Visual Radio - how we could be doing this better

By Art Grainger
Posted 3 April 2015, 9.32am edt

I wonder..........

I'm currently going through the whole of my music collection, which gets played on a variety of devices these days. With the exception of CD players, almost all the other devices I use to play music are capable of providing a nice wee picture or fancy pattern. For much of the time the picture is an album cover, which is displayed whenever I'm playing music through my TV, my I-pod, my smartphone ... even my wi-fi radios when I tell them to stream music from one of my other music sources on my wi-fi network.

Then there are streamers like Spotify, plus the occasional radio station app that also shows nice pictures of the artist/album cover for each song that plays.

To make my music collection a bit more fitting for the 21st century, as well as upgrading the audio of all of my CD's to .WAV (which will take quite some time), then copying the files and down-converting them to 320K MP3 etc (for smaller hard-drives and flashcards), I am also adding ID3 tags of album or single covers. Most single covers of the past 40-odd years are available on the internet, for which I am glad because it would be a shame to lose some of the fine work of art there has been over the years.

This has got me thinking. Whilst some radio stations already do show cover art/artist profile pictures for each track they play, whenever you listen via their apps or occasionally when TuneIn is in the mood to show you, most stations still do not.

My wi-fi and DAB radio has RadioDNS inlcuded, which gives me slideshows on some stations, the occasional artist profile pic on one station and station logos for the rest.

Are radio stations being clever enough?

ID3 tags allow pictures to be added to music files .... or any audio file. We may be just around the corner from car stereos showing pictures, hi-fi systems (if they still exist) showing pictures, radio tuners doing the same, as well as TV's, smartphones, tablets and so on. It therefore makes sense, to me, that radio stations could go the whole hog and provide a kind of graphic for every type of audio item that goes out on air.

So - whenever you listen to the radio on your new hi-tech device, the radio station will not just play the audio but each song could have its own single/album cover on display, each commercial could show the company logo and an attention grabbing piece of text, a pic of the presenter is shown whenever they talk (which should be easy as voice-tracking becomes the norm), other images relating to news items, traffic news, audio packages, celebrity interviews and so on.

I believe that this could be done right now, rather than in some distant future.


4 years, 9 months ago

Radio with pictures, Art. Whatever will they come up with next?

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