Programming Radio Me: a manifesto

Today’s channel choice is all and none. With near-universal access to data in the developed world, we carry around a single channel at all times, but we do not have full control. We propose a new view of on-demand audio entertainment - Radio Me.

We believe that the future of spoken audio lies in the hands of the community, and that we must seize the initiative to ensure that our world of rich, vibrant voices continues to grow and thrive. This is our proposal, our manifesto to help make that happen.

The content we listen to on Radio Me is intensely personal, but at the same time limited by accessibility and convenience. We want to listen, not necessarily actively curate. Podcasts are, for the most part, curated. They require active participation. Streaming does not, but tends not to include spoken audio. To keep our voices heard, we propose the following four points of belief and action:

We believe in the power of the spoken word

We believe in its ability to inspire creativity, provoke thought, engage interest and entertain everyone, young and old. We believe that every voice has a place, and that by sharing the diversity of our voices we grow stronger.

We believe that the spoken word deserves a place in our world, and we commit ourselves to promoting and preserving the voices of the people.

We believe in the freedom of choice

As a culture, we stand at a turning point. On one hand, we live in a time of unprecedented information sharing and near limitless interpersonal communication. On the other, our audible world has become increasingly homogenized as soundbites, syndication and streaming replace interpersonal discussion and niche voices.

We believe that diversity should not be drowned out by market forces, even as we acknowledge that we are as responsible creating this situation. We have embraced convenience, and as a result many smaller voices have been neglected.

We resolve to fix this, not by rejecting convenience, but by embracing it. Just as the fireside storyteller became the radio host, the podcaster must evolve.

Radio Me represents three fundamental freedoms:

  • Freedom to choose the content we want to hear
  • Freedom to choose the providers that deliver it
  • Freedom to choose the topics that interest us

We believe in accessibility & fairness

We believe that Radio Me should be open, accessible and fair. We must be able to find and access the content we want, and at the same time know that the creators are acknowledged and compensated fairly for their work.

We believe that it is our responsibility as a community to ensure that our content is discoverable, easily shareable, and properly attributed. We believe that all efforts should be made to make content universally accessible - through voice-to-text transcription, automatic translation, and multi-format delivery.

We believe that content creators deserve fair and timely compensation for their work, and should not be held to ransom by predatory corporate interests. It is fair for a distribution network to be compensated for the service they provide, but the interests of their shareholders should not go trump the right of the creator to make a living.

We believe in the future of spoken audio

By becoming part of the future, we preserve our past, and keep our voices vibrant into the future. We stand for everybody who has listened with love to bedtime stories, with intensity to teachers, and with interested amusement to commentators and pundits. We stand for the spoken word, frivolous and serious, wise and naive.

We commit to building a spoken audio entertainment ecosystem to support Radio Me that is:

  • Open to all
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible

To achieve this, we commit to working together to develop the open source protocols, tags and formats we need to build a sustainable community for today, and tomorrow.

First published on: 2019-05-03

Last updated on: 2019-05-03

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