At 2gether08 next Wednesday (3rd July 08) I’ve agreed to drive a session about radio and the rise in what I’m calling ‘ambulatory audio’.
I currently work quite a lot in spoken word radio and I've witnessed a dramatic rise in audience demand for podcasts and time-shifted Listen Again services over the last couple of years. I believe there's a whole lot more to be done, though, to allow people to take spoken-word radio for a walk or a ride – hence, ambulatory audio.
Specifically I’m interested in talking to people about how radio broadcasters might work with audio-centric audiences to produce more timely, context-sensitive, responsive and portable news & entertainment services.
Context sensitive audio - stuff that’s designed to play in specific places or at specific times - is a powerful way of both telling stories and putting people in touch with their local surroundings. Capturing and broadcasting audience voices, converting text into audio, and associating audio outputs with other trusted information sources: these are all effective, low-cost and lightweight ways of empowering, engaging and enlightening the general public.
Ultimately, I’m hoping to come away from 2gether08 with a clearer idea of what a truly interactive spoken-word radio station might look and sound like. So if you have any ideas on that score, please come and join me.
HOW I'LL BE WORKING
Since I’m getting more and more antipathetic towards the traditional idea of one person standing up and talking, I thought I’d try something a bit different in terms of presenting my thoughts at this event.
So next Wednesday, I’m going to broadcast my talk using an iTripped ipod and publish my frequency on my T-shirt. As long as you stick fairly close to me you should be able to pick up my talk at any time.
I’ll bring a couple of small portable radios along for people who don’t have a FM radio player on their phone. And I’ll use Twitter regularly throughout the day to tell you where I am.
I’ll also make the talk available as a podcast here on my blog, and allow people to copy an mp3 file from my phone via Bluetooth.
There’s also a number of links on my delicious account to sites and services that I think might help us talk up a few specific ideas for new audio-based interactive applications. Or perhaps we could map out how audiences might like to get to grips with portable audio - and even participate in the making of interactive radio content.
Any examples of podcasting or location-based audio that people can bring to the party will be very welcome.
Spoken word audio BTW is also a very quick and easy way of generating participatory media spaces - with some people writing stuff down and others reading it out for replaying on iPods and phones and everybody sharing the result. It could even be a way of creating site specific listening posts and virtual 'dead letter offices' for people to record audio and leave it for others to pick up later.
Perhaps we could play with this idea at 2gether a little bit too.