The future of radio is still content-focused

"It's time to step up our game…” These were the opening words of an incredibly informative session with Dave Watson (DAVID Systems, Germany), James Cridland (Podnews, Australia) and Bruno Tezenas du Montcel (NETIA, France).

Historically, radio has been bad at getting value out of content, says James Cridland. Producers are incredibly focused on feeding a transmitter and keeping the needles moving as opposed to focusing on the future of audio consumption and encouraging new ways to consume content.

With production and delivery now so easy, the focus is on a new world of integration: Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers, car radios, and even artificial intelligence. We need to think more about the ways to use these devices in our programming and they, in the future, may be able to unlock the wealth of data radio producers can use.

Metadata also plays a really important role in audio discovery and exploration. If “John Smith in the Morning” is the only metadata your radio station provides, you're failing to provide a service to your listeners and you are harming the search and discoverability of your own content.

Programatically, this data can be used to improve on-air content. We know the optimal time of programming music, James states. We know an Ed Sheeran song might be played every 90-minutes for maximum impact, but we don't use this information for interviews.

Live and local should make way for real and relevant, says James, but Bruno disagrees, saying that in order to make real human connection, radio must be live.