Happy birthday, American public broadcasting!
“At its best, public television would help make our Nation a replica of the old Greek marketplace, where public affairs took place in view of all the citizens.”
-President Lyndon B. Johnson
On this day in 1967, LBJ signed the Public Broadcasting Act (S.1160).
Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson delivering remarks prior to the signing in the East Room of the White House. November 7, 1967.
Read the full remarks at the American Presidency Project.
-from the LBJ Library
A look at how small town radio stations in Indiana are thriving by going back to basics like remotes from car dealerships and locally hosted shows.
— A tale of how radio is used in rural Arkansas, a place where only 1 in 5 people have internet connections, according to this Associated Press story. (Source)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
To honour the land of my family and my birth, let’s look at the first radio broadcasts in the Irish Free State.
The Irish public broadcaster, now called RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann), first broadcast on January 1, 1926. You can hear that first broadcast on RTÉ’s website. It’s a neat clip, despite being rather crackly, and in Irish. The broadcast features Douglas Hyde, the future President of Ireland and a scholar of the Irish language.
Then listen to Jimmy Mahon talk about his experiences in the early days of Irish radio.
"We had an amplifier, a huge bloomin’ thing… We had to hire a microphone if we had anything special. We had to hire a microphone from Standard Telephones. An inspector had to go for that, they wouldn’t give it to the ordinary Joe."
Then have a Guinness! (Or at least have a pack of Tayto and some Cadbury Buttons.)
Have you guys seen Pontypool?
It’s a Canadian zombie movie set in a small-town Ontario radio station. And it’s as great as that sounds. (Which is really great!)
This is the big, weird, wild, awesome building in Paris designed by Henry Bernard to house public broadcaster Radio France.
Film-maker Nicolas Philibert is releasing a documentary about the ins and outs of Radio France and the people who work there, appropriately titled La Maison de la Radio.
See some stills from the movie here
Read Variety’s review here
Listen to Radio France here
The Knight News Challenge has awarded $330,000 to an oral history app called Thread.
In a thank-you speech, Thread co-found Kacie Kinzer explained the impetus for creating the app, saying “Everybody has these stories, every body has stories big and small—significant and mundane—that shape their families, shape their understanding. Our families, in some ways, are our stories.”
Kinzer says the project came together out of an “urgent sense of need and personal goal of capturing these family stories.”
She and the other founders want the technology to be simple to use and as unobtrusive as possible. Sticking professional-grade recording tools in your mom’s face can take her out of the moment and she might tell the story of her 30th birthday surprise party like she was telling it to some stranger.
I’m not totally sure how a mobile or tablet app will fix that problem. A recorder’s a recorder’s a recorder. Right? Though I suppose using a ubiquitous tool like an iPad could mean it’s that bit easier to ignore. And that’s the goal of Thread, from what I can see: ignore the technology and focus on replicating the natural rhythms of telling stories at the kitchen table.
— And other advice for radio makers new and not-so-new at Transom
“In terms of speed and the breadth of material now accessible to anyone in the world, this is really revolutionary,” says audio curator Greg Budney, describing a major milestone just achieved by the Macaulay Library archive at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All archived analog recordings in the collection, going back to 1929, have now been digitized and can be heard at www.MacaulayLibrary.org
"Now that we’ve digitized the previously archived analog recordings, the archival team is focusing on new material from amateur and professional recordists from around the world to really, truly build the collection,” Budney said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun to listen to these sounds. Have you heard the sound of a walrus underwater? It’s an amazing sound.”