Sound and vision blog

22 September 2016

The Future of Radio - a special British Library podcast

Where are the current trends in radio and online audio leading to? What will radio be, and what might it sound (and look) like in its 2022 centenary year and beyond? Some leading figures in UK radio today, with very different perspectives, came together at the invitation of the British Library, for a discussion on the future of radio. These are issues of importance not only to the industry, but to the Library which is planning to increase the amount of radio that it archives.

Find out what they had to say about radio today and tomorrow in this special podcast:

While one strand of our Save our Sounds programme is concerned with preservation of our existing sound collections - the sounds of the past - other strands  are addressing the sounds of today and tomorrow. One of these has the objective of a more extensive, representative record of radio broadcasting around the UK.

Future of Radio session. Photo by Paul Wilson

Recording the Future of Radio podcast. L/R Femi Adeyemi, Matt Deegan, Helen Boaden, Miranda Sawyer, Ruth Barnes.

Incredibly, despite the fact that recording, storing and sharing of digital audio has never been easier or cheaper, over 90% of the UK's radio output today, from as many as 700 licensed stations, is not being permanently archived and may never become available for study or research unless action is taken. Next year, the Library therefore plans to implement the first stages of a pilot project aimed at assembling the equipment, technology and processes which should finally allow us to record radio output selectively from all sectors of the radio industry and from all corners of the UK.

But what to record, and why? Today the radio industry is once again in a period of transition, with a host of new digital audio platforms and playback devices, and some very different approaches to programming and live broadcasting emerging.

Allanah Chance and Nicky Birch at the Future of Radio session. Photo by Paul Wilson
Producers Allanah Chance (L) and Nicky Birch (R). Nicky is working with the British Library on its study into the future of radio.

Our podcast launches a debate on where radio is going, and how we keep it. The participants are leading podcaster and broadcaster Ruth Barnes as chair, and a panel comprising Matt Deegan (Creative Director of Folder Media and co-founder of the Next Radio conference), Helen Boaden (Director of BBC Radio), Femi Adeyemi (founder of Internet station NTS) and journalist and broadcaster Miranda Sawyer. 

The podcast will be followed by a series of blog posts presenting individual specialist opinions on where radio is going, published to coincide with the Radio Festival, which is taking place again at the British Library on 26 September.

Please listen, and tell us what you think about radio's future - and archiving that future - through the Comment link at the head or end of this post.


although this discussion did briefly touch on Prison radio - one of the most interesting areas of radio which does relate directly to people is of course the whole network of Community Radio stations in the UK - from a social - historical point of view some of these programmes are far more interesting than any of the large commercial broadcasts churning out hours of music and "witty banter" - Serious considration should be given to capturing some of this content

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.