Spotlight On: Radio Magnetic

For the third instalment of the spotlight feature we’re honoured to have the UK’s longest running internet radio station, Radio Magnetic.

Founded in 2001 the station broadcast an eclectic mix of music all day, every day until 2006 when it moved to an on demand model. In the last decade it has grown in popularity, never straying outside the British top five internet radio stations and attracting an impressive array of regular and guest artist, DJ’s and presenters.

We got co-founder and managing director Dougal Perman and station manager Andy McColgan to answer a few questions about their site and ours, and their answers were so good we went for a Q+A style this time…

Why did you choose to put the station on Mixcloud?

Andy: We became aware of Mixcloud early on in its life and were really impressed by the concept and in the people behind it. Because we run an internet radio station and specialise in producing and hosting specialist music content it seemed like a logical platform for us to be a part of – another string to our promotion bow! It’s also a really credible and forward thinking site both technically, aesthetically and most importantly, musically. We are happy to be aligned with the platform as we feel that those in control over at Mixcloud Towers are on the same wavelength as us.

Rockness Preview And Competition by Radio Magnetic on Mixcloud

Do you think the service is compatible and complementary with a big online radio station yourselves?

Andy: Yeah, I think these days it is important for a station like Radio Magnetic to have a presence on a variety of popular, dependable and authentic online platforms and services. These include, of course, the ubiquitous Twitter and Facebook but also newer and more exciting services like Mixcloud. It gathers a lot of great mixes, sessions, podcasts and radio shows from all over the world which is similar to what we do but in a way that gathers it all together from stations, DJs and music fans (like us). So, it’s only right that we should be on there with a weekly selection of our best radio content. It’s a natural platform for us to help get our content to a new and, perhaps, wider audience. There are a lot of cool producers, bands and acts hanging out on Mixcloud too; we really like the service!

Dougal: Being involved with Mixcloud introduces us to new DJs, producers and presenters too, who we might want to bring on board.

How have Radio Magnetic tried to make use of recent advances in online technology and social networking?

Andy: We see it as an ongoing and evolving process with social media. We’re constantly looking at ways to improve our existing profiles across the different sites and platforms we’re on already; and always on the lookout for new one and interesting ones. We like to stay on the periphery of new online social media networks until we feel that we can definitely get something of use out of the thing… rather than jumping in head first. A relatively new social network we’ve became involved with is Central Station an arts based UK network encouraging collaborative work between its members.

Dougal: From the company’s point of view, Inner Ear strives to keep up to date with new developments and we try things out all the time. From the brand’s point of view, we’ve got to make sure that the service is right for Radio Magnetic before we embrace it. We’re always checking new services out though, and looking for ways to innovate on how we use the features on offer. We use Slideshare, for example, to create audiovisual teasers for music events to embed on websites, which isn’t necessarily what their slidecast feature was intended for, but we find it really effective.

Big Dada Podcast No 10 by Radio Magnetic on Mixcloud

What more would you like to see from the Mixcloud service, how can we improve?

Dougal: We’re keen to keep working with Mixcloud as the platform evolves. Some more functions on the player would be useful, to help people skip through mixes and scroll down the playlist. There are always wee things you can tweak with services, but I think that kind of evolution happens naturally as more users get involved.

What’s going on at the station and website in the next few months?

Andy: Well, its festival season in the coming months and we’ve got contributors and friends of the station visiting most of the good ones. So expect some new content from Sonar, RockNess, Latitude, Off Festival, Exit, Glastonbury, Lovebox, Bestival, The Big Chill, T in the Park, Kelburn, Wicker Man…and probably more! You can expect to see features, sessions and recordings up on the site for the latter half of 2010. Over and above that it’s business as usual over in Glasgow. New shows to come from Mogwai and the Rock Action team, Sonic Router, Optimo (Espacio), Big Dada Records, Phuturelabs, Compost Sessions, !K7 Flavour and Broken Ear. We’ll be out and about recording more live clubbing sessions over the summer too for our Homeclubbing feature and securing a handful of special and exclusive guest mixes from some of Glasgow’s most respected club nights and DJs.

Mogwai Rock Action Podcast 1 by Radio Magnetic on Mixcloud

Dougal: We’ve been getting our hands dirty under the bonnet of the site too, playing with the code and making some behind the scenes improvements which you’ll see in the site over coming months. Like you, we’re keen to keep the site evolving and are keen to hear feedback and suggestions from our listeners.

Any more musical highlights we should be looking forward to?

Andy: All of the above! And hopefully Chas and Dave will reform and we’ll be the first to get them recorded doing their greatest hits live. That would be dope.

Dougal: Apart from Andy’s pub skiffle obsession, we’ve got an ever increasing archive of exclusive live sessions and DJ mixes and we’re working on making as much of it as possible available on the site. Keep an eye on Radio Magnetic for some rare treats over the summer.

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