Second Day at the Radio Festival

Let?s start by saying how good Jeremy Vine is. He?s superb – it?s his second year of hosting the Radio Festival, and he?s really good at it. Credit to the Radio Academy for inviting him back.

So, day 2, and it starts to get in-depth. After a look at whether podcasting is an opportunity or a threat (both), and how to be number one in the market (content, amongst other things), Matthew Bannister led a session on creativity and its importance. This was possibly the best session of the day, featuring not only Matthew?s insight into the importance of trying new ideas out, but also the thoughts and views of three Sony winning stations of the year – Radio 1, Kerrang Radio and Coast 96.3.

Matthew even went as far as suggesting that creatives should be judged on the number of their ideas that fail – the more that fail, the better the creative; his logic being that you have to try things out to find the genius ideas, and some will fail along the way. So, the more that fail, the more success there will be.

And to conclude, he played us the clip of Chris Morris announcing Michael Heseltine?s death on Radio1 – the infamous Blue Jam clip. A great session, and incredibly inspirational.

Lunch was chicken or salmon. In case you were wondering.

The controversy of the afternoon was Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys and Tony Wadsworth from EMI suggesting that radio should be playing more local unsigned bands. The whispering in the audience was two-fold? ?But we already do? said BBC local radio? while commercial stations were shouting ?are you mad? Our target listener wants to hear more Tina Turner and Blackeyed Peas!? Nevertheless, an interesting debate about how to allow new bands the exposure they need to succeed. Geoff Jein from Radio 2 complained that he got 17 hours of new music serviced to him last week, while Jay Crawford from Real Radio Scotland complained that he didn?t get any. Perhaps they could get together and share.

?Whose Listener Is It Anyway? was a gameshow where industry experts (Mary Kalemkerian from BBC7, Phil Riley from Chrysalis and Andria Vidler from Magic) had to guess what station the mystery listeners tune to, by asking 2 questions each. What made this fascinating was that the guests really were normal non-radio people, and that it was any station that included Cambridge in it?s TSA. It was a timely reminder that listeners are never quite as predictable as we imagine – the Five Live listener who doesn?t like sport, and the Vibe fan who?s not been to a gig in 12 years. This should be a compulsary session for jocks everywhere.

But enough of the serious stuff – what about the entertainment!

The gala dinner was swapped for a barbeque (so, during the afternoon, it started to rain) and Phil Williams (Five Live) led a radio-based quiz. By far the best round was to guess the swear word from the out-take clips. Hearing Radio Sheffield, Five Live and Radio Scotland amongst others up to the point of the word-in-question was great? especially when the answers were played back later.

Italy winning the football at the same time also helped.

Then, it was over to a different room to watch the Beautiful South who, for such a small event, did a fantastic set – around 10 songs including Manchester and Rotterdam. Paul Heaton was as grumpy yet superb as you would imagine. And the bar served Sol, which was good.

A great day for all, thumbs up so far.

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