Reflecting on Radiodays Europe 2013

Berliner Congress Center

Radio conferences can be a bit gruelling. I know because I’ve organised a few. Some of the best planned sessions can be ruined by people talking too much, dull powerpoint slides, failing microphones. You’ve been there too right? So it’s a pleasure to report that RadioDays Europe 2013 in Berlin was a technical triumph. As far as I could tell everyone who could hear the speakers, the sessions started and finished on time, the exhibitions were interesting, the food was palatable (though not as extensive or as tasty as the smorgasbord at RDE 2011 in Copenhagen) and the atmosphere was genial and creative.

Alexanderplatz

More importantly, there was a refreshing absence of the showing off which has come to characterise the

UK Radio Festival. In an effort to avoid ‘airing the industry’s dirty linen in public’, a phrase used repeatedly by a senior UK radio exec, the Festival has become an expensive bland-out, like watching a tired old rock band going through the motions on their reunion tour. But RDE delegates like to debate. They’ve moved beyond the old public v private sector arguments and they want to learn from each other and discuss future co-operations like the Eurochip for smartphones.

Berlin - Robert Krulwich

My favourite session was Robert Krulwich’s talk about Radiolab, his programme for NPR. It’s a truly innovative concept which plays with sound in a radical and exciting way and he delivered an inspiring call-to-arms about the value of experimentation in radio. With 4.5 million podcast subscribers worldwide, he should know what he’s talking about.

You can hear our conversation here:

I also enjoyed Susan Marjetti from CBC Toronto making the business case for diversity. If your programme team doesn’t look and sound like your audience then you need to do something about it and her show proved it by going from 6th to 1st in its market and staying there. The Radio Today Programme I recorded in Berlin is available here. It features both Robert and Susan as well as many other impactful speakers. Here’s to RDE Dublin 2014.

Brandenburg Gate