Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Can local radio succeed online?

Posted in Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on November 13, 2008

Well, ask Andrew Harrison at the Radio Centre in this week’s Radio Magazine, not really.

He claims commercial radio is another victim of the BBC’s local TV plans, along with the online aspirations of local newspapers.

Well certainly in the 100m online contest, local commercial radio is at the back of the pack. Many sites have old clunky websites which haven’t embraced web 2.0.  Content is rarely updated, I’ve often found the code is full of holes. Most of all, they don’t give their listeners a reason to go there.

Compare that to their BBC radio rivals, and now their newspaper cohorts and it’s a tadge shameful.

But maybe that doesn’t have to be the way.

Over at Viking FM this week, we trialled the station’s first live webcast. We arranged for a local financial expert to come into the station and answer questions from listeners about the credit crunch and what it means for them.

You can see the results by clicking here.

It was a lot more popular than we’d imagined, thanks chiefly to heavy plugging over the airwaves. But it shows, I think, people do have an appetite for this sort of content.

There just needs to be more dedication to doing it.

This is a barrel

Posted in Broadcasting and Media, News and that by Adam Westbrook on October 9, 2008

Take a look at this barrel:

Imagine if you will, Mr and Mrs John D Taxpayer bent over this barrell. With their pants hoicked around their angles, getting a right old bumming from every high street bank, many local councils, and now it seems even some police forces.

In these turbulent times, the “age of Robert Peston“, what else could I be talking about, other than yours and my favourite cereal, the Credit Crunch.

Or rather, the discovery that while the times were good, and the credit was only starting to crunch (and snap and crackle and pop) banks and public bodies were willfully investing our cash in all sorts of bollocks.

Now I don’t know what it was about the Icelandic. Maybe the Chief Constable of Humberside Police really has a thing for Bjork and local councillors go crazy for Sigur Ros, but they’ve all invested a lot of cash. Our cash. And they’ve probably lost it.

This isn’t the best thing to realise the day after we all forked out £50bn for the banks.

So it’s pretty grim. But I’m not going to write about why it’s grim and all that.  Instead:covering the story today some things surprised me. First off, the lack of outrage from the public. We went out and voxed some shoppers in Grimsby today, who ranged from nonchalent to mildly peeved.

But what’s got me most cross is the behaviour of these public bodies. My job is to cover events in the Humberside area, and both North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council it turned out had investments totalling £12m in Landsbanki.

North Lincolnshire offered a statement totalling a few lines, but I was told the people I needed to speak to “were in meetings all day”. Very convenient for them. North-east Lincolnshire found one spokesperson.

I caught the end of Channel 4 News today, as Jon Snow said “We’ve tried contacting every high street bank involved in the bailout, but no-one was available for interview.”

I’m sorry?!

For £50bn I expect the bosses of each high street bank to be available to skip naked through an apiary covered in maple syrup. (Ahh, the things you wish you could say to press officers).

The fact is, not only have banks been spending customers money wildly, so have the public bodies with a responsiblity to the people who pay their wages. Yet they show little or no desire to engage the people whose money they’ve spent and who are bailing them out. That’s called rude in my book.

I hope from this whole mess, at least one thing emerges: a watchdog like attitude among the general public. If we don’t watch these cretins more closely, we’ll be over that barrel again.