Sunday 10 July 2011

Now Playing: July 2011

Mainly this month I've been listening to...

It's a very very US focus right now, with a definite nod to great songs. I've been looking forward to the Bon Iver album since the stunning For Emma, Forever Ago was released a couple of years back. It doesn't disappoint, and will undoubtedly make many album-of-the-year lists.. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins collaboration can only be described as beautiful. Thanks to All Songs Considered for introducing it to me. I missed The Antlers when there was some online buzz around their last album Hospice, but this new one is gorgeous and will get them many new fans.

I was nervous about whether Fleet Foxes would disappoint with their second album. The first record was such a stand out album, I wondered if they'd ever be able to do anything as good again. I needn't have worried, the second release is every bit as good, and moves the sound on to new areas. Nothing on The Low Anthem's third release has the impact of To Ohio/Charlie Darwin from their first, and has a church-like feel to it, probably due to it being recorded in an old pasta sauce factory, but it's still very good.

The Tallest Man On Earth, aside from the rather bizarre name, is a must. A young Swedish singer songwriter who plays a mean acoustic guitar and sounds like early Bob Dylan (better, in fact). On paper it doesn't sound too good. In truth it's stunning. Check this backstage recording from Later with Jools.

Lastly, I'm still learning to love the latest Sufjan Stevens album. Yes I know, it came out ages ago. But it's a long, complicated and not an easy record to get into. I think I've tipped over from not really getting it to really really liking it. Better late than never.

Bon Iver - "Bon Iver"

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - "Diamond Mine"

The Antlers - "Burst Apart"

Fleet Foxes - "Helplessness Blues"

The Low Anthem - "Smart Flesh"

The Tallest Man On Earth - "The Wild Hunt"

Sufjan Stevens - "The Age of Adz"

Saturday 9 July 2011


Photo of BBC Broadcast Centre: Graham Tait
So I didn't plan it like this. Three months ago I was set to leave both Audio & Music interactive and as a result, the BBC. I felt the need to move on from that role for several reasons which I won't detail here, and at that stage it felt like leaving the BBC would be the best option. But then I wasn't aware then of the massive opportunity that was just round the corner. The chance to lead the evolution of one of the BBC's ten digital products, and to immerse myself fully in the bit of my old role that I felt most passionate about (discovering and making great audience facing sites/services/products), was one I couldn't ignore.

So after a lengthy recruitment process I'm very happy to say that my new role is as Executive Product Manager for Radio and Music, in BBC Future Media, Programmes On Demand, or FM POD for short. Bit of a mouthful I know. I'm joining an existing team with many very talented people and an inspiring leadership team already working on the new product, but after just one week I'm quietly confident that I'm going to really enjoy this next phase.

BBC Broadcast Centre photo: R/DV/RS

I could be accused of post-rationalisation here, but in many ways I feel that I've been a product manager for ages in the sense that I have spent the last ten years creating products for national radio stations and the BBC's music output, but we didn't have that job title back then. Now that it's a recognized and highly valued role within Future Media and right across the industry it feels that I'm now in the right place.