IFC 2014: Unblocking Our Brains – So What Now?

So now that we all (well, some) of us agree that the radio documentary needs to enter the digital field: What exactly is it that prevents us from taking action?

  • Lack of insight: Many colleages and managers still have not yet understood that the digital revolution outreaches the one when radio emerged 90 years ago.
  • Lack of competence: Little abilities in digital matters, no common language and hence hardly any cooperation with multimedia producers.
  • Legal obstacles I: Many public broadcasters in Europe suffer from strict legal constrictions (no additional material online, non-linear distribution only during a short period of time, no use of social media etc.).
  • Legal obstacles II: Copyright issues (in music, in literature) prevent audio archives from being made accessible to the public (who paid for the content long ago).
  • Financial obstacles: Public funding is decreasing, especially for costly formats (such as radio drama and radio documentary).
  • Technical obstacles: New techniques and platforms emerge at high speed – social media, mobile apps, gamification, big data -; and there is no one to overlook that universe of mass-multi-new-cross-trans-social-hypermedia.
  • Lack of ideas: Many of us have worked for our radio stations for so long that it has become hard for us to imagine what might be possible even if there were no obstacles at all.

Yet, whatever we are going to do: “It is better to aim high and fail than aiming low and succeed”, as one colleague put it. Exclamation mark.

PS: This is my personal summary as a radio journalist and a multimedia producer. If you disagree, drop me a line, and we will sort it out. It has been a fabulous conference, there were brilliant pieces to be listened to, and above all there were you, the most gifted, creative, passionate radio makers there are. Whenever we will meet again, I do look forward to it.

Yours, Thomas

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