Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Next Radio Looks at What’s New

The unveiling of a prototype hybrid car radio by UK Radioplayer was among the highlights of this year’s conference

Michael Hill, managing director of UK Radioplayer uses a
cake — rather than pie — chart to show the radio experience
in his demo of prototype hybrid car radio.

LONDON — At the recent Next Radio conference, Radioplayer’s MD, Michael Hill, quoted Twitter’s VP of Design saying “a prototype is worth a thousand meetings,” and proudly showed an audience a small black box device, ready to be fitted behind a vehicle dashboard.

With the inventive use of other props, Hill revealed his prototype, which scans DAB, DAB+, FM and Internet sources, automatically selecting the best platform to deliver any station. If a signal is lost, it promises to switch seamlessly to the same station on another platform.

The adaptor is controlled by a dedicated app on the driver’s smartphone, which positioned safely in a dashboard cradle, acts as the radio interface. A listener can swipe anywhere on the screen to move through their preset stations. A voice identifies each station, to minimize distraction. A tap anywhere on the screen stops and restarts the radio.

Hill also announced that Radioplayer Worldwide has signed an agreement with Radioplayer Deutschland, a partnership between 18 of Germany’s commercial broadcasters, to launch Radioplayer technology in Germany next year.

Ben Fawkes is senior audio content manager at SoundCloud. There were more than 20 other speakers at this year’s Next Radio conference, which was held in the historic Faraday Room of London’s Royal Institute in September. Not all came from the radio industry, with Tom Loosemore from the United Kingdom Government Digital Service speaking about lessons from the website. “We’re not here to create a better user experience, we’re here to change government,” he said, advising that to change any institution, it was necessary to change the language they use.

Some themes still emerged across the varied short talks, with several speakers covering shareable audio and how to make content go viral. Ben Fawkes from SoundCloud talked about fully integrating audio with social media, making it simple to share, and ensuring — as always — that one’s content is different, engaging and entertaining.

Anya Grundmann from NPR Music, of the United States, showed the NPR One app, described as “public radio made personal,” which is designed so it doesn’t have to be looked at by the user. NPR now hosts popular “Tiny Desk” concerts, which create unique intimate moments with musicians rather than major studio sessions, to deliver a key point of difference.

Will Jackson reports on the industry for Radio World from London.