International Radio Festival conference summary

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Radio professionals from all over the world gathered in Malta this week to celebrate radio and music at the International Radio Festival.

Part of the event included the Global Audio Conference at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, opposite IRF Radio Studio @ Fort St. Elmo.

Celebrating music radio, the IRF 2018 Malta edition explored the way major broadcasting organisations are tackling the changing nature of audio consumption; the rise of niche format radio stations, and the unique challenges of serving listeners across different media cultures with industry experts and leaders from broadcasters, production and technology companies.

Dr Joanna Spiteri the Chief Executive of Broadcasting Authority in Malta gave the opening speech of the conference with a positive outlook on radio saying “radio has continually evolved with the times”.

Absolute Radio’s Content Director, Paul Sylvester gave a lively presentation charting stations rise to success over the past 10 years concluding that “radio has the spirit and ability and the passion to do things differently” and to “Be brave, be bold, care less, its only radio and be happy to make mistakes.”

Music producer David Lowe talked us through how he created a more modern piece of music for the BBC News, which has been on-air around the world for the last 20 years.

Later, there was a viewing of a new cinema advert for the launch of BBC Sounds in a session with Trevor Dann and Paul Smith discussing the reinventing and growing BBC Radio.

James Keen, the newly-appointed Station Director for Channel 103 and Island FM in the Channel Islands, spoke with Andrew Zammit from Malta’s ‘number one hit music station’ 89.7 Bay, about the benefits and challenges of targeting a small island-based audience with key takeaways being that they have a “different relationship listeners have with the station” being “deeper and more intimate”.

International radio consultant and former GMG Radio Group Programme Director John Simons led a panel on the rise of niche radio with Matt Deegan (Fun Kids), Nick Pitts (Jazz FM) and Lindsay Wesker (Mi-Soul).

Paul Sylvester was back on stage in the afternoon to head up a discussion about reinventing radio with Xanthe Fuller, Head of Community at Mixcloud, BBC R&D’s Executive Producer Nicky Birch and The Orchard’s Scott Cohen stating that “radio is dead and streaming services have “disrupted listening habits” while Xanthe said “with playlists you can be in an echo chamber of your own taste” with one of the main take away points being how do we how do we define radio in the future as it’s a term that has changed meaning over time.

Cliff Fluet explained blockchain and how the audio industry can benefit from this new technology giving examples of companies already doing this such as Jaak, Audius and Lucid Tunes and pirate radio taking centre stage with Tony Prince, Gordon Mac, Tempo Flex talking about this history of Radio Luxembourg, Kiss FM and Flex FM.

Nails Mahoney and Tracey Lee followed with a presentation on The Power Of Sound with the day’s sessions ending with a keynote interview with Martyn Ware hosted by Carly Wilford.



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Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2018 at 11:46 am by Roy Martin

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