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Radio is all a twitter

July 2, 2009

Radio’s top people at the Radio Academy Festival Nottingham this week, all suited and well-behaved, are actually twittering away, having the debate online that should be setting the conference floor alight.

That is why the Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP had such an easy ride, and only Ofcom got an ear-bashing in a mostly tame conference.

Over three hundred people enrolled for the 2009 radfest. They were the studio audience for BBC Radio Four’s Media Show with Steve Hewlett (listen again on i-Player, hear them coughing!).

But it was the top brass who weren’t allowed to go to Nottingham who attracted the most attention on Twitter. Global’s management pulled all the company’s speakers and guest appearances from the festival because ‘they couldn’t speak with one voice as it’s such a new brand’.

So although it’s been months since GCap Media merged with Chrysalis and re-branded dozens of local stations as Heart FM they still, apparently, cannot be trusted to agree with each other in public.

Prison radio

This prompted the bitchy tweet: ‘It’s easier to get day-release from jail than it is from Global’. A reference to Sony Gold Award-winning broadcaster and convicted prisoner ‘Tis,’ who was let out from HMP Highpoint to travel to Nottingham and collect a gong for the show he presented on Electric Radio Brixton earlier in his sentence.

Prison Radio isn’t the only new kid on the block and delegates enjoyed a feast of community radio from the Nottingham area as well as a session proving that ‘student radio should make the rest of the industry jealous.’ The student/community feast would taste of Pot Noodle, rice n peas, curry and err.. whatever LGBT people like to eat and again you can hear it on the Radio Four Media Show. It’s good to taste of something different.

In the multi-platform future of course there might be a danger that radio will cease to exist. Luckily for us in the Journalism Department at the University of Westminster, though, it’s the journos who will survive. The living proof is Greg Burke at Jack FM in Oxford. On his radio station only the news is live and local – the rest of the presenters voice-track their links from as far away as Australia! He proudly played delegates his coverage of Michael Jackson’s death when the station became Jacko FM for a day, playing nothing but the dead icon’s hits. Listeners loved it or hated it – but they listened and responded.

That’s the spirit that will keep radio news going, even in the worst recession…

Jane Whyatt

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