. We can use the Mobile internet in ways that are still difficult or impossible for TV. We are fleet-of-foot, and quick to adapt. We have great relationships with our advertisers, and we can involve them in our programming in far more creative ways than TV. Radio is multiplatform. That is our great strength.
And we can now make broadcast quality radio with nothing more than a mobile phone: recording, editing, and sending in to the studio. No other medium has the content flexibility that we do.[…]”
James Cridland is the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio “futurologist”– consultant, writer, and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on radio.
The report reminds me that shortwave radio is often viewed as only legacy technology, when, in fact, shortwave has many advantages over digital options and is as relevant as ever.
This photo was taken in rural South Sudan, after Ears To Our World had distributed hundreds of radios via our partner Project Education South Sudan. This photo was taken prior to the recent outbreak of violence the country is currently enduring. Can you imagine the power of information just one radio can provide to a community during these turbulent times?
As I’ve mentioned before, Gareth Mitchell once interviewed me for the BBC World Service technology program Click. Mitchell’s interview focused specifically on my non-profit, Ears To Our World, which uses self-powered shortwave radios to further its mission. His description of our radios during his introduction was as insightful as it was humorous:
“…Portable battery powered devices that can stream audio in real time all via an intuitive touch interface.”
Aptly put. Shortwave radio, after all, has several profound benefits over the Internet, the three most significant being: 1) radio hasno regard for national borders, and crosses them effortlessly;2) listeners retain anonymity (thus cannot be readily tracked nor penalized by repressive authorities); and 3) radio requires no apps nor subscriptions to work. Nor even, for that matter, a power grid. It’s “just” an inexpensive “battery powered device” that can bring listeners vital lifesaving information, and, well…the world.
In short, I continue to stand by what I reported to UNESCO last year:
I like Bob’s contemporary take on radio listening. Embrace old and new technologies:
Here’s the thing. I have radios that pick up FM, AM and short wave signals, but I also have an IP, or internet radio, that picks up signals that are broadcast from various sources. So while I’m cooking in my suburban Maryland kitchen, I can listen to WFUV originating from the Bronx, or The Current from Minneapolis or KEXP in Seattle. These are traditional radio signals but they are no longer bound by geography. Before finishing the meal I whipped up, I could also potentially hear a homemade folk music show from Norway, some classical Hindi music, a tech show and so much more.