City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Takeover Radio

Written in

by

If you’re reading this between 10am-8pm GMT on Easter Monday 2004, right now there’s a system we’ve built at BBC Radio & Music Interactive which is driving Radio 1. During this time, those of you in the UK can text your choice of artist and track into Radio 1 and they’ll play it. More or less. Basically, they have no scheduled playlist whatsoever, and every track Radio 1 plays over a 10 hour period will be chosen by the listeners. This is the Radio 1 10-hour takeover, letting listeners really shape the broadcast. And we built the system that’s running it: aggregating texts, doing fuzzy matching on artist and song names, looking for and learning from patterns etc. When I say "we" I in no way mean "me", of course, as I haven’t coded in anger for years. The credit should go to my fab software team.

For more on the super-situated software that the team wrote (i.e. written to work for about 3 people in a small studio, albeit handling tens of thousands of incoming txts), check Matt Biddulph’s story of what we built for Radio 1. Some good choice words in Matt’s description: "foundation of components", "interop(erability)", "loosely-coupled layers", "resilient", "clusterability", "generic and useful in other contexts". For some of you, this software design will be of interest long after the listeners have handed control back …

Hack diary: Moyles-proof code

Tags

7 responses to “Takeover Radio”

  1. Frankie Roberto Avatar

    And the first track is…
    Pulp – Disco 2000
    a fine choice (from Steve in Glasgow). Here’s hoping my message is read out and that the ten hour broadcast is a success!

    Like

  2. Fuddland Avatar

    10 Hour Take-over

    I don’t listen ever to the radio for music; I much prefer to put my own specific choices on, or trust WMP’s automatic playlist generators to keep track of my MP3 collection. However, after reading about Radio 1’s landmark 10…

    Like

  3. Frankie Roberto Avatar

    I’ve been listening to the broadcast all day. It’s been fun, though it’s not clear whether they are picking the most requested tunes or just any ones which take their fancy. The selection has been quite amusing though, and the messages making it onto the freeview text is impressive.

    Like

  4. plasticbag.org Avatar

    More fun from Radio and Music Interactive…

    Those of you in the UK today may have stumbled upon Radio 1’s Ten Hour Takeover – in which members of the listening public got to choose what got played – only using the power of text messaging. What you…

    Like

  5. Karinski Avatar

    The Nation’s Favourite

    It’s no big secret that I’m a great fan of BBC Radio 1, and listen to and enjoy a great deal of their output. Today, however, saw Radio 1 take a break from the norm and run without a playlist…

    Like

  6. Dan Avatar

    Nice little article about the 10-Hour Takeover in The Guardian today (you may have to register, but it’s free).

    Like

  7. Dan Avatar

    Trackbacks from other sites sent to this post at the time (before I turned trackbacks off due to spam):


    » 10 Hour Take-over from Fuddland
    I don’t listen ever to the radio for music; I much prefer to put my own specific choices on, or trust WMP’s automatic playlist generators to keep track of my MP3 collection. However, after reading about Radio 1’s landmark 10… [Read More]


    » More fun from Radio and Music Interactive… from plasticbag.org
    Those of you in the UK today may have stumbled upon Radio 1’s Ten Hour Takeover – in which members of the listening public got to choose what got played – only using the power of text messaging. What you… [Read More]


    » The Nation’s Favourite from Karinski
    It’s no big secret that I’m a great fan of BBC Radio 1, and listen to and enjoy a great deal of their output. Today, however, saw Radio 1 take a break from the norm and run without a playlist… [Read More]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: