The algorithms which control where you are pointed are in the hands of the people who make and programme the gadgets and skills, so it’s good when the gatekeepers are part of our clan and understand UK listening habits.
Rajar (MIDAS study, Autumn 2017) suggests that live radio enjoys the lion's share of audio delivered on smart speakers. Whilst radio's dominance is reassuring, it may also remind us that here is a chance once again for others to steal ‘our’ clothes.
Major brands could provide well-programmed branded audio streams which just might be more famous than ours. Such streaming services are about to become ever more readily accessible (if, of course, they are, themselves, financially viable). Free of all the complex history of our medium and now offered an easy platform and simple access, could they disrupt? They could - but thankfully, radio’s a touch more difficult to do than it sounds – and we are the experts.
‘Alexa – Open the BBC’
Let’s be mindful though that if life gets too confusing - with a choice of rather too many sovereign ‘radio listening’ skills - listeners may simply use the default one in the device, which may have questionable allegiances. That’s a good reason to be wholly supportive of the fine technical and political efforts of RadioPlayer.
Opportunities abound too in the heightened intelligence about listening habits which these new devices will offer us.
Grab my book 'Radio Moments': 50 years of radio - life on the inside. A personal and frighteningly candid reflection on life in radio now and then. The drama - the characters - the headaches - the victories.
Also 'How to Make Great Radio'. Techniques for today's presenters and producers. Great for newcomers - and food for thought if you've been doing it years.