Annika Lorienne & Ravind Kumar Empower Global ‘Connective Listening’

“You’re listening to Sonic Stir Fry with Jen on WMCX ‘The X’ 88.9 FM: ‘New Jersey’s Home for Modern Rock with an Edge.’ Flag me @SonicStirFry on RadioFlag to request a song or just to say hi, comment, and provide any news tips.”

Ah… Those words, frequently repeated in various combinations, along with others bring back fond memories of four years well spent in college radio. [Cue nostalgic music.] From interviews with many high-profile people and coverage of election returns — especially the 2012 presidential election in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which received acknowledgement from RadioFlag — to giving station tours to kids and readiness to press the dump button at all times, college radio was a dose of fun ownership done awesomely!

But wait. Did you think, Huh? Radio what? Flag? What does that mean?

RadioFlag is social radio. Well, what is that? Think: social media meets online streaming radio, generally live-streaming. Terrestrial stations (AM/FM airwave frequencies) as well as iStations (internet) broadcast on RadioFlag. In fact, RadioFlag was the first to give international radio stations internet call signs.

“Flag” or “flag me” are coined terms thrown around the RadioFlag community while engaging in the mantra of ‘Connective Listening’, an inspiring call to action. A flag is defined as a 140-character message, used by members of the RadioFlag community to interact. DJs and fellow listeners flag each other, and these flags may be shared on Facebook and Twitter. RadioFlag launched regionally from college radio station KUCI on the University of California, Irvine campus in April 2011. It launched on a national scale when it was named the first official app for the inaugural College Radio Day in October 2011.

On April 11, TEDxNavesink 2015: Accelerators speakers Annika Lorienne and Ravind Kumar will share how and why RadioFlag’s mission, to catalyze radio to better entertain, educate, and enlighten people around the world, has been globally received, adopted, and is affecting society. As two of the company’s founding team members, they can attest to the powerful impact of social radio and how it relates to the title of their talk: “Radio for an Empowered Generation.”

At RadioFlag, Annika serves as the director of public relations and Kumar is a manager of radio relations and business development. When asked what brought them to the company, Annika replied, “When the idea of RadioFlag was first shared with me, I was instantly drawn to it because I could see it was something that had the potential to connect like-minded ideas and interests globally, and it felt like there could be many expansive, positive, and empowering ramifications that could come out of it.”

Annika describes herself as an investigative and exploratory person: “I thrive in environments that pair new thought ideas with committed action; that is, ideas that serve to discover new ways, reveal things, and support positive change.” Her eclectic background and family history include a variety of careers: “I have done everything from rehabilitating and training horses, managing ranches, and feeding baby calves on a dairy farm to marketing and sales, working as a pregnancy massage therapist and longevity writer, working in the wine industry, and teaching yoga.” One of Annika’s most memorable experiences was being asked to join the Robert Mondavi Winery, and she soon became a wine sommelier and brand ambassador. “I was then invited to assist with the launch of their new project in partnership with Disney and later selected to present to Disney’s executive team, including CEO Michael Eisner. I was the only presenter, so it was pretty surreal.”

While in college, Kumar was a DJ with his own show (sounds very familiar, if I do say so myself…wink, wink). He has been attracted to technology since middle school, when he first helped his dad with their home computer repairs. Early on he sensed that something related to programming was his end goal. Since then, he has had experience as a technical writer and as a business analyst. As of TEDxNavesink 2015 event day onward, Kumar will officially become the director of business development at RadioFlag.

As for Kumar’s reasons for coming onboard with RadioFlag, he said, “It was a natural match. Radio presented a medium very different from static-print media, and RadioFlag’s platform allowed me to interact with my listeners in a way that allowed my show to evolve from a one-way talking box to a two-way discussion of important developments in technology around the world.” His role in the company was most personally felt when he was given ownership stake: “I was 21 when RadioFlag invited me to join their team and, soon thereafter, as an official equity member. That’s pretty young to have that kind of responsibility, and it has been a sobering but proud part of who I am.”

Reflecting on the impact of their work, Kumar mentioned, “I was pleasantly surprised to see that as we began to reach out to college, community, and independent stations and DJs, that their listeners would often seek to connect and join their favorite hosts on the air and provide feedback. In the current age of digital media, the idea of listening to the radio on a smartphone is a natural one, and being able to engage in social sharing and interactivity while listening is an easy extension of the listening experience.”

Annika mused, “My expectations for ‘social radio’ remain extensive because we are the first to socialize authentic radio in a ‘Connective Listening’ manner. The fact that traditional radio was the first electronic social media which has stood the test of time, and still remains the most consumed medium globally, we felt like it was time for a radio renaissance, so we sought out to give it a modern twist.”

Annika continued, “Mobile devices have become even more available than running water in some parts of the world, and it’s also a foreshadowing of things to come. I believe [the ideas behind social radio] line up with what new generation listeners across the globe are searching for: global/social connectivity and real-time access to the freshest and most original entertainment and information of interest to them.”

Speaking of real-time access, with the gracious and generous support from RadioFlag, TEDxNavesink is pleased to announce the unprecedented launch of its own iStation: iNAVE. Available on computer and mobile device, the RadioFlag app is free to access or download and to create a user account. Check out our growing content on iNAVE, and add your voice to foster ‘Connective Listening’ by flagging us @TEDxNavesink. Don’t worry about having to leave the room, or deciding whether to “hold it in” — doing so goes against medical advice, anyway. Take the conference with you, and don’t miss a second.

Be part of the empowered generation using social radio to accelerate communication and positive change, and attend TEDxNavesink 2015: Accelerators. Click here to get your tickets today before they’re sold out — and remember to include the evening dinner reception at historic Wilson Hall, where more connections can be made. Tuning in to iNAVE is great, but nothing compares to experiencing a TEDx event in person!

JennHom1In addition to serving on the curation team as its curation manager, Jennifer Hom also serves on the marketing team as its marketing analyst and a content contributor, sometimes functioning as the liaison between both teams. This is her second TEDxNavesink event as a volunteer. Previously, she served on the marketing team as a social media manager and live reported during the 2014: Play event. When not seeking a full-time job, Jen can be found advocating various causes and regularly volunteering for different non-profit organizations. A vegetarian since 1998, she is a lover of the arts, service, and sustainability. For more on Jen, please click here.

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