Watch: personalising broadcast radio with musicBan

By James Cridland for
Posted 17 September 2015, 2.12pm edt

Next Radio

Earlier this week was Next Radio, a radio conference that I’ve run with Matt Deegan for the past five years. As ever, there were a large amount of radio ideas and information, from many different countries. The ever-present march of personalisation appeared to be quite a trend going through the day.

Personalisation, of course, for live radio is quite difficult. But it isn’t impossible.

Dominik Born from TPC in Switzerland outlined a clever thing called musicBan - a proof of concept for radio stations who want to offer some of the type of personalisation that you expect from other services - notably, the skip button.

Listening to live, simulcast music radio, when you hear an artist you don’t like, you can simply skip it. Instead, the service pulls a track from YouTube instead, and opts back into the live broadcast once the song has finished playing.

Additionally, if you want to ban an artist from ever appearing (I vote Nickelback for this honour), then you can do just that, too. As soon as the software detects that Nickelback is playing - presumably from the playout system information - it switches away from the live audio and plays something better. (Which in the case of Nickelback is almost every other piece of music ever recorded).

musicBan is a clever idea - since it’s taking the personalisation that you expect from the internet, and enabling that for radio.

The station gets statistics, of course; on which songs are being skipped more than others. It’s a way of getting useful feedback from audiences; though one would hope you’d never play a song a listener would want to ban anyway.

It probably won’t instantly make broadcast radio compete with music jukeboxes like Pandora, but as a way of adding some rudimentary personalisation, it’s certainly food for thought.

Here's his entire session, from Next Radio earlier this week. It's only six minutes!

This was first published in AllAccess's Radio Futurescope column, where I write a weekly column for radio people.

James Cridland — James runs, and is 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. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.

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