2021 Sessions

A podcast that makes itself, a radio station without a building, and a plan to send digital radio signals across South Africa - Radio TechCon has it all.
Side view of Stephanie Hirst on stage in front of the Radio TechCon 2019 audience
Credit: Vincent Lo

Radio TechCon 2021 takes place on Monday, 29th November 2021, online.


This is an archive page. For full details of this year’s Radio TechCon, please go to radiotechcon.com

Radio TechCon 2021 – Full programme

Audience at Radio TechCon 2018
Credit: Vincent Lo

10:00 Welcome to Radio TechCon 2021

David Lloyd presenting Radio TechCon 2017

Our host, David Lloyd, welcomes you and explains how to make the most of our virtual platform.

Photo credit: Rupert Brun

10:05 A Talented Future for Radio

How do we attract new talent to broadcast engineering – and how do we make them stay?

Engineers-to-be have some much choice when it come to Apprenticeships. Broadcast engineering companies are competing with the likes of Google and Facebook, as well as related industries with higher pay. So how do we attract new talent to radio? And what do we need to do to ensure newer engineers stay?

Dilani Selvanathan began her career at the BBC before moving to work in other fields. She has already been recognised by the IET for her work in encouraging young people into engineering. She shares her insights about what we’re getting right – and what our industry needs to do to attract the engineering talent of the future.

10:20 Covering South Africa with Digital Sounds

How do you cover a country with a land area 5 times that of the UK with Digital Radio?

At 1.22 million sq kilometres, providing adequate radio coverage presents significant challenges.

After some years of deliberation the South African authorities have announced that they will introduce Digital Radio to their country. This will be achieved by a unique combination of Digital Radio Mondial and EU147 DAB digital platforms. These two digital broadcast standards will provide both the long range and local coverage that this vast country requires.

Aldred Dreyer from the SA DRM Group and Radu Obreja from the DRM Consortium tell the story of their contribution to this massive undertaking.

10:40 Boom without a Box

The team at Boom Radio decided to build a radio station …with no studios, no buildings and no racks room and at the height of a national lockdown when visits to presenters’ homes weren’t possible. 

Hear how Boom Radio solved an alphabet soup of technical and human challenges, from Acoustics to Zetta, and launched one of the most successful new stations in recent years.

11:50 Unmixing: Having Your Cake AND the Ingredients

A man and a woman face away from us as they sit on the sofa and point their remote at a large television. Credit: Fraunhofer

Next Generation Audio (NGA) allows speech and other sounds to be kept separate until the final mix is created in the consumer device, enabling a range of personalisation options. But a great deal of ready-mixed content already exists, and new content is seldom created with different sounds kept separate. To offer the benefits of NGA within existing workflows we need to ‘unmix’ the audio. Our speakers will explain how this source separation is achieved using artificial intelligence techniques. They will then tell us how well it actually works!

Photo credit: Fraunhofer

12:15 How to be an Active Bystander

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to challenge someone’s behaviour – but you didn’t know how to do it or what to say? Former BBC 5 Live editor and LBC Programme Director Scott Solder delivers this short Active Bystander training session which aims to help delegates across the Radio TechCon community to challenge poor behaviours which may have become normalised over time. The session includes self-coaching techniques to help you keep a cool head when you’re faced with a challenging situation – and assertive language devices which you can use to make sure your voice is heard if you want to raise a concern.

12:45 Smarter Syndication – A Tale of Splits, Sockets and Carson Daly

How can a syndicated show be recorded and delivered differently in 2021 to allow each station taking the show to have a bespoke version?

Gav Richards is the host of 10 Most Wanted, a nightly syndicated chart show with a difference – each station that takes the show gets a their own station namechecks, mentions of the local area and presenters and can run to time with whatever requirements the station has. This is all achieved through a system developed by Gav which we’ll get to see in action and learn more of the concepts involved.

14:05 Neutrinowatch: The Ever-Changing Podcast

Neutrinowatch is a podcast that uses Python code behind the scenes so each episode changes a little each day. Martin will play some excerpts to show how this works in practice, and demo some of the code that makes the podcast tick.

14:20 From Concrete Mixing to Music Mixes

A concrete skeleton of a building being constructed by cranes with a black and white East Bank sign in front. Photo credit: BBC.

Construction has begun at BBC East Bank, the new music recording studio complex.

Jamie Laundon will give some brief updates of what’s happening: Standby for photos of cranes and concrete, plus how to pick a multipin audio connector?

Photo credit: BBC

14:30 Mini-Masterclass: Latency – the talk you’ve been waiting for!

Our Mini-Masterclasses give you a refresher of the basics of an engineering topic and then move you onto more advanced concepts in half an hour.

Latency has become especially topical over the last couple of years!

When working at a distance we are faced with technological and performative processes that disrupt synchronisation. Limitations and constraints that might cause frustration can in fact be exploited for new creative strategies for musicians, broadcasters, podcasters and other producers of time-based media that not only accommodate the inconveniences of latency and acoustic feedback but can help us adapt and transform how we engage in real-time online.

15:00 Unwrapping BBC Maker Box

An artistic representation of a green volcano, with yellow sky and wavy clouds and a rainbow of cuddles about to bubble out as the steam rises from the crater.

Having developed new tools the BBC wants to share what it’s learned with the community looking to innovate at the leading edge of broadcasting. Laura Harrison from BBC R&D explains the MakerBox platform, where there are currently six tools available for you to try…

Photo credit: BBC

15:55 Check Out My Tune

Regina Chandrand - Asian woman with long, dark hair and glasses wearing a spring green shalwar kameeze as she sits to play her electric guitar.

Music editing software has a Western music bias, and Regina Balachanthiran would like to solve it. Hear how she created her own plugin to handle Indian music ragas, and put your own tonal detection skills to the test!

16:15 LBC’s Latest Brilliant Creation

LBC Millbank studio with Swarbrick on Sunday branding. Credit: Global

Global Engineers Jon Crew and Ioana Barbu, along with Will Batchelor, LBC’s Studio Video Producer, show you behind the scenes of Global’s Video and Radio studio located at 4 Millbank. They’ll show you how it was built, how the requirements suddenly changed during lockdown and the work that’s gone on in the last 18 months to perfect the workflow and get the very best out of the technology and content.

Photo credit: Global

16:40 There’ll be a Quiz at the end

Stephanie Hirst presenting the quiz

Stephanie Hirst returns to host our interactive end-of-TechCon quiz. She’ll be looking to see who was really paying attention, and awarding prizes to the winners!

Photo credit: Vincent Lo

What else can I see and do?

As well as giving you access to all our sessions, your ticket includes:

  • Access to the virtual lounges and networking roulette, where you can meet friends old and new – just like you would at an in-person TechCon!
  • The chance to meet our Sponsors in their virtual exhibition booths – representatives will be available so you can watch the latest product demonstrations, ask questions and have a private meeting if necessary.
  • Most of our Speakers will be spending the day with us, so you can find out more from them during the breakouts.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certification, accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (the IET).
  • A goody box – and cake! UK-based delegates who register before midday on the 19th November will be sent a goody box as well as our traditional engineers’ tea.
  • Virtual bar – we’ll extend the networking into the evening so you can relax with engineering buddies and enjoy your favourite drink (or two).

We look forward to welcoming you on Monday, 29th November 2021!

Two men enjoying a cup of tea at Radio TechCon 2017
Credit: Vincent Lo

Radio TechCon reserves the right to amend the programme if necessary.