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Upload Radio launches - now anyone can be on the radio

By James Cridland for media.info
Posted 23 April 2017, 7.00pm edt

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Podcasting and online radio is all very well - but, as anyone will tell you, the numbers are small. More than that - it’s hard to get people to find your show, too. It’s rather easier to get people to listen to you if you’re on the radio.

If you want to play music, it gets harder still. You can’t play music in podcasts (well, full music tracks that anyone’s heard of), so the only real way to play an hour’s worth of music that you really like is to go and find a job on a proper radio station.

Until now.

A new radio station, Upload Radio, has launched in the UK which lets anyone be on the radio. Absolutely anyone. All you need to do is to record your show and upload it to this radio station, and you’re on the air - once you buy a slot.

In Gloucestershire, Wrexham/Chester/Liverpool, and Surrey/South London, you can find Upload Radio on your DAB radio receiver - three different versions, with three different sets of programmes. It’s also on Radioplayer, which means it’s just a couple of clicks away from stations like BBC Radio 2 and Capital. Since 44% of the UK tunes into DAB every week, and a further 18% to online radio, this is a big potential audience.

Additionally, the station has 30-day catch-up, so once a programme has been broadcast on-air, it’s available on Radioplayer on-demand for a month afterwards. Again, that means you’re right next to shows from the BBC and Bauer Media, and that’s probably not a bad place to be.

Now, I used to be a radio presenter, using the name “James Andrews”. It’s been many years since I was on the air, but this was too good an opportunity to miss, so I dusted off an old promotional photo, found some music that probably breaks all the rules of good music programming, and recorded a programme.

The site - which I used in beta mode - is clear and well-built. Programmers need to produce two 29-minute chunks of audio, and one 30-second promo which gets played the previous hour. Once you upload the show, you then add a tracklisting - partially for music reporting, partially to ensure that the now-playing information works on the DAB screen - and then pick a slot from the station’s schedule. Launch prices are £20 for an hour.

The programme is then moderated by one of the team at Upload Radio - they listen to ensure I’m not breaking any Ofcom rules. Moderation took only a few hours, and I got a nice note from the person who listened to my programme saying they enjoyed the music.

I managed to get Monday 6.00pm (which, depending when you read this, could be tonight!) on all three of the Upload Radio stations. Here’s the show page - sorry about the photo. Because it’s early days, I might be on a few more times, too, if you’re a real glutton for punishment and you like a slightly odd mix of Chinese pop and a cover version of The Beatles.

It’s obviously early days to see what kind of programming you might get on Upload Radio. It’s great for now-retired radio presenters, but also could be excellent for business programmes, for podcasters or radio programmers who want a larger audience, or even religious programming.

Buy at least one slot every thirty days, and you’ll be a permanent presence on Radioplayer, too, which also means you could do music programmes and appear on apps, in cars and on desktop in a very easy way without having to sign separate PRS and PPL music licences.

Public access radio - unencumbered by the tiny transmitters and politics of British community radio - could well mean increased choice and quality of programmes available for listeners to DAB and on-demand on Radioplayer.

As a disclosure, I was gifted the slot by Upload Radio. The station is run by Folder Media: Folder’s Matt Deegan and I run the Next Radio conference.

More information

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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