Radio and Telly? That'd be Telio!
[Editor's note: While our coverage on the Blog of the radio visualisation trials to date have focused almost exclusively on Radio 4 the truth is that our colleagues at Radio 1 have been putting in the hours too. Here's how their listeners have responded.]
'Visualising Radio' is a clunky term.
Someone messaged the station this week saying "shouldn't this trial be called a mix of 'Radio' and 'Telly' that would be 'Telio'". 'Visualising Radio' isn't very sexy and when I hear Chris Moyles or Aled say it on the radio it feels horribly corporate.
But knowing what to call it, what we should call, it is interesting. The listener above felt the connection to telly - others understand radio with webcams, some are transfixed with the flow of texts that appear on the screen and their relationship with the studio.
Truth is I don't know what to call it. It's not really telly - mainly because we are not asking you directly to stare at the screen all the time, we are not constantly using the tricks of TV to keep you close. This is because everyone is busy doing radio. It is weird how addictive it is - this isn't just me feeling this - our audience are constantly telling us on the free messaging service that they are late for work/school because they are gripped by DJ's working.
It's funny as the same thing happened when we did ScottCam - voyeurism took a hold! This is probably the second most exciting thing we've realised at Radio 1 not the first.
The first most exciting thing is how engaged listeners are, how being able to see people, message them, then see your message pop up is simply brilliant. You know your message is arriving in front of your favourite DJ because you can see them reading them on the screen. This is our number 1 WIN.
We are putting as much effort into shoving as many texts back out to our listeners as we are worrying about our video. To be honest I'm struggling to see why we've never done this on such a scale before.
So we get a lot of text from our listener base - I mean a lot - on a good month 500,000 texts. We've seen during this trial that around half of the messages that come in are from SMS messages and half from our visual console. It's an impressive conversion rate - and I have worked out - (really roughly with some initial data) that people are 60 times more likely to interact via the free messaging - we are getting roughly just under double the amount of texts than normal.
So, to recap, Visualising Radio has been brilliant so far because:
1. Engagement with our audience is fantastic.
2. Voyeurism is good and fun and can be done with out detracting from the radio.
3. It's the old favourite - track information.
Any ideas on what we should call a console of this type in the future are truly welcome.
Ben Chapman is Interactive Editor, Audio and Music Interactive.