Visualising (Student) Radio

Generally the people that do visualised radio are the larger radio stations – whether that’s Radio 1 and the Moyles record attempt, Capital’s interviews or Kiss’s new Breakfast takeaway. I was interested, though, to hear about a student radio visualised attempt – The Josh and Kenny Show.

I thought it was really good.

They’ve created a two-hour special that attempts to work on the radio and on video too. You can watch it below:

There’s quite a few clever things they’ve done.

Firstly – the music. Always a rights issue. On the radio (and live streaming) it’s fine – that’s covered by standard agreements. On-demand it’s much more difficult. They’ve got round it by creating a YouTube playlist consisting of their content bits and then adding in the relevant songs. The segues aren’t super-smooth, but it’s a great way to do it and a good creative solution to a problem.

2nd – visual quality. It’s shot really well. Fixed-camera for studio bits, multi-camera for packages and some hidden-camera elements as well.

3rd – ideas. There’s lots of different ideas in there, that do (mainly) work well visually and audibly. Plus if you were listening there’s enough to encourage you to tune into a video stream, without putting you off. The feature ideas are really well put together, there’s things that are funny, embarrassing and clever. This is a programme with real prep put into it – and it shows.

4th – presenting style. Student radio shows with two boys are nearly universally awful. It comes from having two people who sound the same with ill-defined characters laughing at each others jokes. This does not suffer from that problem. The two hosts have particular personalities that are recognisable by a new viewer/listener and engaging to consume.

5th – effort. Overall they’ve really thought about this and executed it well.

Downsides – there aren’t many – I think some of the links are perhaps a little over-long and some of the bits work better on the telly than the radio – but these are minor gripes – it’s a great effort.

Clearly the guys are inspired by some of the YouTubers out there who are making great creative material and also people like Adam & Joe. The conceit of a radio show format gives it the structure to deliver the programme. There’s probably a question about whether it needs to be on the radio and whether it could just live online as video. It would be interesting to see it evolve to include more radio-like elements.

Overall though, I would much rather have this creativity (in part) on the radio, than not at all.

If the guys are reading this, it would be great if they could leave a comment about how they put it all together.


3 thoughts on “Visualising (Student) Radio”

  1. Hey Matt,

    Firstly thanks for your blog post, means a lot to both me and Josh that you took the time to view our work. We were a tad astounded with the compliments, but are very happy you were impressed and glad it did entertain in some way (after all, that’s why we done it).

    The creation process was a long one! Originally it was an idea that I had before Christmas and began thinking about over the holidays. I have a personal fascination with visualising radio and wanted to see what we could do with it. On returning back to university I spoke to Josh about the idea.

    Me and Josh have previously worked together on a show in second year, so we both knew how the other worked, and that show had visual elements too.

    We sat down together with a book of ideas we had both come up with, and picked out the ones we both were happiest with, then set about making sure they’d work on both radio and in-vision.

    It wasn’t a quick process, but it was important to over-think than to under-think, as pretty much all the features required a first shot take.

    We had a carefully planned show in excel so we knew the exact order of songs and where segments were going to go, this meant we could still announce songs and denounce songs.

    Many of the featured content was recorded across different days, then in one day we recorded all the links.

    It took a number of days of post production to get all the cameras in order, and align all the audio. The design work took me a bit of time but luckily came quite quickly (apart from the wheels in 5enses, they took ages for a total screen time of what 20 secs?).

    It was a massive learning curve for me and Josh, but we thoroughly enjoyed it, and the process.

    Once it was finished we wanted to make sure that we had a listen again option. We thought to record the whole show via UStream, but the quality isn’t great. I couldn’t find anywhere to upload an entire 2-hour long show, especially with licensed music.

    We planned to make a podcast anyway so I began to cut out the links so we could upload them. It was only the next day when I wanted to listen to the Busted album (yes Busted) that I went onto YouTube and found the album playlist.

    I’ve used playlists before, but it hadn’t dawned on me that I could playlist the show using the original music videos uploaded by the record labels.

    Now that we have this knowledge that this is possible, there is so much potential to build a show. It now means I am looking at YouTube as a jumbled up puzzle, where any piece can fit. YouTube already has all the content we could need for a show, all we now need to do is create our own links to build it.

    This idea could be particularly exciting to create a new-music based radio show. It would be a fantastic resource as it directs the user directly to their YouTube page as it finds its way through your playlist.

    Not sure how much of all of this is possible, but it I’m sure there is a massive amount of potential.

    Also, if anyone can think of a better name than ‘chapter-ed visual radio’, please let me know lol

    Hope this is enough of a responce Matt, hope to see you soon,


    – Kenny

  2. I watched (and listened to) the live show and it was a really interesting watch (and listen!). From a geeky radio point of view it had me hooked, and I’m sure your audience enjoyed it to. I don’t want to play down the importance of trying new things on student radio – hats off to both you for putting together such a creative and engaging show – but it got me thinking about what ‘radio visualisation’ actually is.

    The Josh and Kenny show was, in my mind, TV on the radio. Not radio on the TV. That’s the opposite approach to what we’ve become accustomed to with visualised programmes on Radio 1 and other stations. On the plus side, you’ve got really well produced VTs, perfectly edited features and cool graphics. On the downside, you haven’t got that feeling of ‘liveness’ that you get seeing Moyles/Mills in video.

    And then there’s the question of how did it sound. I switched between the live video stream and the Crush Radioplayer during the show. In some places it worked well, in others it was a bit of a disorientating listen.

    I think the bottom line is that visualised content still needs to work when the pictures disappear. Otherwise, is it really radio?

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