Radio 1 and Live Lounge

Finally I've finished my esaay for Media Convergence. It's due in tomorrow along with my hcj test being tomorrow. Stressful times.

Radio 1 introduced live lounge in 2006. The live lounge is a collection of live tracks recorded by an artist live from the studio. It gives upcoming popular artists and bands a chance to play a collection of their own songs and covers. This raw authentic format Radio 1 has created works well against the competition from other commercial radio stations. History has shown that popular music is linked with discourses of youth, rebellions and resistance. The live lounge counter acts against the current popular music genres such as dance and dub step, it allows live music to be enjoyed. It provides a blurred reality to make you feel like you are there in the studio. The live tracks are played on Fearne Cotton’s show. The radio show has a scheduled format; this allows listeners to tune into the radio in its original secondary medium.
Radio 1 was established in 1967 by the BBC. Radio has always been a flexible medium; listeners have always used it as a secondary medium, where they can tune in at any time they wish to use their portable transistor. The radio can be played in the background in shops or on computers and in cars. However over time listeners have adapted the way they wish to consume radio. The BBC paints a clear ideology of what it should provide; these values were set by the founder of the BBC, John Reith. “The BBC is not a company grounded in profit making” (The BBC story, John Reith-1.beginnings) it intentionally is there to provide a service to Britain. Their slogan is to ‘Inform, entertain, educate.’ Radio 1 has adapted to change, the diversity and range of the ways listeners can engage with radio has improved greatly. According to OFCOM, the regulator of radio 1 they state that Radio needs to “innovate and adapt to listeners changing revolutions.”(Richard Berry, Will the iPod kill the Radio Star? OFCOM, 2005)

Digitalisation has allowed new mediums to be introduced to radio. The web has allowed radio listeners to catch up with past shows that they may have missed, or it could just be another medium for consumers to listen popular music. “This ‘time-shifting’ of content has proven to be hugely successful, with listeners streaming 4.2 million hours in January 2005 alone” (BBC, 2004, 2005a, 2005 p149, Richard Berry, Will the iPod kill the radio star?)

Listeners have also changed their level of power as they are able to produce their own podcasts. I believe Radio 1 has embraced this. Although radio producers aim to gain more listeners everyday they also embrace the creativity people are showing to create their own broadcasts. It makes radio an on-going popular medium that can be challenged.

The devices we choose to use to listen to radio through have changed, from small one-to-one devices to large pieces of furniture, to portable transistors and then on to desk bound computers and televisions that connect to radio through satellite. Although digitisation has created a new medium for people to listen to radio, some still use the text in its traditional format. Although Industry research in the UK suggests that listening online and purchase of MP3 players is increasing whereas overall listening to commercial radio is down.(Richard Berry, p144, 2006) Although figures show that the traditional format of listening to the radio  is down it has not completely diminished, it still exists. The new media formats are working alongside it. Radio 1 has let technology drive their changes. The target audience for Radio 1 is 15-34 year olds; this young drive pushes the station into producing material that would appeal to the younger spectrum of society. According to new statistics results show that the average age of a listener on Radio 1 is 32. (The Guardian, 8th November 2011) This could suggest that their intended younger audience are engaging with the online new media formats and that older listeners are reverting to traditional old media ways, tuning in live and listening to the presenter for example.

The presenters on Radio 1 have to be innovative and creative. They have had to adapt the way they are interacting on radio to increase their amount of listeners. The delivery is more speech driven and interactive. On Radio 1 the presenters deliver a chatty and comedic format so that audiences can indentify themselves, which supports the Uses and Gratifications theory. (The Role of Theory in Uses and Gratifications studies, Jay G. Blumer)

Radio 1’s young audience expect to be entertained. Rather than playing music continuously the presenters have introduced game like formats. For example one of the current games ‘Innuendo Bingo’ is currently popular on Radio 1. The listeners can take part in the game and see how long it takes them to laugh at an innuendo. This challenges the secondary medium of radio as it primarily makes the listener involved. This feature can then be listened to again and shared as the show will be added on to the stations website. This combines the old and new media formats therefore audiences have the choice to engage with any medium. The Uses and gratifications theory may provide novel insights into the meaning and determinants of consumer online behaviours such as attitude to the Web, as people gain satisfaction from using it. (Journal of Interactive Advertising, Vol 2 No 2, spring 2002, pp. 34‐41.) The web allows you to independently choose what you want to listen to. This gives consumers the chance to be flexible with how the engage with radio.

In the 21s century digitisation is at its high. Non market community programmers have established their mass audiences such as YouTube. Market competition also challenges radio, the new media formats are being used by mass audiences. Radio 1 is funded by the BBC and the TV licence fee therefore they are challenged to provide a service that will suit everyone. The live lounge show is recorded in the studio and filmed. The video is then uploaded and available to watch online. This introduces the video medium to radio. Before radio had also been a blind medium. This format was also introduced on Chris Moyle’s’ breakfast show when attempted to break the records for staying on live radio the longest. Listeners were able to press red on their interactive TV’s and the website streamed a live feed of Chris Moyle’s in the studio using a webcam. Figures showed that 3.8 million people watched the Radio 1 website whilst this took place and the website crashed briefly after Fearne Cotton presented 10 minutes of her show in a bikini. (BBC’s newsbeat website, Friday, 18 March 2011) These figures show how audience demand impact how successful radio is. On the Live lounge webpage you can watch the videos from previous live lounge's and you also have the choice to comment as there is a comment box. This allows listeners to share their own thoughts, this gives consumers a higher level of power than radio offers.  

It has been a decade since piracy and the arrival of iTunes – which destroyed the notion of an album in favor of single, downloadable tracks, but the music business has found nothing to repair the lost CD sales. Radio 1 Live lounge allows upcoming artists the chance for people to engage with their music in a legal way. Despite all the hype about the digital revolution, the music business, as represented by the major record labels, is in serious financial trouble. Sales were down 7% last year in the UK. (Dan Sabbagh, the Observer, Sunday 20th February 2011) The live lounge is free to listen to which may suggest why music sales are down. Music is so widely accessible to listen to for free. Commercials radio offers popular music to be shared and played. However Radio 1 has seen a place in the market with the idea of producing a Radio 1 Live lounge cd. The album has been produced; it includes the best of the live lounge tracks from that year. "Old media is not being displaced, rather their functions and status are shifted by the introduction of new technologies".  (Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide page 14) This counter acts the digitalised medium that Radio 1 use, cd sales are lowering are can be seen as an old tradition. However radio 1 has continued to produce the cd in hope that the popularity of the live lounge will provide high sales and therefore the popularity of live music will be restored. Jenkins also argues that media convergence isn’t just a shift in technology, but that it also changes the relationships between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences. This is true for Radio 1 as the audiences and genres played on the show change depending on what time you are listening to the show, it is diverse.

Radio 1 has a high cultural capital, the society drive the changes that radio 1 make. Because it is a public service broadcaster it is approved by the government therefore the power obtained by them is significant. The BBC must remain popular for it to maintain its existence, as the TV license provides the main funding for the institution to run. Radio 1 has embraced converged media; the web features provide satisfaction for a wider target audience. The expectations of society drive the changes that have taken place on radio. The secondary medium of radio is still in use which proves the old formats of radio are still place. Technological determinists would argue that the change in radio is obtained by digitalization, which I believe to be true.

No comments:

Post a Comment