The first full day of the festival, and some interesting sessions.
Are Google out to take over the world? Yes… and no. It turns out they're already selling advertising spots on 900 stations in the USA ranging from big hitters to small markets.
Stations either give them spare inventory or allocated spots, and Google fill these with their ad-words clients. I asked the man from Google whether this could replace traditional sales teams as we know them, and he very politely ducked the question.
Some stars of the British radio scene were performing very well. Phil Riley vs David Goldberg from Yahoo! Music was interesting – over in the states, format-flips have allowed stations that aren't appealing to enough listeners to change format to output that does, which, according to Goldberg is speech radio. Though that's hardly surprising when you hear some of the music radio out there.
Also flying the flag, Francis Currie took us through the evolution of the Heart brand, which mirrors their evolution to top of the commercial pile in London. James Cridland was good as ever though it didn't feel like a complete conference without Ralph Bernard from Gcap having a dig at the BBC.
Networking is still one of the big areas of the conference, and out in the exhibition hall you can hear many languages talking about many subjects. Luckily for the exhibitors, this is also where the tea/coffee/wine is situated, meaning that you can't help but take in their jingles/videos/displays while trying to get refreshed between sessions.
Day 2 looms, with highlights including 10 tips for talent management, what makes Italian radio work, and more from the station sound and marketing gurus. I would also expect there to be quite a few sore heads this morning based on the taxi queue to get people downtown at the beginning of the evening.
We'll bring you another update soon from Rome… Missed our first report? Click [link=http://www.radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.1302]here[/link].