This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Radio is one of the most important media channels ever created. Since the early 20th century, it has given the public a link to the outside world, enabling listeners to keep up with current affairs, experience sports highlights in real time and widen our music knowledge.
However, while the digital revolution has transformed our lives exponentially, radio has remained largely untouched. But if the industry is to survive, it needs to carve a new path forward in this new, digital world.
Using advanced transcription, it is now possible to turn the spoken word into a readable document, making it more suitable for online use. But radio content is much more complex than a transcription; it is a self-describing document with all the social cues a listener needs to consume and understand the content encoded within it.
At Broadcast Bionics, we are extending our Bionic Studio capabilities to harness the raw data that we’ve always been capturing and process it so that it can be searchable and used online. We have added to natural language processing to create radio language processing. This can analyse a spoken document, understand cues and cultural laws that are embedded within it and ultimately understand it.
The new capabilities will make structured metadata out of vast quantities of unstructured media and data by synchronising video and audio with the transcription to make it searchable. Understanding the content enables users to do more intelligent things to it; data can become information.
We can glean insights from it, enhance the listening experience by enabling users to skip forward, or provide personalisation by recommending similar content based on the insights. This will make radio more like the internet and YouTube with searching and linking capabilities, and less like traditional broadcast streams.
Having turned data into information our web-based solution, Bionic Portal, provides search and statistical analysis tools to take it one step further and turn it into knowledge.
We are currently working with production teams on how they can use data to improve their content. While it is still a novelty now, I believe having this data will become essential in the future. The industry will transform within the next few years; firms will use this data to create new ways for audiences to experience content, enjoy it and work with it.
Dan McQuillin is managing director at Broadcast Bionics
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