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Virtual Local Radio scheme launches with BBC Radio Northampton

The scheme will see local radio stations pool resources

The BBC is attempting to reduce costs with the Virtual Local Radio (ViLoR) scheme which will see audio stored and streamed from a centralised location, starting with BBC Radio Northampton.

Editorial teams will still have full control of the basic utilities but the audio will be stored and streamed from elsewhere.

Geoff Woolfe and the BBC Technology team aimed to solve the problem of having to update and maintain aging technology throughout its local radio sites.

BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Essex and BBC Three Counties Radio are already on board.

ViLoR will ensure audio format consistency throughout the broadcaster’s back catalogue and will also increase the portability of BBC radio teams if the concept is further developed.

Peter Coles, interim CTO for the BBC, said: “This is an excellent example of BBC innovation helping us find new, lower cost and more flexible ways of providing the technology our programme makers need to deliver great local radio to our audiences from the local community.

“I’m sure we’ll see the industry begin to adopt a similar approach. We’ll continue to test and iterate the technology to help shape future plans before we decide whether to roll the system out across additional BBC Local Radio stations.”

Jess Rudkin, managing editor for BBC Radio Northampton, said: “Not only do our new studios and software make it even easier for us to create high quality programmes and give us new editorial options, they can also be installed in almost any building: ideal for radio which prides itself on being so close to its audience.”

The remaining three stations are to follow BBC Radio Northampton's lead over the next nine months.

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