Magazine article The Spectator

Radio Vision On

Magazine article The Spectator

Radio Vision On

Article excerpt

Something strange, very strange is going on.

Take two sparky young, very young men, watch them launch their media careers a couple of years ago by creating zany videos and putting them up on YouTube. Witness the impish, imaginative duo going viral, followed by millions across the globe. Note that what they're famous for are the videos, the visual gags; not for music, for sound, for aural wizardry. Who, then, might you expect to snap them up as the next best thing? The head of Sky TV? Or the controller of Radio 1?

In this topsy-turvy world, it's Radio 1 who'll be hosting Dan and Phil from 13 January onwards, giving them their own Sundaynight request show (produced by Alistair Parrington). That's news enough: an internet phenomenon being taken up by radio, not TV or Hollywood. But as an added 'wow' factor Dan and Phil's show will be the first radio programme that's also at the same time 'fully visualised'. Not just podcastable, streamable, downloadable or plainly and simply listenable, it will also be watchable, live on air, via the internet, for the whole two hours. As Dan and Phil chat and play their listeners' favourite tracks, so they will create on camera the kind of visual mayhem they've been dreaming up for YouTube.

'Visualisation' is not entirely new to Radio 1. The powers that be (or rather the techies) have been experimenting with it for a while, but with nothing much as yet to show on screen except paunchy DJs getting up to embarrassing dance moves in the studio. (There was also a Radio 4 play about 18 months ago that you could at the same time watch on the website, but weirdly this was not a video, just a collection of stills. ) AmazingPhil and Danisnotonfire (as their fans know them) are very watchable;

and logging on to catch their latest antics is rather like taking a peek inside the teenage mind. You can see why Radio 1 is so excited.

It's the perfect way to entice back the 15-25 audience that long ago went Awol, tempted away by the interactivity of the internet. It's also intriguing that radio, fusty old wireless, is leading the way here; intriguing but not so surprising. With their radio audience, Dan and Phil can interact with their listeners, no apparatus required, except a good internet connection. Their charm is all about immediacy, on the button, in the moment, communicating as if from bedroom to bedroom, the adults safely downstairs. …

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