Learning Waves Skillnet held its third annual conference on 27th September 2013 in the Aviva Stadium Dublin. Speakers on the day included, Dee Ford, Group Managing Director, Radio, Bauer Media UK, Sue Llewellyn, UltraSocial, Andrew Wilson, BBC Training Academy, Andrew Weld-Moore, Facebook and Moz Dee, CONTENTed Digital Media. The conference was chaired by Learning Waves Chairperson, Bernadette Prendergast, News Editor, Galway Bay FM. The theme of the conference was ‘Dial or Digital…..Content is King’ and all speakers opened their address by complimenting Independent Commercial Radio in Ireland.
Dee Ford, Group Managing Director, Radio, Bauer Media UK, spoke of her joy when Today FM, FM104 and Highland Radio joined the then eMap group whom she worked for in 2005. Dee said that she learned a lot from working with all three stations during their time in the eMap group. She praised the work of Dave Kelly in FM104 with the Strawberry Alarm Clock and she described Margaret Nelson as a ‘magician at turning audiences into revenue’. From Willie O’Reilly and the Today FM team, she learned that ‘it is vitally important to make sure everyone of your listeners feels like they are being engaged with’. Dee mentioned that some of the most fantastic lessons she learned are rooted in one of the smallest stations she has ever visited, Highland Radio. The lesson from Highland was that ‘once you are immensely relevant to your audience, once you tailor your content to your audience and that when your audience truly engages with you, you can then build diversified revenue streams and have a platform on which to build new services’.
Andrew Wilson from BBC Training Academy opened his talk by saying that 'it has been a humbling and remarkable experience to have worked with news editors from the sector over the last two days'. He went on to say that 'it takes an Englishman to tell you what you have in the Independent Commercial Radio sector in this country, to a man and a woman, you are passionate people, proud people who are motivated by public service and you have a lot to teach the BBC local radio about what truly local output is about. It is an amazing experience completely motivated by audiences and we are privileged to be here'.
Sue Llewellyn from UltraSocial pointed out that ultimately ‘content is king’ and that ‘Irish radio stations have fantastic content’.
Moz Dee from CONTENTed Digital Media loves everything about radio and he believes that ‘radio in Ireland is a very natural thing, that it is not forced, it is authentic and that Irish people are natural storytellers’. Moz truly believes that ‘Irish radio is amongst some of the best in the world and it works really well’ because , ‘Radio in Ireland knows its audience fantastically well’.
Andrew Weld-Moore from Facebook was delighted to be talking to the radio industry as it is an industry that he is passionate about. According to Andrew, ‘the great thing about radio is that, similar to Facebook, it is all about connections, all about people and how to facilitate conversations among people’.