John Peel Day on Flickr and the BBC Homepage

 by Martin Belam, 14 October 2005

Yesterday was "John Peel Day", which shared top-billing on the BBC homepage with Margaret Thatcher's birthday on the homepage.

John Peel promo on the BBC homepage

The Radio One site has got heaps of content from around the day - and you can listen again to the John Peel show. One thing that really caught my eye was the prominence given to gathering together photos from events all around the country.

If you've got photos of your the gigs you've been putting on, we'd love to see them! This link will take you to Flickr: Upload your photos now!
John Peel Day on the Radio 1 site

I was so impressed that they decided to simply link to a John Peel Day Flickr group. Two years ago if you had wanted to make a real-time gallery of user-generated photos on a BBC site, we probably wouldn't have done it - too many questions, what about the moderation, what about the risk, etc etc. A year ago we *might* have done it, but maybe we would have tried to build a closed photo submission site similar to the A Picture Of Britain site and had moderators on hand to check the submissions. This year the Radio 1 team just linked out to Flickr, which is brilliant.

It is really heartening to see the BBC site become more open to being involved with using these kind of external sites and applications to connect the BBC's audience with each other, and perhaps more importantly, to connect our audience with these kind of services.


'Tis amazing indeed - I wouldn't ever have thought that the BBC would be brave enough to do that, even most other organisations like it wouldn't...

This is huge, and yet small. Finally, the so called grown ups are behaving like grown ups.

FYI - we just had a staff photography competition spun out of the fact the staff couldn't enter the 'Picture of Britain' comp It was all done on flickr and got a two page special in Ariel. I was a judge and encountered people, photography people who shall remain nameless, who'd never heard of Flickr let alone used it. Sometimes we really earn the name new media...

Frankie - btw: The Guardian did it during the Election and it didn't work that well.

I think this was a perfect move for R1 as it fitted well with the whole bottom up approach of John Peel day. The 300 gigs were organised by local promoters in the UK and elsewhere without much diktat by Radio One beyond decent notification that they would celebrate ,endorse and importantly reflect that activity. Which they did in spades.

Also it might seem amazing as the BBC has been struggling with overcoming internet insularity for many years. (Disclosure: i work there but that is the usual external criticism) But whats the difference to linking to an external site with gig pictures, than to having a BBC sponsored event with 300 "external gigs" that you talk about and talk up on the radio. Sometimes we forget that big media and its historical activity can be more decentralised than the walled gardens of their new media arm(s).

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