Radio Innovations

The BBC are currently running two innovative radio projects.

The first is a Ten Hour Takeover of Radio 1, where the listeners get to pick every single track played from 10am to 8pm today (12th April). Tracks can be selected via text message, e-mail or phoning in. The SMS requested are being handled by software developed by Dan Hill and others at BBCi - with 'fuzzy matching' so they can see what's being most requested. The broadcast has been fun - they've had a really random selection pulled out from their music archive (which they're claiming is the biggest in the world) - everything from the Ghostbusters to Dolly Parton. It's nice to hear such a random selection of tracks (almost turning into student radio), but I do wonder what degree of 'control' the listeners are really in. The DJs still seem to be hand-picking tracks out from the thousands sent in. I like the way that the messages are making it onto the Freeview text, but it would be good if there was some kind of clever reports on the texts outputted to their website. Then perhaps you'd get that additional feedback loop where you could see what other people were requesting and add your vote...

Meanwhile, BBC Essex are broadcasting pirate radio for a week, recreating the days of Radio Caroline. Ultraversity (who are running the UK's first online degree for people in full time employment) are handling the text messages and webcams, with a webpage that displays text messages as they come in. The broadcast is apparently going well, and managing to capture some of the original atmosphere: they've already had an uplink failure and are playing mostly scratched vinyl...