Interview: Pure Digital on the future of radio

From our perspective, we don't want to be beholden to third parties such as Receiva or Frontier or anybody else. To have to say, for example: "Hey we have this great idea for content – can you go away and have a conversation with X, Y and Z and please make it available on your portal? Oh, and hey, at the same time as doing that can you make it available to all of our competitors as well?"

So, that's effectively why we have done our own job, and why we are working very hard on the content for that: to make it an even more compelling proposition.

For me, as a listener, I find I dabble with a few niche stations on internet radio, but return to my favourite BBC and regional stations by habit.

Yeah, and I think that's perfectly reasonable. I'm the same and I have three connected radios and no shortage of DAB radios in the house. But with a connected radio you will find more stuff that is 'niche' and 'long-tail' – more [content] that's "oh, I think I want to listen to this now", rather than the mainstream habits of listening to your breakfast show, or something in the evening that's 'your thing' on the BBC.

We are all the same. And this is why I think it is important not to talk about a transition from DAB to internet – it's more of a case of the internet side of things augmenting the overall radio experience. Not replacing it.

Talking more specifically about your latest connected radio devices that have become available recently – the Evoke Flow and the Avanti Flow – the piano-black design on these is slightly different from the look of past Pure radios.

We actually debated that long and hard, because internally there were two camps. One camp said that because these were internet radio devices then they had to look completely different to what had come before and thus had to look brand new, unique and not like a radio. The other camp (my camp!) was saying that it absolutely has to look like a radio, because what we are doing here is not coming up with a gadget – and gadgets are all well and good for short-term business – but we are a radio company and what we should aim to do is make connected radio mainstream. And to make it mainstream you have to come up with something that appeals to real radio listeners. Not purely to early adopters.

So what we decided to do was to take our original DAB radio, the Evoke 1S, and modernise it. We added the black chrome, the touch-sensitive controls… so the Evoke Flow is pretty much the 'Evoke 1S on steroids'!

And for the Avanti Flow, the gist of that was that we haven't had a tabletop system before and we knew we wanted something that was very classy, very nice… And we wanted to bring the 'Flowness' of the Evoke Flow into this new type of device. So those two radios have a very similar look and feel. Other Flow products won't necessarily have that same 'gloss black and black chrome' approach, but it seems to have been a nice way to start and they've gone down very well with press and consumers so far.

Pure's original evoke-1s

With the Avanti Flow it seems you are moving into a market previously owned by the likes of Bang and Olufsen or Bose.

Yes, Bose was in our minds. We sat an Avanti Flow next to a Bose Wave Radio then did plenty of listening tests and we believe, from our perspective, that we offer a better listening experience. There's also a move away from conventional micro systems to these types of tabletop systems. And if the power is there – which it is with the 75W in the Avanti Flow – people are happy to have something that looks a bit classier than that 'three bricks in a row' type system that they have been forced to buy up until now.