Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Question: Is Steam Radio a Corpse, Zombie or Phoenix?

Answer: None of the above. Radio lives.

Despite the best efforts of Buggles back in the day, rumours of the death of Radio were – as Mark Twain famously remarked on reading his own obituary – '...very much exaggerated'.

Okay, for a few years Radio was a sickly shadow of her past glory days. She subsisted in niche backwaters in those early post-wireless times.

Today, though, thanks to the happy convergence of technologies, the old girl is positively zinging with health.

In fact dear old Radio has had a complete body transplant. She's been botoxed, shaped-up and slimmed down so much that her own daddy, Mr Marconi, would hardly recognise her. She's New Radio.

And thanks to New Radio, the radio star, too, is alive and well. You want proof? Tune in to Radio Verulam, a lively young station entertaining the populace of West Hertfordshire, UK. 'But that's just a little community radio station', the traditionalists might cry.

Yeah. So? It is a 'little' community station. Wanna make something of it?

Er... Apologies for that slight outburst of attitude, but I'm rather protective of my community and its services, you see. And please don't underestimate the power and reach of this - or any other - smaller radio station. Okay?

Sure, there was a time not so very long ago when the 'real professional broadcasters' treated community radio with a condescending smile and figurative pat on the head before sending it out to play by. Not any more.

With the advent of Internet distribution the audience of a good community station is no longer limited by the power of its transmitters. The listen-while-doing-other-things appeal of traditional audio broadcast remains but with the added quality of digital transmission and the ubiquitous reach of the Internet.

Today, the World is a small radio station's potential audience. Given dedicated staff and talented, imaginative, broadcasters with professional aspirations and high standards – Radio Verulam has these qualities – and given time and the right content, I believe the World will listen.

There's one possible downside. Popular Radio Verulam presenter Danny Smith is to interview me on his excellent Drivetime Show, at 5:30 pm BST on Tuesday 13th October. Can Danny and Radio survive this ultimate challenge?

Please, please, don't let anybody ever sing: 'Oscar killed the radio star…'