Case study: BBC 6 Music Live

Filmed around the staging and broadcasting of 6 Music Live at Maida Vale with Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music video producer Guy Oldfield outlines the way radio is changing in an online world where listeners are increasingly demanding more visual entertainment and interactivity.

After working as an online producer for the BBC World Service, Guy moved into video production, joining Radio 5 live where he project managed interactive coverage of 5 live festivals and outside broadcasts. He now manages all video output for Radio 2 and 6 Music and has worked with the likes of Blur, Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones.

As boundaries shift between radio and its audiences and as audiences engage with other media while they listen, broadcasters are increasingly looking to new territory to keep apace with this change. Guy outlines how technology can be employed to enhance radio broadcasting in an online space.

"Online really is the platform where all content should live. It’s an amazing environment in which to produce new types of broadcasting." – Guy Oldfield

“6 Music is a relatively small network,” Guy explains, “and rather than spread our resource thinly we wanted to get the network to burn brightly on as many platforms as possible.”

Visualisation was a key element of this, enhancing the broadcast for both audio and visual platforms. Guy used robotic cameras to keep a hands-off approach to filming and to make sure the radio programme isn’t disturbed. He also looked at how the studio is designed, moving from its previous “grotty charm” to a slicker space that works for radio and vision.

The show lives online, allowing the team to add more interactive content alongside the live broadcast. This can be anything from images and text to live tweets from the audience, all of which Lauren can draw on in her conversation with the audience as she interacts with what she sees on screen.

Guy sees the talent of the presenter as essential in bridging the gap between radio and online and making this kind of simulcast production work. Both producer and presenter agree that this changes the dynamic in the studio and offers exciting opportunities to create a new kind of radio.

“We’re not expecting Lauren to be the television presenter for a radio show,” Guy explains. “She has just naturally taken on the opportunity to share the things that she likes with an audience that happens to be watching or listening.”