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Personalised Location Based Radio - The Community Hub

Innovative idea!

Music is a great connector, and relieves stress and loneliness. We have a pilot radio service called Blue Moon Radio in 4 care homes playing songs from 1927-1965. It has proved very popular, particularly during the Covid-19 lock-down. The platform is very flexible and we would like to adapt it for community use.

The service working well in care could be the model for a community service, and there are a number of features that make is potentially suitable to breaking down loneliness and isolation:

1. It plays music that is loved by the older members of the community, and not heard on any other radio stations.

2. It can have multiple channels, so play music for people who grew up outside the UK; South Asia, Poland, Carribean, Italy, China, etc.

3. It can be streamed via any Android, iOS, or Windows device, or Alexa. It requires a connection, but a 3G connection is fine.

4. We can add in short dedications recorded by family, friends, neighbours and local services.

5. We may be able to insert personal messages to an individual from their GP, health services, domiciliary care providers and local support service.

6. We may be able to link into other services; lift-share, food delivery, local chemists, local faith groups, etc.

If anyone has further ideas, advice, assistance, or would like to discuss this, please just say 'hi'.


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Siana Jones 11 months ago

Status label added: Innovative idea!

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Siana Jones 11 months ago

Another great idea @Gordon Anderson. I really like it. Is this something folk would have to pay for? or is it free? Do you have volunteer DJs or is the playlist automated?

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Gordon Anderson 11 months ago

Hi Siana,
There are no DJs it is a music and message stream. This makes it simpler and significantly lower cost to run.
The playlists are automated but easily altered on the server, for instance I currently mix in Christmas songs for the care homes in December, and carols on Christmas Day.
Commercially, yet to finalise this element? We can add in paid-for dedications into the stream? Relatives could contribute? Of it could be subscription based. Something that needs more work, but doable.

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Miroslava Katsur 10 months ago

Hi Gordon! This radio sounds very intriguing! If you don't mind, could you please explain the pdf file you attached here? Thanks in advance.

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Miroslava,

The PDF tries to present what we call a 'hub and spokes' structure to the radio ecosystem. The hub is the radio, delivered via a connected device. This enables us then to connect lots of other services into the radio feed - the spokes.

For instance; we know Sheila is listening to her Blue Moon Radio, so we can link selected services into her radio feed.
e.g. Her GP can send her a short reminder of a doctors appointment.
Her daughter can send a message reminding her that she left dinner in the fridge.
Her care visitor can send a message saying she will be there at 3pm.
Her church can send a message to say there is a coffee morning on Thursday.

By doing this Sheila is far more connected into her support community, and feels less isolated.

I hope this gives you an idea of how it might work. For people going through bereavement, or coming out of hospital, the platform could increase the connectivity levels to support people in times of need.

We have the radio, and we know we can insert messages. The rest is theoretical based on this, and with a view to building a pilot project to establish how it could work.

Thank you!

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Nattawan Utoomprurkporn 10 months ago

I really love the idea. The community support for people living with dementia in this difficult time is more important than ever.
Also the option to add in health promotion information ie. messages from their GP should be really nice reminder for the older adults.
I like the diagram attached which analyse the stakeholders for the project as well. Maybe the stakeholders can fine tune the playlists ie. their relative etc?

What do you think should be the next step for this platform?

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Nattawan,

Thank you for the support!

The next step is to run a local pilot of the full platform.
We have the radio, currently working in care, but it is the simple stream of great music. We can also add in the messages, but these are to everyone, not to an individual.
So we need to work with a GP surgery, and local council services, and select a cohort of people with care 'needs', involve their families where possible, and build the service inputs across the community that will support them. We will need to carry out some development on the platform, and also provide each pilot user with a device to play the radio.
There will also be a app, or a web-app, that enables selected services and individuals to 'post' messages to the radio feeds of individuals in the pilot.
There are GPRS issues, technical issues, and challenges in delivery, but I think all can be solved.

When it comes to the playlists, yes we would want the relatives and the individuals themselves to be able to shape their own playlists, to a certain extent.

Many thanks!

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Esther Hui 10 months ago

Hi Gordon, thanks so much for sharing this idea! Is this service going to be available soon? Will it be available in just the UK or other countries as well? Will it be free? How are songs selected?

I'm currently working on a teletherapy for people with mild to moderate dementia. Sometimes I struggle to incorporate music from the appropriate era, this tool would really be helpful!

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Hi Esther,

Thanks for the comments.
The platform could work anywhere in theory, it just takes access to the right catalogue of songs. Even in the UK we would benefit from having a broad catalogue of music, with South Asian songs, Carribean songs, Polish songs etc. so that we can support all our communities here.

When it comes to payment, someone will need to pay, but this may not be the end user. The music costs us in licensing, the platform in build and maintenance. It is likely we would work towards a per user license, and this could then be paid buy family, the local council, the NHS, or the user, depending on the circumstances.

I would love to help you incorporate music into your work. We are fortunate to work with the BBC Music Archive for our services. We select music based on the popularity when it was released, and the birth year of the user. Our catalogue runs from 1927-1963 for the Memory Tracks app, and to 1966 for the Radio. When working with people living with dementia we select music when they were between 3 and 12 years old, as these songs were heard when their brains were 'absorbing' everything, and the recall is strong. Also, childhood memories are the most resilient, and seem to survice the illness the longest.

Let me know if I can help bring music into your teletherapy work.


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Octavio Zamudio 10 months ago

Hi Gordon!

This is great. And truly a niche that was not exploited.
I see in the Blue Moon Radio pdf that it basically works, to some extent, like a radio social media.
I am missing the location-based context, but regardless. I see that this is already designed as an Alexa Skill. Does it work with Google Assistant and Siri too? Just curious, I don't think this is a must or a way to go, but it's interesting to know the capabilities.

Also, I think that it would be nice if the users, themselves, can request to send short messages or questions to connect with others that might have some similar memories. I think of it like somewhere where they can actively interact and share 1 minute experiences, some sort of Reddit, but on the radio.
Thanks for sharing this!

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Adrian Girling 7 months ago

I've only just spotted this idea and I think it's brilliant. It could be a business opportunity, but I'm wondering if it would work as a charity? Some kind of subscription service would be great to contribute to the development but once it has wide acceptance and usage the cost per subscriber would probably fall dramatically. Could this be something which raises money on something like kickstarter? Selling a number of months/years at a low price and asking people to contribute without expecting to be a listener? Whatever the path, please keep going with this one. Music is something which triggers happy memories of the time for people of all ages.

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