Friday, 22 June 2018

How Much Should we Care about Commercial Radio Localness? - the latest Ofcom Consultation


It seems so long since we got our teeth into a good broadcasting consultation. They used to happen so often in the good old days. Things ain’t what they used to be.

Fuelled by some new ‘consumer research’, OFCOM today released proposals on amending the guidelines on commercial radio localness. They haven’t been touched since 2010.

Amendments are floated on:

• the ‘approved areas’ within which programmes are considered to be ‘locally-made’;
• the minimum number of locally-made hours each station should provide, and when these programmes should be scheduled.

At present, the regulator is valiantly trying to square some very old legislation with the fast-changing world of radio.  Whilst many of us recall with huge affection the good old days of single stations in cities with their own jingles, logos and delicious eccentricities - sensible people in Government, at the regulator, commercial radio companies and the BBC are looking forward to a new world. A world where audio can be delivered from anywhere to anywhere with increasing ease.

Many worry that this may mean a world where British content is submerged and a new generation alight on audio offerings from elsewhere.  We all need to ensure that our radio and audio industry continues to produce the very best content and delivers it in the right way. It needs not to be hampered by regulations which require us to behave as we used to in monochrome days.

THE FUTURE

Ofcom is now proposing to allow local commercial radio stations greater flexibility in “how and where they produce their programmes, while ensuring that listeners’ expectations for high quality local news and other content continue to be met”.

It also proposes to make the ‘approved areas’, within which a programme can considered to be ‘locally-made’, bigger to match, as closely as possible, the ITV regions. Even I could colour in the map now with my crayons.

Ofcom wisely says it recognises the increasing competition for both listeners and advertisers – from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, as well as from online stations – and lesser regulated DAB stations. It observes the shift from local commercial radio stations to national commercial radio, which has grown in share in ten years by over seven percentage points to 17.5%. They note too, of course, that over half of all radio listening is now to digital services.

In the consultation, Ofcom wades though all its old research and its responses to Government consultations which concluded that it was more important that presenters were entertaining and/or well-informed (which are you?!) rather than simply living round the corner.

The Government consulted in February 2017 on proposals to replace Ofcom’s current duty “to secure a range and choice of radio services” with a new duty “to secure the provision of news and other core information such as traffic and travel information and weather, and to give all local commercial radio stations the flexibility to produce and broadcast locally-relevant content without requirements on where that local content is made or broadcast from”.  

In other words, lets not try to regulate the range of programming, that's now there without question. But let's focus on news and local information given that is increasingly at threat across media, so we'll help you provide it more economically.

Last December, the Government confirmed it would bring forward legislation prior to 2022.
Of course, until this happens, we are stuck with dog-eared old laws – hence Ofcom’s consultation now to ensure that we have “an effective and appropriate set of localness guidance”, which suggests it worries what we have now is ineffective and inappropriate.

More research was commissioned by Ofcom earlier this year, amongst commercial radio listeners.


When asked the ‘main reason’ for localness, 20% cited 'news headlines', with only 5% saying ‘studios in the area’.

AMOUNT OF LOCALLY ORIGINATED PROGRAMMING

In the light of this data, Ofcom suggests that stations should be able, if they so wish, to provide a lesser amount of locally-made programming, while still being required to provide appropriate amounts of local news and other local material.

The new rules suggest just one locally-made programme each weekday for stations providing local news throughout the day (but two locally-made programmes per day for stations which chose a reduced local news service). So, from 7 hours a day it is down to 3 (or from 10 to 6).

They suggest that given the local appetite is no greater at breakfast than anywhere else, that any local programme requirement should not have to be delivered at breakfast time. This would enable, as they point out, stations to have a ‘national name’ over the Rice Krispies.

They also assert that we should stop worrying about weekends, as most listeners listen during the week anyway and addicts get their fix of localness then. Similarly, bank holidays (where most stations had been assuming some flexibility in any case!) .

LOCATION

What about this single, lonely locally made programme? Where must it be broadcast from? 

Ofcom recognises not only that listeners don’t appear to be over-bothered, but also that technology now allows for most things to be easily done from anywhere.

At present, local programmes have to be made from within the relevant one of the 31 large approved areas.  The proposal is to reduce that 31 further to just the dozen blobs of colour here.

This would suggest that a radio group can share premises and programmes more readily than at present.  It is worth pointing out that several radio groups have not chosen to take advantage of all the freedoms already in place.

As before, where 'regional' stations focus on providing an extension of music choice and broadcast nationally on DAB, they are freed from the local requirements.  This is what liberated LBC to lead Britain’s conversation, as it genuinely, has rather than just London’s. Kiss is on the list, as indeed is Heart (or at least the regional and London Hearts), although again, it is up to operators to determine how they wish to operate.

WHAT IS LOCALNESS?

Ofcom stresses that “listeners in the area served by an individual licensed service should still expect a locally-relevant service even if most of the programmes are not actually provided from their local area (and/or are shared with stations serving other licensed areas)"

So, a Birmingham station sharing programmes with Nottingham would still have to sound local to Birmingham even though it might be based in and shared with Nottingham. Of course, it can also choose to stay as it is.

In defining this thing called localness, Ofcom has dusted off its old Wordperfect document  and suggested updates to its guidelines. It continues to recognise that localness is not a determining characteristic of some stations but where it is, the way it is defined would change a little.

This sentence: “the locally-made programmes should include local material across the stated minimum hours as a whole, although local material need not be included in each of those individual hours if this is not appropriate” would be replaced by “any station whose character of service requires it to provide a local service should include, as well as the level of local news specified in its Format, sufficient other local material consistent with these guidelines to deliver the required character of service”.

What is this local material? The definition stays the same. Ofcom loves a ‘feel for the area’, distinctiveness, relevance and a feeling of ownership. It suggests that whilst smiling promotional teams, ads, and big prize contests shared with neighbouring stations might be jolly good fun, it isn’t localness.

Similarly, the definition of local news remains the same. You can hub its provision, but you need “direct and accountable editorial responsibility” for every licensed area and “appropriate provision of professional journalistic cover, based within the licence area" (or now larger approved local area).  Bulletins can be pre-recorded, but only  just before transmission. Showbiz and sport isn’t often to be included at the expense of proper news, although they admit some folk quite like it.

HOW WILL IT SOUND?

This is but a consultation, and the outcomes will likely shift, if only so the regulator proves it has listened.  

Some listeners will write in and say it’s appalling. Many big groups will write in and say it’s good news. Radiocentre is happy. Most people wont bother to read it. There is clearly a sense of direction though in Government and regulatory circles.

These proposals would allow more stations to move and share premises with neighbours in their ITV-ish region. That’s sensible. Ofcom says, in today’s world, why should investment go in bricks and mortar when it could go into other things. Mind you, if my station is now 60 miles away, it might as well be anywhere. Is there actually any point in rules at all? Or just maybe, at this proposed sensible level, does this continue to ensure that some media, at least, is made in places other than London – and places where we can afford to live. I go along with that.

More programme sharing can be permitted – so some local stations which have to originate distinct streams can amalgamate them, if they choose. But Ofcom suggests it’s going to be hot on the new combined stream still sounding local enough to each of the constituent areas – and the news bulletins really being ‘local’. You can feel how the importance of news  is being heightened, in a world where local press is closing, sources are diminishing  and ‘fake news’ is worrying.

Those dedicated presenters preparing their witty ad libs for today’s local optout show on a large radio brand will now be thinking "will I still have a job?". And the poor person who's turned up conscientiously every Sunday for five years to present a lonely local show on a networked station will hope no-one remembers she's still doing it.  That’s awful and many of us have been through it more than once. Even this period of consultative uncertainty is a real headache, for you, your boss and your family. It is maybe some consolation, however, that there have never been so many opportunities in national radio ever in British history -and the audio world beyond radio has never been so exciting.

This will create more of an opportunity to create powerful commercial radio brands. Ones we should have been able to create decades ago. Our national commercial brands will, be knocking on the door of the scale of BBC national networks. More commercial radio presenters will be nationally known.

Local radio as we know it in many areas, save for news and a sprinkling of other content, will become no more in some areas.  In others, for accidents of history, ownership, geography – or just pure passion – it will remain. The folk of Mansfield still have the sort of local radio that larger places don’t.  Is that right or wrong?  If you could launch a dedicated FM station for a City in today’s world, could it be viable? What is the role of community radio now, not least with the proposed better transmission arrangements? Or is the future online for local 'radio stations', as 5G and cheap data approaches or dedicated local podcasts? 

And - as for BBC local radio - more than ever, it is critical that the new Director, English Regions ensures the stations are fit for purpose. There is much to be done.

I think I shall do a search on social media later for #nailinthecoffin as some commentators observe that commercial radio has now passed away after many attempts on its life. I’d suggest 36m people are rather enjoying it - 5m more than the end of the last century.  These proposals – and the creation of ever more powerful national DAB services will likely fuel those audiences further. And it is the listeners who should lead our thinking. What do they really want? Some will miss a show they've grown to love. Let's make sure they love another.

In a global, competitive entertainment world, we have to ensure that the entertainment on British radio is the very best - provided by the best-qualified, the most creative and distributed effectively. 



I work with radio stations around the world in a range of areas. From programme strategy to research, key brand work and marketing strategy. From presenter training to compliance, consultation responses and licensing. Talk to me via www.davidlloydradio.com


Grab my book 'Radio Moments': 50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories. Available in paperback or ebook.






Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers.  Great for newcomers - and real food for thought if you've been doing it years. 
Available in paperback or ebook.




Need a conference speaker or help with strategic projects - or coaching or broadcast training? If we get on OK, I'd love to work with you.









Wednesday, 30 May 2018

What Can We Learn From the Bishop?

Watching the Royal wedding from the top deck of a cruise ship surrounded by enthusiastic Americans was a sight I shall not easily forget. Those sunny pictures of a chocolate-box Britain will likely do next year’s tourism receipts no harm.

And for us broadcasters, maybe there was a lesson at this Windsor gig from Bishop Michael Curry - regardless of our thoughts on the wedding, or on faith.

Here was a 65 year old preacher from Chicago - playing with the very vocabulary we have at our disposal each day, providing a memorable performance which is still being talked about weeks afterwards.  That’s a goal for us all.



What did he do?

He surprised. We’d had the wedding functionals, just like we have weather and travel in radio-land, and they’d played a few familiar songs.  But he made us look up. It wasn't quite what we expected.

The whole thing had been well-teased. We knew he was an American preacher - so it promised to be a tad different from Camilla's nuptials. But we didn't know quite what lay in store. We knew enough but not too much. And we wondered.  Curiosity is a hugely powerful thing.

He used the word 'you'. This was not some abstract lesson - it was about each one of us. "If you don't believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to centre around you and your beloved." We nodded. "Let me tell you something". 

He asked questions. "Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your heads if you did…”

He’d prepared. Probably  a little better than some major presenters do for key links. He knew his theme well and he’d thought it through. He didn't wait for the last organ note and then wander into the pulpit hoping for inspiration.  He brought notes on the ecclesiastical iPad - but didn't always rely on them. He felt the mood.

His vocabulary was clear and descriptive. We could picture what he spoke about.
There was word repetition in this message - anaphora.  Great speakers rely on it.  19 uses of the word 'power' - and 68 of love.There's power in love. There's power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There's power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There's power in love to show us the way to live. But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we're all here."

His delivery was beautifully-paced – from a  sombre stroll to a real gallop - and pauses for effect. Wonderful Radio 4 newsreader Peter Donaldson used to say pause "until it hurts".  Too many of us don't pause and give the listener time to think - and to respond.

There was humour.  Light and shade. Reverentially irreverent. "Two young people fell in love - and and we all showed up".  Like most radio, it wasn't laugh-out-loud, but a sprinkling of wry smiles. In many radio formats, amidst the most serious of topics, there are smiles to be had - and in today's world, we need them more then ever. 

He was himself. Yes he was in an unfamiliar place – and he adapted what he said for the audience, yet this was still him. He was authentic. There was passion - and we believed it. His boss had not written his words for him - although He had certainly influenced.

He played his voice like an instrument. Sometimes warm, sometimes verging on threatening. Sometimes a whisper close-up - and sometimes a bellow from afar.  On occasions, he smiled as he spoke. He caressed every word. When he said 'love' – it sounded like love – and 'fire' sounded positively inflammatory. 'Power' was powerful.

He was likeable. We don’t know him personally, but in the course of this short speech, we warmed to him.

He is experienced. The Bishop was ordained in 1978.  I suspect he is better at holding his audience now than he was back then. Simon Mayo is better now than when he was a callow youth on Radio Nottingham. Do we cast aside our best broadcasters too freely?

He knew his audience. This was Harry and Meghan’s gig – and the couple's contemporaries connected more with a mention of Instagram than the Daily Star.  He spoke our language; he knew we said car not automobile.

What would his PD have said? Maybe a bit long? Could he have shaved a couple of minutes off and achieved just as much if not more? Probably. Which just proves than even the very best of us can be even better.





Grab my book 'Radio Moments'50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories.







Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers.  Great for newcomers - and food for thought if you've been doing it years.




Need a conference speaker or help with strategic projects - or coaching or broadcast training? If we get on OK, I'd love to work with you.










Monday, 14 May 2018

Is Big Really Beautiful - A Hyper Local Future?


Big is beautiful. Unless you’re a BBC local radio station.

The larger the area, the lower the reach %. It’s not the fault of the folk who work at the larger stations – they likely work just as hard - and are also in more competitive cities with radio aplenty – and, in London, with head on commercial competition for the talk ears.


Are there other reasons? Is there something about larger communities which means they feel increasingly less ‘local’? 

BBC local radio in London, the West Midlands and Manchester has always faced a tough challenge; and the BBC has tried a number of approaches in those areas, with both format solutions (GMR/GLR) and opt-out services, for example, 'Heartlands' in East Birmingham from BBC WM.

Elsewhere, there has been a mix of approaches over the years. The BBC has amalgamated some services, only to choose to split them off again later. Others have remained amalgamated after previous rounds of budget cuts - and others retain some degree of sub-localisation.

It’s interesting looking at the context of other media. Around the country as daily press titles in significant cities fall, some pretty decent online hyper-local titles rise, seemingly well supported by local readers and businesses. With no printing overheads, they can serve small communities where a local press title would be unsustainable.

Whilst youngsters adore their city living, families may choose to start their families in the suburbs. This is ‘where they live’, not the big city down the road. Their high street is the one where they push the pram in then morning and meet their friends later.  Town centres which once pulled down the shutters at five o' clock now have bijoux restaurants with blackboards outside and thriving pubs which stay open late – at which time the revellers can stagger home.  At a time when arguably cities are becoming more homogeneous, is there a new sense of pride in smaller communities?

It’s apparent that smaller areas can love their radio stations. The station is a real symbol of pride.

Despite the excellent performances of top notch commercial and BBC stations in my home patch of Nottinghamshire, Mansfield FM, the commercial station serving a town some 15 miles from Nottingham’s centre, punches a great 28% reach. 

BBC local radio’s 40 stations use 93 FM transmitters. Whilst there is some split frequency use, there is the potential for more. Putting to one side any relevant OFCOM operating framework considerations, could there be merit in the BBC implementing further localisation, at a time when commercial radio is taking steps in exactly the opposite direction for quite understandable reasons? Yes, it's been done before in some areas, but times change. And how well was it done?

Could BBC local stations originate significant additional hyper-local programming for proud distinct areas, where they naturally exist, opting in and out of the mother ship for parts of the day or week?

As my old colleague Keri Jones illustrated to me, this happens overseas. The tiny ABC South West Western Australia generates a breakfast show for the small, remote town of Bunbury. When they are not doing their own thing, they relay ABC South Coast in Albany which offers programming for a slightly larger, but still rural, part of W Australia. When ABC South Coast isn’t creating local shows, they relay ABC Radio Perth from the state capital of Western Australia. ABC Radio Perth provides local content until 10pm, then it’s national local radio programming overnight.

So, in dinky little Bunbury, the programming hierarchy is: Bunbury – Albany South Coast – Perth – National.

This is eminently deliverable from existing BBC local premises and infrastructure, and I believe existing resource. With DAB simulcasts too, the ‘home’ service could continue to be broadcast across the whole area, if desired. Or – the 128 kbps multiplex DAB capacity could even be split too – providing more than one service at once, albeit across the whole patch.

And, as BBC local radio listeners start to listen to more content 'on-demand', will there be further opportunities to create and disseminate hyper-local audio which is not even broadcast?

At a time when we can personalise all our media choices, should radio be offering something a little more tailored? Would radio which sets its stall out to 'do local' do better if it were more local? 

Find the broadcaster who really knows and loves their subsidiary town and get them on-air to their neighbours.

And now the news where you are. Or maybe not quite where you are - but a big city down the road.





Grab my book 'Radio Moments'50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories.







Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers.  Great for newcomers - and food for thought if you've been doing it years.




Need a conference speaker or help with strategic projects - or coaching or broadcast training? If we get on OK, I'd love to work with you.













Friday, 4 May 2018

When the Polls Close

Election broadcasting is a real sport. An endurance test for the presenters, commentators and contributors.  Pace yourself. When to sleep. What to eat.

It's also a fine British tradition - and what presenter on-air does not feel in some way they are an echo of a bespectacled towering broadcasting figure from yesteryear as they begin their nocturnal marathon. There's certainly a temptation to indulge in the role as one self-importantly choreographs the future of the nation personally.

Given the rich tradition, I wanted to highlight LBC's excellent, fresh offering last night with Iain Dale and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. There was something in its good-humoured tone and approach which was an immaculate example of quality contemporary talk radio. 

Rather than General Election-lite, it was an enjoyable, informed grown-up, human conversation. Pointless and repetitive political sparring was replaced by honest, insightful dialogue amongst contributors who sometimes agreed. When they differed, it felt more like hearing the adult way politicians tend to debate on Portillo's sofa on This Week rather than simply witnessing a politician being roasted - which can feel as uncomfortable as watching your parents argue. 

Whilst there are times on media when hard challenge is utterly justified, it can often simply be annoyingly gratuitous. Journalists looking for a fight. No thanks. I'd rather you helped me understand something better. Great radio brings value.

Is there much to gain by journalists simply haranguing candidates who might not have fared  as well as they'd expected. Behind each victory or failure, there's a human being. LBC's approach reflected today's complex politics which can no longer be reduced to political parties, left and right. Life is much more complex than that. 

Local elections are also just that, and LBC went to great pains to reflect that these elections were not just about London. That's a real achievement for a station which was once simply a London offering. Again, that chimes with the national mood - at last there appears an awareness that life exists outside London, and LBC reflects that naturally. 

There were also a lot of women's voices, not least Jacqui's own. All well-cast.  Elections have traditionally meant endless mumbling from sweaty dull bald blokes in suits, and it was so refreshing to hear a different tone, energy level and perspective. This was addictive listening - and engaging within seconds. This was the party you wanted to be at. Great informed company chatting away as events unfolded, as if from a Gogglebox settee. Really human radio - doing what radio does best - alongside a judicious spine of reliable reporting.

Casting double acts is as challenging as finding the right marital partner, yet Jacqui and Iain are made for each other. Neat, well-timed interventions from each. The pair fell into each other's arms on the Sky News papers review - and that endures on their excellent  'For the Many' podcast.  It's interesting mulling over whether beginning the relationship on the podcast alone would have been sufficient to build the chemistry to radio's standards. It likely would - and that's an interesting thought for radio programmers hungry for the next great double act but no radio day-part free to air and hone it. 

Politics has changed.  It is right that political broadcasting should too.

One reason I felt duty-bound to highlight this programme is because few radio critics will likely trouble so to do. 

I despair of  how commercial radio content is so often ignored by many such individuals.  It would be unkind to suggest they just rifle through the Radio Times to find something easy to write about, but it sometimes appears that way.  They seem oblivious to the fact that 65% of UK adults catch some commercial radio every week; and that almost 80% of adults do not listen to Radio 4 even weekly. 

When I dared to express such a view on Twitter, one respondent questioned what on earth can one write about a sector which comprises mostly music radio. Well, if you cannot think of anything to write about LBC's array of innovative content; the way in which local stations respond to crisis; music policies; the new digital radio offerings; platform consumption; audience battles; key brand changes; or breakfast talent moves, you really should get another job. 




Grab my book 'Radio Moments'50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories.







Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers.  Great for newcomers - and food for thought if you've been doing it years.




Need a conference speaker or help with strategic projects - or coaching or broadcast training? If we get on OK, I'd love to work with you.











Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Disaster at the Lectern


When a dear radio colleague lost his life, I was invited to speak at a fitting post-funeral celebration. His wonderful brother suggested I might present a tribute of the individual’s radio career, spiced with vintage audio, video and poignant pics.

The presentation was lovingly assembled in good time, but I harboured some doubts about the multi-media facilities at the beautiful old church.

A battered old PC, with cables dangling across the aisle to an antique projector, was charged with the task of coping with a jumbo PowerPoint presentation. What’s more, the startled tartan-skirted church assistant seated at the AV trestle table failed to fill me with confidence as she stared at the PC desktop with the look of someone who’s frightened of a mouse.

My painfully-chosen words of tribute flowed - before gently pausing to introduce a clip of dear John in full flow. A poignant moment. Hearing his distinctive voice resonating through this building in the village he loved.

Or it would have been, had the audio worked.

I improvised around its absence. A much easier task over a music bed up to the news on a radio show than it is in mid-funeral. And then the second item failed too.

All turned out well in the end, as we adjourned and tried again, and I hope we gave dear John a send off which would have made him smile more than was anticipated.

But we should forgive the Church. I rather hope they have more important things on Earth to worry about than my Clipart* I guess.

We don’t.

The multimedia presentations we give always have a critical goal. Every time we trouble to stand up in front of a few folk, we are there to help them to think, feel or do something. Otherwise we wouldn’t be there.

How often have you sat writhing on a hard seat at a radio conference, witnessing a nervous speaker fiddling with the laptop on the podium long after their welcome applause has ebbed away.

Rather than be moved by their great opening line, we witness an embarrassed cough and a reference to those bloody ‘gremlins’. Ahem. ‘A few technical issues here.”. Nope. Not technical issues, it’s just that somebody along the chain didn’t plan well enough. And then when we see the presentation, it's full of blurred badly-cropped pics and over-wordy slides which the presenter insists on reading to us.

As for the audio. There’s a pregnant pause and a desperate second attempt at cueing it in. Or it’s the wrong bit. Or it’s distorted. Or you can’t hear it. Or it’s played to an audience of 100 on your laptop’s tinny 3” speaker. Or they can't find it on the desktop, visible to all, where it sits next to bobappraisal.pdf.

There are exceptions. Next Radio is always a fast-moving, impressive and well-disciplined conference. Roger’s done good things with the RadioFestival; and RadioDays Europe addresses its international challenges well. But too many really don’t go as well as they easily could.

It’s the same in smaller internal meetings too, whether a staff meeting or a presentation to a few clients. The intended enhancement that presumably our presentation is designed to provide is diminished by ten minutes staring at the backside of the implicity-blamed chap from IT.

How much UK productivity is at risk because someone forgot to think through their performance. Or bring an HDMI lead.

Why is it that the one thing that’s rarely right in radio-related presentations is the audio. 

One of my roles currently is as chairman of Notts TV, based in the impressive Confetti Media premises of Nottingham Trent Uni. Arriving early and preparing a room alone for a presentation one morning, I looked up to see a smiling angel enter with a straggly beard. ‘I’ve come to check you have all you need in this room. Does everything work. Do you need any help plugging in?’. It transpired that this is policy in this immaculate organisation. Meeting rooms booked for presentations get this courtesy call from IT. Whilst I’ve been lucky to have had some brilliant IT support since they invented it, in my 35 years of working in media, I have never experienced quite this degree of proactivity. 

A few minutes of planning before a presentation and arriving that little bit earlier to make sure it works as you imagine is probably the difference between people leaving the room feeling as you wished - and not. It should not be a challenge to get it right. One meeting can change the course of a business.

Or, of course, live without  the props. That can work perfectly well too, if you are ready to shine.

Hey - next time we’re in a badly planned session, maybe we should just boo and walk out. 

*Just a gag. I never use Clipart. Certainly not at funerals.





Grab my book 'Radio Moments'50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories.







Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers.  Great for newcomers - and food for thought if you've been doing it years.




Need a conference speaker or help with strategic projects - or coaching or broadcast training? If we get on OK, I'd love to work with you.


















How Much Should we Care about Commercial Radio Localness? - the latest Ofcom Consultation

It seems so long since we got our teeth into a good broadcasting consultation. They used to happen so often in the good old days. Things ...