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How Periscope can be useful to radio

periscope thumbail

You may have heard the word ‘lets get on periscope’, ‘let’s ‘periscope that’ .etc .etc – but what actually is this new app and how can radio use (or not) use it?

It’s still early days, and its slowly catching on, for the new video live streaming app launched by Twitter. Twitter users can now broadcast or watch live video from anywhere, thanks to its live-streaming video app, Periscope.

You can also watch other people’s live feeds, watch recent broadcast or browse through live streams – just by pressing on the TV icon at the bottom left of the screen.

You can follow other users or they can follow you for notifications. There’s plenty of room for interaction: when you are watching a broadcast, you can then join the chatroom (you will see a message bar at the bottom of the screen) to send a message to the owner or other watchers, or send a heart emoticon as a seal of approval. The more hearts a video stream gets, the higher they flutter on the screen.

Live sChris Evans webcamtreaming for radio has had it’s fair share of ups and down’s … the days of the early Millennium when webcams were being installed in radio studios and five or six super listeners tuned in to watch presenters introduce the next Oasis song … or maybe the early mornings in 1998 watching Chris Evans simultaneously present his Virgin Radio Breakfast Show on radio and on Sky One. I bet that if you’re reading this blog – you might have found it a little bit interesting – but if you’re Joe Bloggs, probably not.

Now days – we’ve kinda get live streaming sorted – by streaming some of the biggest artists and interactive content our stations produce.

ZaynIn fact – Radio 1’s Innuendo Bingo – the daily feature on The Scott Mills Show is actually made made better  (in my opinion) with its cross platform video delivery whether that’s on demand or watched live – as shown here with a visual of ex-One Direction member Zayn Malik spitting out some water after an Innuendo “LOL” moment.

… and there’s plenty more examples of when great content on radio is enhanced by a visual support. It’s not about cheap telly, but about enhancing the experience for the listener across all touchpoints for the radio station brand. But this isn’t 2013 … and we don’t need to be talking about visualising radio (again!).

Periscope gives you that ‘instant’ broadcast – no airs, no graces, no edits. It’s exclusive, you need to be there at the time to take part. You can watch replays, but you can’t share. You need to following – you need to be an active fan of the presenter, the brand, the person .etc. In today’s world of Vine and Instagram – consumers are used to (and prefer) short, sharp and snappy content – long form video is to be used for exceptional content or appointment to view – eg. films, TV on demand .etc

I’ve seen a few examples of Periscope being used in radio. Smallzy from Australian radio station – Nova 100 took listeners through his pre-show routine, plus I’ve seen a few Bauer brands have registered accounts like Absolute Radio and Radio City 96.7 as well as 6 Music, Capital XTRA and Cork FM in Belfast plus radio personalities like Greg James.

The BBC’s technology correspondent Rory-Cellan Jones has used the app technology to help generate interest in his coverage of the #DimblebyLecture by inviting other BBC names to join in his broadcast – including 5 Live’s Emma Barnett.

Rory Cellan Jones periscope

When casting the net out on Twitter (follow me – @jonathanjacob, thanks!) for feedback and insight – I got a reply from @danalani who talked about his use of another live broadcast app called Meerkat for live session guests.  This supports the argument that creativity is now more important that technology – consumers are hungry for content there and then, they don’t have time to wait for a shiny video to be uploaded. We live in a real time world – after all, that’s radio’s biggest strengths. Right time, right place, right message.

Will be interesting to see what and how they use the app. Watch this space! Will it burn out and just become another social media fad (OMG like – you totally remember Myspace, right?)

Jonathan Jacob is currently Content Solutions Manager at Global Radio with varied experience across commercial radio S&P, events, marketing and PR. He was listed in the inaugural Radio Academy 30 under 30, is a Student Radio Awards judge and sat on the Events Committee for The Radio Academy. Views are personal.


  1. Twitter and similar services suffer from the very thing that makes them a success: the “now”-ness of their consumption. If I haven’t got Twitter open, I’ll not see your excited Periscope announcement that you’re broadcasting live. The usage figures will be very low (not least because there isn’t an app for Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system). In any case, YouTube does live streaming, and that appears to do a fine job.

    I’m not sure that most people want to watch unedited crap-o-vision from a mobile device, just like most people don’t want to watch rubbish webcams in the corner of a radio studio. I suspect there will be a few uses of it for breaking news – and even then, “breaking news” is normally “news that has just happened” not “news which is happening” – but I can’t see much of a use of it for radio.

    Yours with the black hat…

  2. Hi James,

    Yes the app is young and we’re still trying to figure live streaming out, I actually think there are many ways that Periscope could be used for radio.

    To your points:

    a) You can set notifications on for Periscope, in which case users are updated about live broadcasts and Twitter /Periscope app does not have to be open for this to happen.

    b) I think some people DO want that unedited content. Seeing a live interview, or in-studio performance is something special. Even behind the scenes with artists has value

    c) By simply introducing another “live” touch point with listeners, radio has a bunch of opportunities. And it doesn’t take a lot of work to set this up.

    Just some thoughts…