‘Think Tank is here’
The International Think Tank Leipzig develops fast and promisingly and I shall keep you informed about all steps of it.
- UPD 28/1: Exciting two days, a fascinating round of devoted radio makers, thrilling discussions. But questions remain.
- UPD 27/1: follow the ‘ThinkTank’ photo’s
- UPD 27/1: follow the ‘ThinkTank updates’ by Twitter @IFC_radio
- UPD 25/1: All nutshells we receive from now onwards will not be distributed by this web site anymore but instead will be put on to the blog for the International Think Tank Leipzig. You may continue the dialogue by commenting on the blog, all nutshells from the very beginning you will find there and of course all new ones.
It is also linked from the webpage of PRIX EUROPA
20/1- Overture nutshell no 3 by Kari Hesthamar, NRK
In short – the way of distributing the stories is in rapid change, but the interest for good stories and important topics never change.”
In most of my 40 years of radio-making feature has been a wide, solid, well-bordered road – coming from the past and (with necessary repairs and improvements now and then) leading into a mere endless future. For myself, “feature” and “future” have been synonymous words. The highway called Feature had a variety of different lanes, but in general the direction was rather common sense.
Since a couple of years feature-people, more or less confused, are gathering at a crossroad with road signs in many directions. Inscriptions say: “Programs On Demand”, “Interactive Formats”, “User Generated Contents”, “Back to the good old Factional Documentary”, “Investigative Concepts”, “Faction” or “Docu-Fiction”, “Interactivity”, “High End for Audio Freaks” etc. – lots of Stairways to Heaven – and all of them fading away in a distance, swallowed by the mist of our unknown medial future.
As an AUTHOR with a singular voice, own points of view and certain aesthetic preferences I’m asking myself : Which of those diversions will offer the best chances for my professional survival and for what I understand as “radio feature” or “extended journalism” in general ? My personal aim is to rescue the CORE of all that. Those essentials are: Single voices (First person singular) amongst the medial cacophony; the fantasy stimulating strength of sound in it’s own rights – no multi-medial applications and distractions for example; radical debate–provoking positions; personal languages and elaborated text & sound-compositions.
I’m excited by new possibilities and helpful tools in the process of radio-making (which I use excessively, “being digital” since 1995). But: The medium is NOT the message. And I refuse to consider myself as an appendix of industry-steered “social” trends of communication.
In all those years -until yesterday- is there still a huge fear of many authors to submit their work digitally.
I’ve heard: “Do not, because anyone can do with it what he wants, …” or: “No, I do not want to, because I have the rights …” or: “I lost control over MY work …“.
Fortunately there are exceptions. Authors who think ahead, without fear!
But if it continues with a few exceptions, as for years, then we have serious problem.
Developments (2012 and further) are not hopefull.
In recent months are important international worldwide and local websites, with (legal) access for sharing creative work, prohibited because complaints from authors!
I think a fruitful discussion have purposes, only if authors are willing to set aside their whining, their childish fear and (latest) prefer to close digital share- platforms and -websites.
Call: Authors (feature makers included) come on!
Be careful, before you make a ‘museum piece only’ of yourself.
What challenges does this fact give us?
That distribution on new platforms is important. We need to find new ways of reaching people where they actually are.
The problems of meeting this development is tied to getting the rights from the artist’s organizations.
Another question: Will distribution on new platforms demand other kinds of production, other types of genre, other types of drama? The media is the form? That we do not know yet.
What the net can offer and which might be of interest is the interactive possibilities with the listeners, which again can affect the form.
Also, all the affectionados now have access to equipment to record and edit radiodrama. And they have the means to distribute it. This might lead to competition, but also to a renaissance for the radiodrama.
All these words related to crafted radio: documentaries, features, horspiel, creation…
This feeling in prizes as Europa, Italia, URTI, Longueur d’ondes (in Brest) than we are a small team in the whole world on the same road made of voices, sounds, humanity, composition…
When we broadcast it is also to reveal to someone ear the secrets lying under the sounds, there is a topic, perhaps a story but also a mystery. “Thunderclap and sound of wings ” to quote René Farabet.
It’s a place where soul is beating, where the path is elaborated to share a creation.
Today documentaries may have a life outside of FM broadcast, in Radio France we offer podcast during seven days and listening in streaming on our site during 500 days.
These documentaries are making for some of our listeners a sound library. And we try to make it by adapting author’s right with the french society called SCAM.
There is also 5.1 and binaural diffusion.
I just comme back from a presentation by our multimedia department of a piece of sounds made in Tlemcen , registered in 5.1 and diffused with drawings.
Are we ready and do we want this metamorphosis.
Sorry for my bad english
The big challenge stems from the audience: shortening attention span, multi-tasking, impatience with programmes that ‘don’t deliver quickly’ and the loss of ‘radio culture’ amongst key future demographics (15-35 year-olds) threaten future health. Many of this group simply don’t own a radio, even a DAB set. The absence of radio devices on certain platforms (especially smartphones) is a serious threat. Despite the advantages of podcasts – and they are in the ascendant – in a noisy marketplace, the quiet seriousness of sustained feature-making of up to one hour in length is necessarily going to be a luxury that fewer people will wish to enjoy. We need to find forms and approaches to both editorial and technological challenges that respond to those needs.
Some remarks :
– On the internet you find a lot of literature about the position and challenges of radio within the digital universe and multimedia environment.
– Radio seems to remain a device that still defends itself well and the number of web radio’s is overwhelming.
– This interest in radio might be based basically on commercial grounds, on the social and cultural mission of public broadcasting organizations and on the mission of community radios.
– In the debate about radio in the multimedia context radio feature does not to seem a frequent topic.
Basic assets of the traditional radio feature :
– oral history
– the voice of the citizen
– reports on changes in people and society (social relevance)
– marriage between information and aesthetics
– using the stylistics and grammar of the medium radio
New possibilities since multimedia applications :
– increased access to programmes ( when and where you want)
– worldwide distribution
– on a lot of different devices (Arte-radio)
– meta information about topic, people, place via endless amount of links.
– adding visuals, now-playing information, latest news-headlines, etc
– creation “communities” around broadcasters, programmes and programme makers
– interactivity / active input and feedback from media users
– reaching new audiences for audio through the other media ( Le Monde –website presents the highlights of the main morning radio news shows)
– radio could invest more time and energy to catch extra audiences through other devices
– radio feature makers could offer more formats adapted to other channels and slots than the traditional ones ( many already do but do not present this shorter and more humble part of their work to international competitions such as Prix Europa)
– there seems to be a lack of reflection and initiative on these new challenges from the part of the broadcasting managers , and therefore,
– radio feature makers do not feel the urge to explore new ways of production, programming and distributing, as their managers do not ask them for
– one consolation : the best programmes or formats have been invented by creative people, not waiting for demands from the management, but with a great feeling for innovation, originality and the often not outspoken wishes and interests of the public.
– We could more often offer excerpts of our features to other media
– Via the web, your radio documentary isn’t any more a stand alone programme, but is linked to a lot of other media production on the same topic, target group, etc.
– Features from the past can be updated anytime via links on internet
– Producing a radio series ( like VPRO Radio in 7 parts on new China), feedback from listeners can influence the next episodes.
but : – immense choice and freedom for media use versus
media user who expects professionals to offer well ready made, relevant, pleasant
programmes ( propose me, inform me, seduce me). “I cannot seduce myself”.
– internet is a chaotic jungle. Please guide me.
– the aim is not re-inventing existing media ( ex. radio on the web, with some pictures
video’s = re-inventing television, at its worst)
– any merge of media into a new multi-media production should be based on the
professional qualities of the makers. Don’t expect a talented radio maker to get the same
excellent results as a television maker. At least , this is not obvious.
– quotation from ? : “broadcast radio delivers mass audiences. Do the small niche stuff on the internet”
– aren’t there any limits to the capacity of consumption for the media user?
– we should take care not to move from a personal story , told by the programme maker, to a a jungle of links and feeds (Wikipedia)
– one medium might be more suitable to tell a story, another to facilitate collective gathering of information.
– radio is excellent for storytelling, but too linear and too instant consuming for dee contextualization. The encyclopedia function fits much better to internet.
– radio over the television is more popular than over the internet
– another quote : “ there is no time for nostalgia”
“ there’s always a step backward”