Cridland highlights its production tools at Radiodays Asia
He promised attendees an exhibition of “cool new technology” and he delivered
Posted: September 15, 2022 ⋅ Updated: September 20, 2022
During the Radiodays Asia presentation entitled “Cool new tech for radio that you should be using”, sElf-described “radio futurist” James Cridland shared some state-of-the-art radio production tools – one of the biggest highlights of the two-day conference held at the Shangri-La Hotel from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last week. The Radiodays Asia event was a collaboration between the Radiodays Europe conference and broadcast partners in Asia and Australia.
Changes from the old days of radio
To put his subject into perspective, Cridland showed an image of an old razor blade, splice tape and metal splice block he once used to edit a 1/4 audio tape. ″, followed by a studio file photo of LBC, the first commercial radio station which opened in London, UK, in 1973. “They spent millions and millions of dollars on the equipment in their radio studios,” Cridland noted. It then transitioned to the present day with a video of WCBS-FM (New York City) Broadway deejay Bill Lee producing his show from home, using a combination of equipment that cost around $3,000 in all.
“He’s literally streaming from his basement and using stuff that frankly looks like he could have bought it from the stores,” Cridland said. “Actually, he probably did.”
Having made that point, Cridland dove into the “cool new tech” his speech had promised. He started with Hindenburg, an audio production software tool designed for radio journalists. “It’s deliberately designed to edit speech,” he explained. “It does things like auto-leveling the audio you pull… It’s [got] everything you need to build a radio package and nothing you don’t.
Cridland then jumped on an audio editing tool called Descript. This tool can edit audio files using on-screen transcriptions of the content; not only removing flubs and stammering, but even allowing new spoken words to be inserted into the audio without anyone actually speaking them.
“This system knows my voice,” he explained. After Cridland entered new words into the transcription, the Descript software used an artificially generated version of her voice to insert them into the audio file. And yes, the insertion did not stand out. Later in his presentation, Cridland showed how synthetic voice generation allows morning show talent to “voice” radio content all day long without actually doing it, and how that content can be translated into a multitude of different spoken languages.
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Updating newsletters and podcasts can be a time-consuming process. But as Cridland demonstrated to Radioday Asia attendees, such updates can be made as needed in real time using a service called Spooler.fm.
“What Spooler lets you do is create the homepage version of a newscast,” he explained. “Each individual story is its own record. You can move them into a playlist. You can update with new versions of a particular story without changing the others. And you can post instantly with updates as often as you want.
Cridland then aired an interview clip with radio DJ Gav Richards, who produces a syndicated Top 10 music show called “The Ten Most Wanted”. Using his own custom software called Smart VT, Richards divides his verbal content into very small sections, with things like station IDs and other branding elements saved as standalone audio files. These are then integrated by the software with information about Richards’ songs and other jokes to create syndicated programs that look like they’ve been produced entirely for each station they run on. This approach eliminates the awkwardness of conventional syndicated radio shows, where local insertions of station names stand out.
Next, Cridland showed how audio content can be easily married with photos and video clips using the Adori publishing platform, so it can play well on YouTube and other video streaming sites. . “YouTube is a hugely important place to find your content,” he said. “It’s the second largest search engine on the internet and it’s really important that you get great content there.”
These are just a few of the many innovative pieces of technology that Cridland covered in his Radiodays Asia keynote. In addition to keeping his audience informed and entertained, this radio futurist’s examples provided a solid foundation for his closing remarks:
“There are so many great new technologies out there,” Cridland said. “If you use it really well, it can really change the way radio is done and we can really focus on connecting with our audience and creating a station that sounds great.”