Broadcast Bionics brings radio into the 21st Century

Broadcast Bionics brings radio into the 21st Century
Dan McQuillin discusses how the medium can be revived to engage with modern audiences

Caspar Herzberg |

This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox. 

Traditionally broadcast media firms, whether in TV or radio, used big transmitters to reach a mass audience. With this type of approach, the level of engagement was extremely limited – not by design, but simply because that’s how broadcast technology worked.

We now live in a world where, through streaming and social media, the opportunity for our audience to talk to one another, engage and share content has radically transformed. So, as broadcast toolmakers, we looked at the problem of traditional studios built as soundproof boxes that blocked out all that engagement and conversation. We wanted to produce broadcast equipment that enabled content makers to track the trends, listen to the comments and voices of our audience, guests, newsmakers and musicians. Helping to create new studio spaces which encourage and facilitate engagement.

If a radio station plays an Ed Sheeran song, for example, we will automatically track social media and pull up conversation about him and the things he’s just announced into the studio – all without distracting the talent from their principal task of producing great content. 

One of the first ways in which you might connect with radio content now is to read a transcription as you scroll through your Facebook timeline. Only hearing the audio after you click on it. With this in mind, we’re helping people to read and watch the radio. Creating video to help radio content reach the right platforms and generating transcriptions to make it readable on social media and searchable on Google and YouTube. 

These completely different ways that we discover, share and consume traditional content require new tools and technologies. We want to preserve the intimacy and immediacy of radio’s workflow while empowering broadcasters and audiences to share the emotion that radio creates. If the audience has an emotional reaction to content, they now naturally want to share that emotion with their friends. So, we help broadcasters put the right content on the right platforms, and the audience does the rest. 

Radio is still very much a real-time media and keeping abreast of what is happening in the world now involves listening across a plurality of channels and voices – with everyone from Justin Bieber to the Pope and Donald Trump on Twitter it is a challenge for both broadcasters and audiences to keep up. The right broadcast tools don’t just help the studios of the future create and share great content but there is an opportunity for broadcasters to play an important role as curators, fact checkers and taste­makers to help audiences navigate, consume and understand the firehose of social content. 

Dan McQuillin is Managing Director at Broadcast Bionics

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