At NPO Radio 1, I'm specialised in something called 'Visual Radio'. For some people, those two words are already a contradiction: the thing about radio is that it's a broadcast without visuals, right? Well, not anymore. Below, you can read why I think that 'visual radio' is so important for a medium as radio.
Visuals add a lot.
Visual radio isn’t replacing the regular radio stream, it's an optional addition. Taken into consideration that a lot of communication in a conversation is visual - through body language and facial expressions, for instance - a look inside the radio studio can add a lot of extra, crucial information. And with added, relevant and illustrative photo and video material, you’ll always get the whole picture.
It’s always live.
A current affairs radio station like NPO Radio 1 is always live and always up-to-date. That’s a big perk for both visual radio and radio as a whole: it’s easy to switch and report on breaking news. That makes the visual radio stream always interesting and on point, and suitable to broadcast on a regular TV channel. And the best thing is: if a subject is not your cup of tea, you can easily do something else. It’s radio, so it’s never mandatory to look at the stream.
It’s great for online.
Apart from podcasting, not a lot of people click on a audio-only link. But when the live broadcast was directed, a snippet or whole conversation can easily be cut loose and shared online. There are already a lot of NPO Radio 1 video fragments that went viral.
It’s all about the content.
Anno 2016, it’s all about the content, and less about the looks - something YouTubers often prove. Especially with live talk radio, good content is key. When you’ll look at visual radio as a whole, it might not be as grand and sexy as a TV broadcast, but the live and high quality content easily makes up for that.
It’s faster, cheaper and less cumbersome than TV.
Although radio with added visuals might sound like something that already exists - TV - it actually is something quite different. Because the basis is radio, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to produce. Radio reporters, for instance, can work completely independent and won’t need a big satellite van. That makes them a lot more agile, and because they’re often broadcasting live through a mobile internet connection, they can always contribute photos and videos for the visual radio stream.