My use of the term “sharing” covers the transmission of a station’s output but also how producers submit the content they have produced to their station to be broadcast. If they are broadcasting live, which is normally what most volunteers do, then their show is transmitted directly to the listeners. But audio is simultaneously streamed and recorded: both for monitoring purposes and to provide the listen again facility. If the practitioners are recording as-live from the studio, they record into the system, via number-coded carts. If they are voice-tracking
Practitioners and content production 89 from a studio or from home using software and online sharing services like WeTransfer and Dropbox, they record their audio links to be uploaded automatically into the playlist between music and other fixtures. Sharing in relation to radio content is also connected to the online realm where output is remediated as shareable clips and podcasts.
Linked to the above are the screens used to view websites and social media platforms where all manner of audio-visual and visual content generated through station activities is made available: articles and blogs, photographs and videos of guest interviews and performances, promotional and fundraising stunts. The visual presence of these items brings useful marketing and promotional benefits for a station, its presenters and the many local organizations, events, schemes and projects that are featured.
By sharing, storing and screening content online, it is possible to survey who is engaging with the station, to monitor listener and user reactions. Audience members become visible on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: at least those individuals prepared to reveal themselves rather than lurk or remain anonymous. Reactions to a station’s output provide some idea of how many listeners are interested, which is useful for pitching to potential advertisers to sell airtime and sponsorship opportunities. But this exposure works both ways. Interviewees and contributors, politicians and business owners can more easily listen back to themselves and to on-air discussions relating to their activities which potentially renders them more sensitive about how they are portrayed. This means that potentially, station output is more vulnerable to criticism. It has always been the case that stations must record their transmissions and keep those recordings for six weeks in case a complaint to Ofcom needs investigating. Now, there is more chance that a listener who thought they may have heard something untoward can listen again to be sure, and even share the link with friends and colleagues.