The Au­dio Con­fer­ence

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Dayna Clarke Last Thurs­day saw a gath­er­ing of world ex­perts in the field of ra­dio at the Mediter­ranean Con­fer­ence Cen­tre for the much an­tic­i­pated In­ter­na­tional Ra­dio Fes­ti­val con­fer­ence. The day­long event in­cluded a se­ries of lec­tures, de­bates and analy­ses from in­dus­try lead­ers, as part of the week­long fes­ti­val, held for the first time in Malta. Now in its ninth year, the con­fer­ence fo­cused on the im­por­tance and fu­ture of ra­dio, no­tably with the rise of tech­nol­ogy such as smart speak­ers and blockchain.

The con­fer­ence be­gan with a warm wel­come from Fes­ti­val Direc­tor Dar­ryl Von Daniken, who ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to Malta for host­ing the event as part of the Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture cel­e­bra­tions.

The first pre­sen­ter, Paul Sylvester from Ab­so­lute Ra­dio UK, spoke about the suc­cess of the sta­tion. Paul is an award­win­ning ra­dio pro­gram­mer with over 10 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in ra­dio pro­duc­tion and tal­ent coach­ing. He has led the team at Ab­so­lute Ra­dio to record rat­ings and rev­enue, with the sta­tion win­ning four pres­ti­gious gold awards at last year’s Ra­dio Academy Awards.

We caught up with Paul af­ter his well-re­ceived pre­sen­ta­tion. “It’s a plea­sure to be here in Malta”, he said, “and to share knowl­edge with other pro­fes­sion­als in the field. Malta is in­cred­i­bly wel­com­ing and tourist-friendly. It’s cru­cial we shout louder about the suc­cess of ra­dio – with thou­sands of peo­ple lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio ev­ery day”. The ac­claimed sta­tion has been among the first for break­ing in new artists such as Ge­orge Ezra and Rag N Bone man.

Fol­low­ing Sylvester, mu­sic com­poser and pro­ducer David Lowe pre­sented Cre­at­ing the BBC News Theme, The Art of Au­dio De­sign. As his area of ex­per­tise notes, his speech was about the com­po­nents of build­ing a suc­cess­ful theme tune. Lowe fa­mously cre­ated the BBC World News theme tune and told his au­di­ence how he had de­vel­oped one of the most recog­nis­able au­dios world­wide. “Mu­sic is syn­ony­mous with emo­tions and pas­sion, but it is vi­tal when com­pos­ing a new theme that the mu­sic re­mains neu­tral and does not in­flu­ence the lis­tener in any way” he pointed out.

The next pre­sen­ter was Trevor Dann, Cre­ative Direc­tor and Paul Smith, Head of Ed­i­to­rial Stan­dards and Com­mis­sion­ing Pol­icy for the BBC, who pre­sented “Re-in­vent­ing and Grow­ing BBC Ra­dio”.

Fol­low­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion, there was a dis­cus­sion en­ti­tled ‘Is­land Life – Broad­cast­ing on an Is­land’ led by An­drew Zam­mit, Gen­eral Man­ager of 89.7 Bay FM Ra­dio Malta and James KeenPan, Sta­tion Man­ager of Is­land FM in Guernsey and Chan­nel 103 in Jersey. The dis­cus­sion an­a­lysed the chal­lenges of broad­cast­ing in an is­land con­text and the im­por­tance of keep­ing up to date with lis­ten­ers.

An­drew said: “The fes­ti­val has pro­vided 89.7 Bay FM with an in­te­gral plat­form to show­case Mal­tese ra­dio to the rest of the world. Our flag­ship show, Daniel and Yle­nia’s Bay Break­fast, has been aired twice this week, reach­ing au­di­ences all over the world. In Malta, ra­dio is still an ex­cep­tion­ally pop­u­lar medium and it is im­por­tant that we re­spond to the needs of our lis­ten­ers and reach out to the lo­cal com­mu­nity. In this sense, it is what makes Malta very unique.”

Next on the stage, John Si­mons, Matt Dee­gan, Nick Pitts and Lind­say Wesker dis­cussed ‘Niche ra­dio is the New Main­stream’. They ex­plored the im­por­tance and rel­e­vance of niche sta­tions such as Jazz FM, MISOUL and the pop­u­lar chil­dren’s sta­tion Fun Kids.

One of the most highly an­tic­i­pated pre­sen­ta­tions of the day was given by Cliff Fluet, part­ner and blockchain cham­pion, Lewis Silkin LLP on Block Chain in Au­dio who de­scribed the con­cept and rise of the medium. The busy day saw a wide va­ri­ety of both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional speak­ers who shared their par­tic­u­lar ar­eas of ex­per­tise and re­search in a plethora of fields with hun­dreds of del­e­gates.

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