Wednesday 28 May 2008

Essays For Sale. BBC Radio Oxford

During my recent work placement with BBC Radio Oxford, I broke a story on Oxford graduates earning up to £30,000 a year writing essays on demand.

This led the breakfast show and bulletins on Radio Oxford and was the top story that day on the Education section of BBC News online.

It was brilliant to get my work at the heart of Radio Oxford's output.

CLICK HERE AND THEN CLICK PLAY to listen to a summary of the coverage on the story.

Sunday 18 May 2008

PR Blunder Exposes Dodgy Practice

Every few days I receive press releases from Cardiff Council as it's quite a useful way of keeping apace with Council activities. However, an email press release I received yesterday shows how Cardiff Council's press office is both incompetent and involved in making up quotes before an event has actually happened. This, for a service funded through taxation!

Have a read of the press release (let me remind you that Portsmouth beat Cardiff in yesterday's FA Cup final)...

'17/05/2008 For Immediate Release PR 3439

WELCOME HOME BLUEBIRDS! Cardiff is ready to welcome home the Bluebirds in style after their epic win against Portsmouth at Wembley yesterday and fans are being urged to come out to show their support for the team and their amazing victory.

The capital is ready to celebrate with manager Dave Jones and his team as they bring world football's most famous club trophy back to Cardiff tomorrow.

Cardiff Council in partnership with the club and South Wales Police, has arranged for a victory bus tour through the city on Sunday, May 18 should the team triumph.

To celebrate the achievements of the team, Cardiff residents and City fans will have the chance to see the famous trophy and welcome the players home as they ride around the city on an open-top double-decker bus.

The tour will begin at Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay at 2.30pm when two blue and white decked buses, one carrying the players, the other their wives and families, will make their way through the city.

The tour will head for the city centre along Lloyd George Avenue, Callaghan Square and up through St Mary Street and High Street, Duke Street, Kingsway, Boulevard de Nantes and concluding at City Hall.

There will be no full road closures but a rolling road closure will be in place and the buses will be escorted by police vehicles.

The Lord Mayor elect of Cardiff, Kate Lloyd will accompany the team on their bus tour throughout the city. Kate Lloyd said: "I know that the people of Cardiff will want to thank the city players for ending the 81 years drought and bringing the FA Cup back here. "This is the chance for all fans and residents to see the cup and the team. I'm sure the atmosphere will be wonderful."

(ends)Cardiff Council Press Officer Andrea Currie.'

This email was promptly followed by another from the sender with the correct 'Cardiff lost, come and meet the team' press release.

Surely a press office getting quotes before the event is unacceptable and amounts to deceiving the public. Perhaps I'm a little naive and this sort of thing goes on in all press offices, but I do hope not.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

RADIO WILL... My Thoughts on the Future of Radio

Having immersed myself in all things radio for the last few years, I thought I'd write about what I think the future holds for the medium once affectionately known as the wireless.


Radio has already had to adjust to the converging media world. All credible stations provide a listen live, podcast and other online extras that add value such as video, webcams and blogs.

Radio will have to adapt further if it is to survive. On demand will inevitably expand, with more material available as podcasts. On demand could end up as more popular than live broadcasting. If so, the BBC’s pledge to do fewer television programmes and do them better will be replicated. Radio stations would plough more resources into fewer programmes and repeat them in the schedules. Crucially these programmes will soon be available to download on your mobile phone in seconds.

Even when video is truly ubiquitous online and on mobile, there will still be a demand in one form or another for live radio. Media users more than ever crave live news and sport, and the medium of radio will exist to provide this for years to come.


I believe radio stations will have to further interact with their listeners (or should it be advocates?) through new techniques such as ‘watch live’ where they will be able to watch the presenters presenting their show on mini video screens on their radios and on their mobile phones. This will also mean more advocate-led programming – they will be further empowered to produce their own radio features and shows, and stations will have to tap into this by empowering them. The BBC, amongst others, already does this through projects like Video Nation and Capture Wales. I believe this will expand through new concepts like giving listeners the chance to create their own radio content by recording material on their mobiles then editing it on free, downloadable audio editing software.

I believe that as long as radio continues to adapt, it'll survive long into the future.