What we'd like this year!
General thoughtsOur general hopes for this year are for success in all developments which promise genuine extra variety in radio and draw in a larger audience. In the latter frame, we'd particularly like to see more children's radio since this to us is the route to future audiences who want more than a noise backdrop whilst they're driving or wandering around doing something else. And who knows, such programmes might even pull in some of the adults as well judging from the occasional enthusiastic reaction to some radio of youngsters.
But first a technological development about to hit
the US in the form of satellite radio. This seems to us to fulfill
our hopes of offering variety since it's not going to be cluttered
with advertisements. It may also draw in a new audience since the
technical quality ought to be pristine and some of the services offered,
for the in-car audience at least, will be new.
Which takes us to the question of digital radio.
We just cannot see, when computer prices have dropped so dramatically,
why digital receivers need to be anywhere near the price they are.
At the moment it may not make sense to go digital if you have a
good aerial and receiver set up on analogue radio but if the prices
drop to anywhere near the cost of a good analogue receiver then
the equation changes.
In our view, community radio is likely to create new audiences, indeed audiences who might well listento radio at times when they'd normally watch television instead. And if they do, they may well stick with radio in general for longer.
The big broadcasters have the financial clout and technical resources to outperform any community station in terms of anything except the content of the programmes and the contact with the audience. If they have the imagination and are prepared to work at their product, we really don't see that they have much to fear.
Except maybe having to keep the number of advertisements down. And that to us can't necessarily be all bad to anyone but the accountants since it would put the pressure on for more technological developments such as digital (there we go again) which can accommodate more channels and thus give more choice.
A happy 2001 to all -- and please comment on the above. For that matter, if you can put the time aside, we'd like to introduce some "Guest comment" pages this year to stimulate more feedback and dialogue.
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