The closing session for this years Radio at the Edge conference was a fascinating chat between the 66 year old veteran DJ Tony Blackburn and new 5 Live afternoon presenter; Richard Bacon about their mutual love for all things tech. What was infectious was how they both clearly feed off the opportunities that social sites were giving them in helping them present radio shows and the ease with which they’ve integrated this into what they do. Even if you’ve been a presenter for over 40 years.
It was almost impossible to transcribe both so I’ve focused on Richard’s side of the conversation.
For more: Adam Bowie has written up a detailed report of Radio at the Edge 09 including this session and Tony’s comments. Mark Rock captured a whole bunch of Audioboos pre, during and post the chat. I’m told that the actual audio will soon be available at the Radio at the Edge site. This is my quick typing so apologies for any errors.
- Why is he the most followed Twitter user in the UK ? “Its a clerical error. I ended up on the Twitter suggested users lists next to Ashton Kucher and Oprah Winfrey. So I have lots of followers in the USA, South Korea, and Japan.”
- Helps with programme ideas “Twitter is really good for trending and you can see what people are excited about.When Republicans attacked the NHS . I saw very quickly that people were excised about it. I saw the hashtag and thought “lets do a phone in about that…” before the papers did. And it was the same with Jan Moir.So its more than just the conversations and tweets…it actually affects the editorial on the show. I see it like the DVD extras of a programme.”
- Reach or Impact “I will go on Twitter and say what the topics in the show are ten minutes before I go on air. Now you don’t get new listeners but you do end up reminding users you are there. Thats the trade off. You can see why some people get twitter wrong . You shouldn’t just use twitter to sell things. You need to let people into your life, tell them personal things.you tell them about your self and then…occasionally you can say “i’m on the radio, or i have a book out”.
- Do Twitter followers belong to you or the radio station ? “I think they belong to you. Because normally a twitterfeed is quite personal . When i started on the station in January i plugged it a lot on 5 Live. They come through the radio station but then they started come from other sources. Followers beget more followers.Five live are welcome to the followers from South Korea.” (ie: the worldwide followers he gained when he was a suggested user to follow on Twitter)
- What type of presenter works on Twitter ? “There are two types of presenters.Those that do like talking [about themselves] and some who never quite like talking about themselves. There are radio stations who force their presenters to go on Twitter and you can tell when that happens. Some people are made to write blogs and you can tell that. There’s a danger there, if that happens, because that makes the presenter seem insincere.”
- Facebook and the Secret Half Hour “I have an extraordinary relationship with those guys. [on Facebook]. I constantly get stuff from them that i then use in the programme and in that section of the show. I feel like i almost know the audience. Social media kind of brings you closer to the people you are talking to. In the last couple of years i feel my relationship has changed. as part of the instant feedback thing. I now feel closer to them.”
- Incorporating users ideas. “SMS. Texts feel a bit more impersonal. [than Twitter, Facebook] Basically i get the listeners to write the show because they are funnier than you. The advantage to me is i think it makes the audience it bit more loyal. You feel a bit closer to them they feel closer to you. its quite easy to lose listeners. if you use these things properly the audience becomes more sticky. You can make people care”
- Visualising Radio. “What they did cleverly [for Simon Mayo] was not try and make it look like a tv show and it worked well for big guests. But for those programmes with just a presenter speaking its “not a great visual experience.”
- Audioboo “The sound quality is better than you would expect it to be. If i was a witness to a breaking news event I can now record a report and share it with a station. Thats exciting.”
- Presenter power “A grey area has opened up. Sometimes i’ll RT an article that i find interesting without passing comment.The janmoir article i was quite fascinated about. A couple of days later I hosted a radio discussion [about it].Had I [by posting tweets] became compromised about a discussion i might be hosting ?