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Is Radio Becoming a Video Star?

Radio is using video in some interesting ways these days.

When it launched nearly three decades ago, MTV announced itself with The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Now, in a multimedia world where radio is increasingly likely to be tuned with a device that has a screen, radio is finding its own ways to make use of video.

The June international edition of Radio World includes a feature section looking at what some stations are doing with video and how they’re doing it, but there are a lot of other exciting/interesting/important instances of radio using video.

National Public Radio has been putting together a fantastic series of “Tiny Desk Concerts” in which artists visiting Washington, D.C., stop by to record a performance at Bob Boilen’s desk. The concerts are streamed via the NPR Web site and many are also offered for downloading as video podcasts.

Here are just a smattering of the performances since the series launched in April 2008:

Absolute Radio didn’t run live video from this year’s Isle of Wight festival, instead the station put together photo slideshows of various performers’ sets together with audio recorded live. All summer long, the station is providing live music online and over the air, including festival performances, concerts and in-studio performances

  • Paolo Nutini live at Isle of Wight Festival
  • Simple Minds live at Isle of Wight Festival
  • The Proclaimers Zoo Session
  • Antony and the Johnsons live at the Royal Albert Hall

Of course, even music radio is about more than just music. Local news and information is important to listeners and thus important to stations, too. Global Radio’s Trent FM in Nottinghamshire, England, gained national attention across Great Britain earlier this month when it was passed video of Nottingham police punching and using a Taser on a man they are attempting to arrest as he lays in the street.

The footage was posted to the station Web site and to its YouTube news channel, and the story was picked up by both Sky News and the BBC; both national television broadcasters credited Trent FM for the video.