XFM Has Struck Gold With Personalized Interactive Radio
By: Christy Mannering
Broadcasting to the people, by the people, for the people; yes, please, sense the theme and rock with it! Every work week, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the folks at XFM Radio will be putting their listeners in control of what they hear. In fact, it’s possible you’ll be hearing the voices of London locals who’d like to give radio broadcasting a whirl. The station calls it XU; we call it a novel approach in diversifying radio.
Listeners will be able to program an hour of the play list by using the XU Play list feature. That’s right, they’re opening up the Xfm database to let the people do the shuffling. Xfm will also be enabling real-time polls to tabulate music trends and online forms to request songs. To further engage the crowd they are turning their website into a sort of social network; complete with profiles and photo upload options. Reaching out and beyond the sound waves, the station is doing more than just giving listeners new choices. They are emerging with the most innovative technologies at hand today; writeable databases, electronic web forms, blogs and listener profiles. It’s a radio community in the making and they’re calling it XU: Radio to the power of U.
Radio requirements issued by Ofcom (UK’s radio regulator) will remain in effect during XU hours. Xfm is on a mission to show that broadcasting regulation don’t have to mean less fun and flexibility. I have a feeling this approach could change the future of radio both online and off in a very positive way. My applause goes to Xfm for letting their listeners take the reigns and steer the transition of the world’s oldest on-air medium.