Will Radio die?

Discuss all things relating to the busy London Pirate Radio scene.
Albert H
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Albert H » Mon May 20, 2019 1:54 pm

Unfortunately, the audio on Medium Wave is limited to little more than telephone bandwidth. Done right, it can sound reasonable, but done badly, it's horrible. Unfortunately, most of the engineers who knew how to do it properly have retired, so the quality of MW broadcasts is generally abysmal. Even Caroline (who should know how to do it right) sound awful on 648 kHz, and are inaudible just a couple of miles from their site at night because of the interference from a Slovenian station and a Spanish station both on the same frequency, but with much more power. They really should stop wasting electricity at night!

Some of the Dutch LPAM stations sound really good. There's one not far from my demesne called "United" on 1224kHz. They sound pretty good for medium wave. They're low power, but they cover quite a big area in the daytime.
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thewoodstarr
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by thewoodstarr » Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:32 am

Well we certainly discussed that, nice to see no one was slagging each other off, that's a change for this site. Respect to all, we will keep it going.

Albert H
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Albert H » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:56 am

There are all sorts of broadcast opportunities, some of which we haven't thought of yet! The restrictions on stations ownership and operations placed by the Authorities make life really difficult in the UK. Broadcasting is now owned almost entirely by two or three huge corporations and the little local commercial stations get squeezed out of the game by the financial restrictions placed on them by OFCOM (it's deliberately set up that way to stop the little local stations being successful) and most of them get bought up by the "big boys".

Friends of mine sweated blood getting a truly independent medium scale FM station on the air. They jumped through all the technical hoops, they demonstrated their financial fitness, hired staff, built a studio complex, rented the lines from BT and got on the air. They were going along well for the first year, with a reasonable return on investment, and then the spurious complaints started. A campaign to discredit the station and its owners was orchestrated by another, major radio group. As far as OFCOM were concerned, these were legitimate complaints about content, about advertising time and rates, and about the station getting involved in local politics (which it didn't!).

After almost two years of this campaign, the owners gave up - they couldn't take the hassle any more - and they sold out to Global.... the people who had carried out the campaign against them.

This isn't unique - dirty tricks of various sorts have ensured that there's a monopoly situation, with only a handful of real independent stations left.

This homogenation of radio is what will kill it off. How many "Heart" repeaters can you hear where you are?

There are now rumours of the government wanting to licence internet stations too. The Labour Party announced that this was "one of their aims" since they're really scared of free speech!

My internet stations are all streamed from servers in the USA (the first amendment makes them pretty safe) or from other non-EU countries with good connectivity. I can feed these from UK studios over VPNs and there's nothing that the Authorities can do about it.

The future of independent broadcasting will be IP based since there's a major lack of RF bandwidth available in most places for broadcasting - the major corporations and the BBC make sure of that!
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famefm
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by famefm » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:23 am

I can hear the heart crap on 8 different frequencies where I live

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Ironman » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:59 am

Hi Albert. I would love to know the names of the internet stations you run as I reckon I may have the same musical taste as you. I'm really surprised you haven't mentioned this before on this forum, or maybe you have. Anyway, look forward to hearing them.

thewoodstarr
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by thewoodstarr » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:01 am

Albert H wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:57 pm
Unfortunately, there are two predominant owners of radio stations in the UK - the BBC and the commercial concerns. The commercial radio stations are now largely owned by one of three conglomerates, and most stations have no local content any more (which was always a term of the licence conditions).

The BBC has been taken over by the rabid left and since they became an "affirmative action" employer, they now just fill their positions with the "appropriate" people, rather than people who can actually do the jobs. The BBC got rid of all engineering functions about 25 years ago, and got Siemens and other contractors to carry out all their maintenance and installations. This led to a significant drop in standards: The BBC were once the world's premier broadcaster, today they're a sad joke.

The automated and voice-tracked dross that now passes for commercial radio in this country is another sick joke. Capital Gold started the rot - a Sony CD jukebox with 600 tracks on it provided their record library. If you heard The Beatles "Help" at 9.15 on Monday morning, you'd hear it at 9.35 on Tuesday, 9.55 on Wednesday and so on. They've enlarged their library a little since the early days, but the automated clones that present the pap are dreadful. The whole mess - Capital, Heart, Galaxy and the rest - are unlistenable.

There are a few small local stations trying to fight against the rising tide of crap, but money, licence rules and OFCOM are against them succeeding. They're limited in their possible income - making it impossible to pay staff properly - so they just end up as a volunteer-driven Hospital Radio clone.....

The UK pirates are a waste of time these days - playing a few records to their pals, with no real audience. Most have little or no idea of how to assemble a radio programme that people will want to hear, and they're really just an irrelevant nuisance.

Over here in the Netherlands, we have a fairly liberal licencing system for LPAM - there are literally hundreds of little AM stations all over the country. There are a few FM pirates too - many of them really worth hearing. Some of the Eastern pirates run kilowatts, but their operations are intermittent. There are a lot of shortwave stations too, catering to a large "anorak" audience, and achieving almost worldwide coverage.

However - all that said - as the internet comes to mobile phones and the service providers realise that they can't charge by data quantity, ever more people will begin to listen online.
Albert, you don't half go on mate, but respect to you for taking the time.............

thewoodstarr
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by thewoodstarr » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:21 am

Albert H wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 1:59 am
Pure94: Centreforce have three listeners and a dog. Most of the DAB stations are the same. The BBC claimed that "51% of listening is now digital" which turned out to be nonsense when OFCOM actually surveyed listeners throughout the UK. About 15% of listeners still listen exclusively to AM services FFS!
I disagree with the BBC, no way are 51% listening to DAB, it just does not work in a Car, its Digital, so its on or off, and mostly its off. I have heard the BBC want`s to pull out of terrestrial broadcasting all together? The BBC never were keen on DAB. It's not the way forward. What is, 5G and my friend the Terminator! Have a fantastic day....

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Albert H » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:48 am

Digital services won't replace off-air broadcasting until the mobile communications companies stop charging for amounts of data conveyed. It actually costs the buggers virtually nothing to transmit data.
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Lordunderground » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:22 am

If you look at Funky SX community on 103.7 Southend, what Albert says is true, regarding community stations licensed on frequencies that restrict catchment. BBC Essex transmits on 103.5 with much more power wiping them out in West or North Essex totally.

Its not that much of loss however... one of the founders is a speed garage advocate. :mrgreen:

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Ironman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:36 am

Albert. Once again I ask you to provide details of the internet stations you supposedly run, otherwise I suspect it is yet another one of your fabricated stories. Also contrary to what you think, I do know who you are and while I respect you're technical knowledge you have always been known as somewhat of a Walter Mitty character. Next time you are supposedly driving through Edmonton north London listening to Radio Nova / RTL Rock Radio on either 87.6 / 87.9 (which is impossible because I should know as I run them and they are only small low powered stations that absolutely do not reach out that far) PM me and we can meet up. I would love to have a little chat with you again. So again, just provide evidence of the so called internet stations you run or sadly I will have to tell a few home truth's about you. Don't like to get nasty with people but I just can't tolerate liars.

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by MC Spanner » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:50 pm

thewoodstarr wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:21 am
I disagree with the BBC, no way are 51% listening to DAB, it just does not work in a Car, its Digital, so its on or off, and mostly its off. I have heard the BBC want`s to pull out of terrestrial broadcasting all together? The BBC never were keen on DAB. It's not the way forward. What is, 5G and my friend the Terminator! Have a fantastic day....
I guess it depends where they've plonked the goalposts - for example, if I listen to DAB once a week in the car, does that drop me in the 51%. By the way Woody I'm now on my 2nd car which came with DAB built in. Both had whips in the middle of the roof. I mostly listen to LBC and I can't even remember the last time the signal was "off" and that's nationally, not just in London - and yes I'm including the tunnels! I've listened to stations on the trial multiplexes though and they do drop out occasionally in some areas around west London. Remember bubbling mud? I've not heard that in years!

I'm a little surprised at myself to be honest, back in the late 90's / early 00's I used to slag off DAB based mainly on the argument of obsolete technology and other distribution methods overtaking it. I still hold this view but the older I get, I've become more and more alienated by the mainstream stations due to their music policy and I actually NEED DAB because it's the only way I can listen to LBC etc in the car, especially away from London. I know quite a few others in my demographic who agree.

So, will radio die? Sadly I agree with Albert here, already the kids dont listen to broadcast radio ("what's a radio") they're getting introduced to new music through social media (I don't have the time nor lack of concern about my privacy to subscribe to this model) so it's not just radio dying, it's "old media" (TV, radio, print media including music magazines, which I for one used to read in order to find out what's upcoming and worth listening to).

I'm not convinced about "internet radio" either to be honest. Yes, there are stations out there, including former pirates, who abandoned traditional broadcast and moved online presumably so that they could build a presence early doors but some have been at it for 20 years and still have no listeners, it's not much more than a hobby. Even those with financial clout have come and gone. The trend for "media on demand" has been pushing people towards the podcast model which is fair enough if you've a message but lacks the immediate contact of live broadcast media which for me, used to be the fun part of doing radio.

Speaking of the podcast model, even this mechanism as "broadcast media" probably won't stand the test of time for the likes of you and I, with various self-appointed "authorities" creeping legislation to clamp down on anyone fancying a go.

So in conclusion - I think there may only be a need for live broadcast where there's a heavy emphasis on news/sport/current affairs content. Everything else (e.g. music programming) will be purely on-demand and will most likely be so tightly controlled and expensive that you and I won't get a look in. Cellular networks will eventually converge with / replace more traditional broadcast systems to deliver these services, and everything will move online as soon as people naturally stop using the more traditional means.

I still hold onto the glimmer of hope that radio broadcasting as we currently understand it might continue as some form of a hobby albeit with an audience of like-minded listeners, much like shortwave or the current round of London pirates just broadcasting to their mates. The way I see it, there's less and less scope for freedom of speech to a mass audience and future generations will accept that as the norm. Hasta la vista, Woody.

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by MC Spanner » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:51 pm

Ironman wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:36 am
I do know who you are
Clearly not as a simple google would answer your question about which station it is!!

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by sinus trouble » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:04 pm

Ive got my transmitters tucked safely away, Ready for the collapse of society! :lol:
I am as stupid as I look! :|

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by drumandbasshead010 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:08 am

As one of the 'kids', in my opinion live internet radio will still be reaching only very few people over the next 10-20 years. If the FM dial is ever killed off, we'll all just continue as we are: Spotify and other such streaming services. I don't think podcasting is going anywhere for a while, nor is internet radio, in fact - it's just that I feel there'll always only be a certain few who'll switch to using their computer to listen to live broadcasts.

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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by peterogers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:59 pm

The smart speaker is changing the game

Ok google play

wazza
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by wazza » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:25 am

Nothing smart about having google listening to your conversations!

Albert H
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Re: Will Radio die?

Post by Albert H » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:34 am

You want intelligent programming in a podcast? Give Radio Free Wohlman a listen at http://radiofreewohlman.blogspot.com/ He was my boss many years ago in California, and he knows a lot about music programming.
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"Because it doesn't know the words!"
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