Final day of Radiodays Europe round-up and 2023 location announced

In the Finale of Radiodays Europe 2022 it was announced that Prague would be the host city for this now three-day event, in 2023, 26 – 28 March.

Peter Niegel, General Manager of Radiodays Europe said: “We are happy that next year we are going to Prague to celebrate the 100th birthday of Czech radio.

“It is important as the Czech Republic is becoming a vibrant and dynamic audio market. We look forward to learning about this market and joining our colleagues in their celebrations.

“This year’s conference has brought our industries truly back together, we need this for our teams, for inspiration and to ensure that we move forward with our strategies for the future. But, most of all on a personal level we need to join together for our community to support each other. We hope to see you in 2023 in Prague.”

“Czech Radio, or rather its predecessor company called Radiojournal, was the second broadcaster, just after the BBC, to officially start radio broadcasting in Europe. In view of the significance of our centenary, we are glad that the organizers of Radiodays Europe chose Prague as the next host city.

This will be the 13th Radiodays Europe, offering learning and information, inspiring anyone working in, or interested in, the audio industry today and tomorrow. The conference attracted 1,200 visitors with over 60 sessions and more than 150 speakers this week.

During the final day, the conference once again had four events happening simultaneously covering all kinds of radio and audio topics.

Radio futurologist James Cridland looked at where audio is going and is behind improvements in things like BBC iPlayer.

He says in the last few years technology in radio has drastically improved. Once we didn’t even have audio editing software, now we have presenters doing shows from home.

New technology, descript, allows you to edit a transcription of audio and those edits appear in the audio file. It even allows you to change words and knows your voice to replace them without you rerecording anything.

Other technologies on the market include Spooler which allows real-time news in a podcast and on demand format. It effectively lets users make a bespoke podcast through news segments which can be replaced as the news updates.

New technology, Adori, is a dream for putting audio on YouTube. Either automatically or manually you can add audio and create a visual product perfect for places like YouTube and TikTok. It can work out the context of the audio to add photos and words which create a video.

Veritone is a company that can clone your voice and then you can create audio via a script. For example your syndicated Breakfast Host could host the afternoon weather locally – although currently it did still have that robotic tone to it. You can even get your clone to speak in languages you can’t.

Next Radiodays maybe you’ll be listening to a celebrity reading this article in your own language? Here’s to a very exciting future!

Aled Hayden-Jones from BBC Radio 1 announced a new cross-industry tool to allow new talent to upload and send their audio demo to radio stations.

“Finding new talent is essential to stay relevant with young people,” he says. He looks further afield, trying to lower the barriers to entry, to create a truly diverse and talented group of presenters.

Between Christmas and New Year Radio 1 Aled populated the entire station with new talent through an uploader anyone could send a demo too. Aled genuinely believes had they not done this they would have missed out on so much talent. It meant anyone from student radio, hospital radio and local radio could apply to be on Radio 1.

Aled announced that the uploader he used is going to be public in the UK with The Radio Academy to allow Youth radio stations to attract new talent. Talking about sifting through demos he says he finds it helpful to categorise presenters – do they have a music specialism? Are they radio experts? Then you have presenters he considers ‘personality presenters’ and brand new talent. Plus a final category – famous people. Though note the people you think are famous might not be the same people young people think are famous.

It’s also important to develop presenters. He helps coach presenters constantly, suggesting areas presenters can work on and having a good relationship with his team who also comment on positives and negatives. Development is important for all presenters, after all “none of us are the finished article”.

Chris Stevens from Devaweb/IgniteJingles/TM hosted a session on radio imaging. He says Imaging producers are unsung heroes of radio stations around the world and should be given more time to try new things.

If you look at the most played artist of any radio station, it’s probably your imaging producer rather than the music you make. They’re the people who build your station’s brand, increase recognisability and most importantly, increase listenership.

Denzil Lacey (Audio Producer and Sound Designer for SiriusXM) is responsible for some of SiriusXM’s 150 channels. He says radio stations are like personalities; consistency, mood, tone and feel are key. You can give audio brands personality by using both artist-driven content and imaging; ad-libs and outtakes are fair game when it comes to creating authentic sounding brands.

Kenny Southavy (Audio Producer and Sound Designer for ReelWorld Europe) says that radio imaging is the glue that holds your station together. During his career, he’s seen a huge shift in the way imaging is made and the way listeners consume sound. Imaging is becoming more musical and tracks with long introductions provide the perfect opportunity to provide context, establish a brand, and convey other messages.

Their top tips for radio imaging is to be relatable, surprise the listener, but be concise. Experimentation is important too; by playing around, you may unlock features of audio programs you may not be familiar with, or try external tools like vocoders. Not everything will hit the mark and go on-air straight away says Chris, but space to try things out and some basic musical training is vital.

Nik Goodman from Bounce hosted a session called 30 groundbreaking ideas in 45 minutes where big names from across radio shared their ideas.

Thomas Korponay-Pfeifer (Programme Director of Radio 88.6) shared five commandments for Programme Directors:

  1. The first is to always remember station values and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Faith in your people is important too; let your team do their job, trust your talent and do not micromanage.
  3. A lack of failure indicates a lack of trying, Thomas argues in his third commandment.
  4. Fourth, respect demands of CEOs but keep them away from your team.
  5. Finally, dream big. Look for ‘whys’ not ‘why nots’.

Caroline Jamet (Executive Director, Radio, Audio, for the French Services of CBC/Radio-Canada) is also gave five simple tips:

  1. Create a strong audio destination, perhaps like Canadia’s Ohdio app which also enables data collection.
  2. Adopt an exclusivity distribution strategy for original podcasts. Start rolling out your own podcasts on your own platforms before rolling them out elsewhere.
  3. Enhance discoverability by updating your web presences regularly.
  4. Create an enriched audiobook collection using archive material and music excerpts. Radio-Canada has 150 available on their platform; biographies of great Canadian singers prove popular for them.
  5. Drive audiobook engagement with co-listening.

Kenny Southavy (Audio Producer & Sound Designer at ReelWorld Europe) creates imaging. His tips are straightforward:

  1. Be comfortable with change. ReelWorld is responsible for the BBC’s Local Radio rebrand; originally serious and orchestral, it’s now a lot more lighthearted.
  2. With AI, it’s possible to upcycle audio. Borrow and steal from other places to create awesome sound.
  3. Seek inspiration where your audience is. TikTok is a source of inspiration for content creation; go where they are.
  4. Outdo streaming services in terms of value. Radio’s uniquely placed to provide context and content and ease transitions between items.
  5. Be concise.

Julia Schutz (MD & PD of ANTENNE NRW) says:

  1. Take calculated risks. Her station is 202 days old today and launching was a calculated risk. Don’t be so afraid of losing that you never try to win.
  2. Look after rising stars, not just stale but money-making talent.
  3. Pain and passion belong to the radio business. In our daily battles, it’s important to know what you’re fighting for. Find a purpose!
  4. Be proud but never satisfied. Don’t get complacent. As soon as one goal is complete, get to the next.
  5. You need the right people in your corner. Julia reckons those people are a mentor, a lawyer, and an accountant.

Andrew Davies (Digital and Engagement Editor at ABC) is talking about podcast tips to engage and keep an audience:

  1. Metadata is really underrated. Descriptions and titles are the number one thing people look at when trying a podcast.
  2. Lead with something interesting when you create those descriptive items. Hook early.
  3. If you’re doing a comedy podcast, make those items funny. If you’re making a kids podcast, use language that speaks to kids. Style and tone need to match audio.
  4. One Shot Rule. Each podcast should have a single call to action.
  5. Reviews don’t count in Apple Podcasts. They’re not factored into Apple’s charts. Why bother with it as a call to action?

Aled Haydn Jones (Head of Radio 1 at BBC) says:

  1. Finding new talent is essential to stay relevant with young people. You can’t leave people on-air; they grow old with their age group.
  2. When looking for talent, cast the net wide. Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got.
  3. Similarly, recruit a diverse range of presenters. People like to hear and see themselves reflected within the radio they listen to.
  4. You are not your audience. You love radio. You love music. You make radio you’re passionate about but not always what your audience wants.
  5. Keep developing. Always move onwards.

Finally, what happens when radio broadcasters in your country put their competitive differences aside and join together to share the same message? George Butler, Lucy Barrett and Mark Cunning discuss how powerful station collaboration can be.

Mark Cunning, CEO & Content Director at iRadio in Ireland, knows how powerful radio is – coming back to the Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility”. When it comes to ‘responsibility’ it is important to put differences aside and create a cause which stations can collaborate on, regardless of previous rivalry.

This cause needs to be emotive, work across the country and work across all ages. In Ireland, radios came together to commemorate ‘Sound of 16’ which was the first ever broadcast from the 1916 Rising. They also worked collaboratively on Swim Ireland during drowning prevention week.

George Butler and Lucy Barrett from Radiocentre talked about uniting 500 commercial, BBC and community stations for ‘Mental Health Minute’. A minute of audio to spread a message about Mental Health to the whole nation. They made history with the first time these stations had ever come together before. They also got the British Royal family involved – no easy feat.

“It was a moment of radio history but we couldn’t have imagined the power we had. Particularly with the pandemic around the corner,” said George.

Since 2018, the Mental Health Minute, has become an annual event – including the 2020 minute which fell in the pandemic. The reaction people have had to the message of ‘you’re not alone’ George described as ‘overwhelming’. Realistically it’s more than a minute, there is a lot of production around the minute as well as social media, presenters talk around the minute and it is covered on the news – it’s resonance was astounding for people. It trended worldwide and helped many people across the UK.

5 tips to creating something similar – find a unifying theme, get partners on board, find universal appeal and embrace collaboration.

As George notes: “When we pull together as an industry we are pretty unstoppable”.

Special thanks to Radioday Europe staff and volunteers for these session updates. RadioToday coverage by Stuart Clarkson and Roy Martin, with contributions from Dom Chambers, Paul Chantler and Will Jackson.

For even more updates, visit the Radiodays Europe website with coverage of every event, and listen to the Media Podcast with Matt Deegan, talking to Helen Thomas (Director BBC Radio 2) and Stephanie Hirst (Presenter HITS Radio) who share their conference takeaways – what secrets go into great radio? And how will the industry compete with TikTok and Youtube when it comes to presenter talent?