Monday, June 08, 2009

Internet Radio: The future ?

Full credit should go to Iain Dale and his Labour blogger co-host Hopi Sen for an excellent radio programme covering the Euro election results last evening.

In contrast to "state media" (the Beeb and to some extent Sky) they actually proved very efficient at getting results out as quickly and in as much relevant detail as possible. Operating on a shoe string via PlayRadioUK, they managed a good mix of informative commentary, opinion, real time results and interviews with politicians and members of the public alike. Compared to the clunky BBC with Dimblebore et al lining up a group of overpaid and predictable talking heads, Iain Dale proved light footed and agile in his approach.

There were gently amateurish moments such as when Tommy Boyd (of Children's TV fame when I was a boy !), the owner of PlayRadioUK offered everyone a coffee. There was also the odd minor technical glitch.

However overall these only added to the charm of an otherwise professional operation where the knowledge of and interest in politics put the overpaid BBC to shame.

This was a real eye opener to me. I had rather dismissed the idea of internet radio programmes by individual bloggers or activists before. However I think Iain Dale's coverage goes to show that the technology now exists to effectively broadcast to people over the internet. Clearly the content has to be there and people have to want to listen. However for someone with an established following like Iain Dale, there is a great opportunity there. He seemed to attract a number of listeners from around the world from Australia to Costa Rica. It would be interesting to get some figures on listenership. Iain Dale said between 1,000 and 2,000 but I feel for an event like the Euro Elections that is probably a modest estimate. If the quality of last night's programme is repeated numbers of listeners can only rise.

Well done Iain for a wonderful show. I particularly liked the phone in by the Hamiltons !

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