Live Podcasts at the Edinburgh Fringe

Patrice, Mark, Steve and Laura!

Patrice, Mark, Steve and Laura!

Last weekend our lovely Assistant Producer Laura popped off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to showcase some of the podcasts we’d been making for Here’s what she had to say….

Possibly my favourite place in the world, I was buzzing for haggis, comedy, theatre, and of course doing live recordings of our best podcasts!

The first – Mark Dolan’s VIP Lounge sees comedian, broadcaster, and all round LOVELY guy Mark Dolan interview the most eclectic, fascinating, and… kinda strange people that might live next door to you. In our case, VIP stands for very interesting person. To explain it a little better – for our Edinburgh show (in front of a 100 strong, super giggly audience) Mark met a man who injects himself with SNAKE VENOM (he’s 49, looks about 30, and his blood is now going to be used to make anti-venom!), and a lady who eats… well.. she eats brick. Apparently she preferred the sandier variety of the two brick pieces I had handmade for her earlier that week.

The following day, we did a live Q&A with Dom Joly of Trigger Happy fame. We had sent him on a wild and wacky travel podcast around the USA exploring some of the stranger American tourist activities. We showed the best photos and videos on a big screen (including some of him alligator wrestling. As you do. And high as a kite on a Colorado cannabis tour) as he talked us through what he got up to. Uncensored and hilarious in true Dom Joly fashion.

It was a wonderful weekend, everyone laughed a LOT, and I also got my pork roll with apple sauce and lots and lots of haggis.

Keep checking back here or on Twitter for more updates on Mark Dolan’s VIP Lounge and Dom Joly’s Big American Vacation to be released exclusively on later this year!

AP Laura goes to RadioDays Europe

RadioDays is the foremost international radio conference.  It’s held annually over two days in different European cities and this year the RadioDays ‘Next Gen’ programme gave 6 young radio professionals the chance to experience Paris 2016 first hand, share ideas, and develop their future careers.

To be a ‘Next Gen’ you had to make a 60 second video.  We brainstormed what might make a winner and…. after munching lots of croissants between (and during!) takes…. came up with this!

The very next week I was packed off to Paris to attend lectures on topics from podcasting, to breakfast show secrets, and to ‘programmatic advertising’ (who knew!) The ‘Next Gen’ got to hobnob with the very best radio producers, engineers, and presenters from around the world – from Oz to Berlin –  at the fancy gala on the second night. I had some amazing conversations, and was able to relay some of it at our very own ‘Next Gen - What Caught My Eye’ lecture on the last day (which we had a pretty decent turn out to too!)

A fantastic couple of days; I came back to London with a brain and notepad super full, and LOTS to report to my team! Vive la radio!

Digital Audio - The Headphone Generation

In the last fortnight, two completely separate conferences - Radiodays Europe in Milan and Advertising Week Europe in London - have spent a serious amount of time talking about Digital Audio Advertising. To those of us who spent endless hours in 2004/2005 wondering whether this podcasting thing was ever going to take off, this is a huge relief.

Finally, this digital audio dimension is in a position to be properly monetised. It has the scale (17 millions people listen to digital audio every week in the UK) and thanks to innovations like DAX it has the relevant technology to make it easier and more accessible to advertisers. The potential is there to target listeners by age, gender, location etc and serve up audiences in ways that have never been previously possible through one-to-many broadcast radio.

So what does this mean for creative?

Thankfully, other people have done all the technical thinking behind this exciting evolution of the space, but for creative audio producers like us there are hugely exciting possibilities. RWS of Germany have carried out a fascinating study into "The Headphone Generation" - the audience who listen to audio through smartphones, regardless of the source of that audio - and what comes across most strongly is the increased intimacy of the user experience.

We've always known that radio listening is a one-to-one activity, but that's even more true when you've gone to the effort to download specific content to hear alone on your headphones.

It means that, no matter how smart the metrics are that allow you to target a digital audio listener, if a lazy agency then serves them up the same low-rent "TV without the pictures" radio ad they've produced for commercial radio they'll do far more harm than good. Creatives have to understand the context of their message more than ever, and allow the listener insight to drive higher quality, more personalised ads.

Get it right, and you'll create perfect matches between brands and content - See Mailchimp and "Serial" - that reflect the enjoyment and engagement of the listening experience onto the advertiser. Get it wrong, and the audience will feel you've invaded their space and pooed in their ears.

Working with the BBC, we've been doing this for years - building solus messages in a ultra-sensitive context where tonal fit is everything. It's about witty, intellegent writing, smart sound design, understanding the related content, and believing that your audience are listening intently rather than needing to be shouted at across the hairdresser's.

Now it's time to take that respect and love of audio into the digital space and make it work to the both the listener's and advertiser's advantage, with a new premium genre of commercial audio advertising.

Can you tell we're excited? Is it obvious?

Eastenders - Scary Radio

One of the joys of producing work for the BBC is that we get to work on really huge national campaigns that everyone hears about.

One of the other joys is that just occassionally you get the time and the freedom to really experiment.

It's rare that those things happen at the same time though, and so the Eastenders "Who Killed Lucy" campaign has been really wonderful to work on.

With the TV treatments in Easter 2014 and February 2015 being so completely visual, we had carte blanche to interpret the concepts in audio. For many people that's a nightmare, but when you think in sound all the time it's perfect.

Our tools were a great track (Don't Waste My Time - Krept & Konan), some instantly recognisable voices, and a list of creepy death and murder-related words. Plus we had airtime on the UK's biggest radio stations.

The three parts of the campaign are obviously sonically and conceptually related, but without being repetitive.

And we got to use Ian's caff as our office for the day. Bonus.

Eastenders Trails - April 2014 - BiancaIanDenise

Eastenders Trails - February 2015 - Version 1Version 2