NYF Radio Awards: Spotlight on Best Advice

New York Festivals 2018 Radio Awards celebrates the award-winning content created by global  content creators and broadcast executives dedicated to providing outstanding content to their listeners.

From trophy-winning digital content, podcasts and audio books, live events, dramas and documentaries, breaking news coverage, multi-genre music specials, sound art, and promos from around the globe, NYF’s Radio Awards celebrates the World’s Best Radio Programs.

This week’s Spotlight features a round-table discussion with trophy-winning broadcast executives: Anna Maria Tremonti, Host of The Current, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Edith Bowman, broadcaster and writer, host of Soundtracking; Thomas Black, narrator/producer of RTÉ Radio 1’s documentary “007, The Irish Connection”; Jody Avirgan, producer/host of ESPN’s 30 For 30 podcasts; Liliana Manna, journalist for Radio Rivadavia Argentina; and Sue Zizza, Owner of SueMedia Productions, adjunct member of the Tisch Film School and Program Chair of the HEAR Now Festival.

NYF: Do you have any advice for people just starting out in radio? What’s the best advice some shared with you?

Anna Maria Tremonte

Anna Maria Tremonti: My advice for anyone in journalism – radio or beyond – is to stay curious. Curiosity will give you a long career – without it, no matter how talented or clever you are, your journalism will eventually suffer. Curiosity is what makes you look around corners others ignore, it is what prompts you to ask a follow-up question, and it is what drives you to knock on one more door. Also – never forget that the story belongs to those in the thick of it: listen to them, capture the sounds around them, be open to hearing things you might not anticipate.

Thomas Black: My only advice is to find a subject matter that you are truly passionate about as this will see you through those tough moments when you feel you are getting nowhere and also work with great co-producer.

Edith Bowman: The best advice I can give you from my own experience is to not take no for an answer, if you believe in yourself and know you have the conviction, anything is possible. The tools you need to get something out there are there, nothing is stopping you. Gone are the days you need to rely on a traditional broadcaster to make programmes, the world is your oyster. And my other piece of advice is be yourself, don’t be someone you think someone else wants you to be. 

Jody Avirgan

Jody Avirgan: Just make stuff. The barrier for entry to this medium, in terms of equipment or technical expertise, is relatively low. And no matter what your “main” gig is, think about all the other things you want to do and find ways to take on side projects that scratch that itch. One other thing, that I learned from one of my radio heroes Robert Krulwich, is to find people you like to work with and attach yourself to them in perpetuity (if they’ll let you.) We spend a lot of time looking for role models or mentors above us, older people to look up to or get advice from; but don’t forget to make strong horizontal connections with your talented peers. And then, pitch us! (If anyone wants to get in touch, drop me a line: jody.avirgan@espn.com)

Liliana Manna and Rosario Lufrano

Liliana Manna: The best advice was given to me by the First Woman Journalist in Argentina who dedicated herself to the production of radio and TV programs. She was called Paloma Efrom (Blackie). She said that journalists should never lose their capacity for wonder and that journalism was a job of 25 hours a day.

Sue Zizza: Try it. Give it your best shot. Have fun telling your tales.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and check out the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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Grand Jury Round-table: Spotlight on Journalism

 

New York Festivals 2018 Radio Awards Grand Jury is comprised of respected content creators and broadcast executives dedicated to providing outstanding content to their listeners.

The journalistic process of gathering information, researching, writing and presenting news stories and documentaries requires a dedicated unbiased and ethical professional, professionals like the executives on NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury. With 1/3 of the Radio competition’s categories devoted to news and journalism, these categories honor stories taking place on the world stage.

This week’s Grand Jury Spotlight features a round-table discussion with award-winning jurists: Havoc Franklin, Radio Manager for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Canada; Kim Fox, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, The American University in Cairo; Juan Pablo Córdoba, Productor Artístico for Radio Mitre S.A; Nick Davis, Manager of Program Development for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Simon Hollis, Head of Brook Lapping Radio UK; Vallerie Geller, President of Geller Media International USA; Astha Mandiratta, National Head – Client Solutions for ETV News Network India; Jon Tjhia, Senior Digital Editor  the Wheeler Centre Australia; Philip Coulter, Producer, CBC Radio “Ideas” documentary unit, Tandem Projects Canada; and Kaushik Dutta is a consultant for Radio City 91.1 FM India.

New York Festivals: What is the responsibility of journalists in today’s world?

Havoc Franklin

Havoc Franklin: I think that the responsibility of a journalist today is essentially the same as the responsibility of a journalist 50 years ago. True treatments, platforms, complexities, speed, revenue models have changed but at the heart of all good journalism is research, integrity, drive to find out and ability to communicate so that it connects and resonates with audiences. The role and responsibility of a journalist in a democratic society is just as significant today as it was before. That independence, that freedom to ask without fear of repercussion or death is still at the heart of a journalist’s role.

Kim Fox: Be vigilant despite the threats to press freedoms globally; The same tenets as always including seek the truth.

Kim Fox

Juan Pablo Córdoba: The responsibility of journalists and all content creators is to pay attention to the pre-truth. The world is getting tired of the post-truth, it is necessary that we, as social communicators, show them also that instance prior to the news, where the human and the fact are, and nothing there is still corrupted.

Nick Davis: From a technical point of view, journalists are responsible for filing stories on multiple platforms – digital, television, radio and social media. From a practical point of view, journalists are responsible for telling the truth. The same thing they were charged with at the beginning of journalism. And the truth should help people have a better understanding of the world we live.

Simon Hollis

Simon Hollis: The same as always – to tell the truth, be critical, challenge consensus and not be cowed, especially by the toxic term ‘fake news’ which is aimed at discrediting any journalism that certain regimes don’t like.

Valerie Geller: Tell the truth, make it matter and NEVER be boring!

Astha Mandiratta: It is too big a question to answer, with current scenario journalist’s play a very crucial role, as viewers analyze news through the journalists’ eye. It is important that unbiased news with complete transparency is offered to listeners/viewers. Also, as journalists, it’s

Astha Mandiratta

our responsibility to not to run after “Breakings” but be a little more sensitive and rational towards issues pertaining to society.

Jon Tjhia: I think journalists have always – and should always – have a responsibility to veracity. To me, that’s the fundamental, definitional quality of journalism. If you don’t, that’s fine!

Write your columns, feature articles, scripts, claim whatever the correct title of your profession is. (No big deal!) Discern the question, or the

Jon Tjhia

questionable thing, and scratch at it. Do they have a responsibility to be entertaining? No! I really don’t think so. If they don’t connect properly to their audiences, though, that’s on editors. Editors really, really matter. Aaaand scene.

Philip Coulter: To hold up a candle in a dark place; the same as anyone else.

 

Kaushik Dutta: I have a single sentence answer to this question, “a journalist just needs to REPORT, a journalist is not a storyteller”. If you like to narrate stories, please write a book, don’t be a journalist.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and check out the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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Open Mic Spotlight: Penguin Random House UK

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrates the World’s Best Radio Programs and NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe earned trophies for their compelling content at this year’s awards ceremony in NYC.

Penguin Random House UK’s audiobooks earned Gold Awards in this year’s NYF Radio Awards for John le Carré’s revisit of the world of George Smiley in A Legacy of Spies, Eddie Izzard’s unforgettable turn narrating his own autobiography Believe Me (along with plenty of ad-libbing) and Stephen Fry’s bestselling Mythos. Silver Trophy winners include: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne and The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman.

Samantha Halstead

Samantha Halstead, Senior Commissioning Edior, Audiobooks at Penguin Random House UK spent a few minutes with NYF and shared her insights on these award-winning audiobooks.

New York Festivals:  What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Samantha Halstead: Our ultimate goal for all of these audiobooks – and in fact for every book we publish in audio – is to create something that listeners will love, and to really do justice to the work of our authors. We’re incredibly lucky at Penguin Random House to work with an extraordinary range of the very best writers, and our job in the audio team is to help give these books a new voice in audio format.

New York Festivals:  To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Samantha Halstead: All four of these audiobooks offer something unique and different to listeners, but all are equally engrossing and captivating.

Believe Me

Narrated in Eddie Izzard’s inimitable style, this is a memoir that will stick with you for months after you’ve listened to it. Eddie’s performance carries you from giddy laughter one minute to pure poignancy the next, and his tendency to go off-script does not waver – meaning it feels like he’s just in the room with you. The audiobook is packed with anecdotes and stories that don’t feature in the print book, making this a truly unique experience. I can’t imagine this book being the success it was without Eddie’s energy and incredible performance.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage

The fact that Michael Sheen is a true and passionate fan of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series shines through in every line of his performance in this audiobook. His delicate treatment of the young protagonist Malcolm Polstead contrasts vividly with the sonorous tones of Lord Asriel and again with the crazed screeches of a certain Hyena daemon. He handles every character masterfully and his narration has delighted fans worldwide. Philip Pullman was closely involved in the casting of this audiobook and Michael has long been a fan of Philip’s work, so this was a perfect pairing.

A Legacy of Spies

A Legacy of Spies is the first novel from John le Carre to feature his iconic lead character, George Smiley, in 25 years. We therefore wanted to mark the occasion by casting an actor who would lend gravitas and authority to this audiobook, but who was also linked to some of le Carre’s previous work.

Casting Tom Hollander (who played a prominent role in The Night Manager) meant that we were able to draw interest from fans of the TV series and tune them into the audiobook, as well as bring in a narrator who could effortlessly handle the breadth of the story and give voice to a truly legendary character.

Mythos

Stephen Fry is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known audiobook narrators. His work on Harry Potter solidified him as the voice of a generation’s childhood, and a number of projects he’s lent his voice to since then have been lauded with praise.

Publishing the audiobook of his new book Mythos meant there was only one person who could narrate it, and once again Stephen Fry’s performance is bubbling with wit, intelligence and excitement. He brings to live innumerable characters – from great Greek gods such as Zeus, to villains like Hades and the simple humans mixed up in the fracas of the gods. It’s a real treat to listen to – and if you loved this watch out for his follow up instalment Heroes, out this November.

New York Festivals:  Where do you see focusing your creative talents next…what’s on the horizon?

Samantha Halstead: We’re very excited to be releasing an immersive audio version of The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris, which will be released on October 18th. The audiobook will be narrated by iconic voices of modern Britain and bring the magic of both nature and language to listeners. Alongside these voices, listeners can enjoy a soundscape created by renowned natural-history field recordist Chris Watson, which evokes the stunning artwork and draws listeners deep into the living world. Wren’s songs, raven’s calls, rain falling onto ferns and willow trees blowing in the wind: together, the soundscape and the spoken spells conjure the wonder and variety of nature and place.

We’re also publishing a special edition of Nigella Lawson’s culinary bible How To Eat to celebrate 20 years since it was first published. This is our first ever audio cookbook, and Nigella’s first audiobook, and will be released on October 11th. Yotam Ottolenghi said about this book ‘I want two copies, one to reference in the kitchen and one to read in bed’ – this is why we think How To Eat is the perfect first audio cookbook for us. While it is full of recipes, for everything from a classic roast chicken to Marmite sandwiches, it’s so much more than just a cookbook – it’s Nigella’s philosophy on food and her love letter to eating. It’s full of anecdotes and stories about her life in food and the prose is lustrous, intimate and intelligent – you feel ready to head in to the kitchen and take on anything with Nigella’s reassuring voice guiding you through. We’re also adding in some kitchen-themed sound design, so it should be a feast for the ears!

And just in time for Christmas, we will have a new novelization of The Snowman, written by Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. We have a yet to be announced star narrator for our audio edition, and I promise you, you’ll want to have this on repeat all Christmas.

That’s not all, though, we have a very exciting Autumn publishing list including books from across our lists from Michelle Obama, to Kate Atkinson – so watch this space!

 

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and check out the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

 

 

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Open Mic Spotlight on “The Current – ISIS on Your Doorstep”

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success, including Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

Anna Maria Tremonti, Host of CBC’s The Current has earned a robust number of accolades for her work in radio. During her time at The Current, she and the program have won numerous awards at the New York Festivals Radio Awards. Her work at The Current also has been recognized with an Amnesty International Canada Media Award (2012), three Gracie Awards (2011, 2014 and 2015), and several Gabriel Awards and RTDNA Awards, including the Adrienne Clarkson Diversity Award (2013), the Peter Gzowski Information Program Award (2009, 2011 & 2014) and the Gord Sinclair Live Special Events Award (2014). With Anna Maria at the helm, The Current in 2012 also won the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Award. Other impressive accolades include two Gemini awards, and a Life Achievement Award from Women in Film and Television Toronto.

This past June, Anna Maria was in New York City to speak to the attendees of the 2018 NYF Radio Awards and accept multiple honors. Anna Maria took home the prestigious UNDPI Gold and Silver trophy honors for “ISIS on Your Doorstep: Meet Mosul Eye, the man who defied the terrorists to save his city.”

Anna Maria Tremonti at the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards

New York Festivals: What sparked the idea for your UNDPI Gold winning entry “The Current – ISIS on your doorstep”?

Anna Maria Tremonti: I will give you the answer to this from Producer Exan Auyoung, who found Omar Mohammed:

I figured since he’s really active on social media with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, that was likely the best place to find him.

I tweeted him around the time the AP exclusive was published (December 2017)  in which he revealed his true identity. He responded right away cautiously at first (understandably so) and asked for my credentials. I sent him my LinkedIn profile and a link to The Current website. He then messaged back saying that he would have loved to have done the interview but felt it was best  to lay low after just revealing his identity. I then asked whether it would be okay if I were to reach out again in a month’s time to see how he felt. He agreed and sure enough when I reconnected with him in January, he said yes. He is btw, really moved by the awards and the recognition so cheers all around!

New York Festivals: What creative challenges did you encounter when producing and how did you solve those challenges?

Anna Maria Tremonti: The power of a conversation with a man like Omar is in listening to his incredible story, and so the creative challenge comes in how to be minimalist as an interviewer so that his voice and words dominate.  We wanted to structure the interview to ensure he would take us through everything – but to leave spaces for unexpected turns.  We also knew that he listened to the theme from Schindler’s List, performed by Itzhak Perlman and we knew we would add it in, during the conversation. His response was far more powerful than we anticipated – and in the final cut of the interview, our Senior Producer Cathy Simon made a decision to mix in more of the music.  It was incredibly powerful for all of us, and for our listeners as well.

New York Festivals: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Anna Maria Tremonti: This conversation with Omar Mohammed is part of a wider journalistic effort to bring context to the stories of war and conflict that dominate so much of the headlines.  Through the very specific experiences of one man, we are given a glimpse into the humanity that exists even in the most brutal of places: we hear of survival and kindness, of tremendous loss and great courage. The experience of war is never one-dimensional, and the best way to learn about the many layers that exist is to listen to those who can tell their stories.  If there is success in this program, it is his success – he is an evocative and eloquent spokesperson for those who risk everything to try to preserve their humanity, and that of others at a time of great peril.

New York Festivals: What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Omar Mohammed

Anna Maria Tremonti: Our ultimate goal was to hear Omar Mohammed – his ideas, his observations and his reasons for his actions – and through him, give our listeners a greater understanding of the reality of the siege of Mosul.  There are arguably many realities in war – this particular glimpse into that world is important to know about and share.

New York Festivals: Who or what would you consider to be your primary influence as a content creator for radio? 

Anna Maria Tremonti:  My influences have come from the field.  Long before I went into the studio to do long-form interviews, I worked as a reporter in the field – working across my own country and then working out of a bureaux in Europe, the Mideast and the U.S.  I learned that ordinary people have extraordinary lives, and they are willing to share their insights and experiences with those who are open to listening to them. They have humbled me, and taught me; occasionally they have scared me; often, they have moved me so much that I have never forgotten them. I have been fortunate to work alongside and learn from excellent journalists, both inside the CBC and from many other news organizations – and in the process I constantly question and revise my own journalism in an effort to make it better.

New York Festivals: Do you have any advice for people just starting out in radio? What’s the best advice some shared with you?

Anna Maria Tremonti: My advice for anyone in journalism – radio or beyond – is to stay curious. Curiosity will give you a long career – without it, no matter how talented or clever you are, your journalism will eventually suffer. Curiosity is what makes you look around corners others ignore, it is what prompts you to ask a follow-up question, and it is what drives you to knock on one more door. Also – never forget that the story belongs to those in the thick of it: listen to them, capture the sounds around them, be open to hearing things you might not anticipate.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

 

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Open Mic Spotlight on TBI Media and “Born This Way”

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success.

London’s TBI Media was in the spotlight earning both the title of Production Company of the Year and the Grand Award for their winning program “Born This Way.” Both TBI Media and BBC Radio 2 received some of the highest honors in NYF’s Radio Awards competition awarded that evening.

“Born This Way,” presented by actor Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock and Bond Villain in Spectre), chronicles the story of how gay people transformed pop culture over the past 50 years.

Andrew Scott, Presenter, “Born This Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your private life… policed. Your way of life… against the law. That was the chilling reality for countless gay people in the UK until The Sexual Offences Act was passed in 1967. To mark its 50th Anniversary, a two-part documentary ‘Born This Way’ was broadcast on BBC Radio 2.

“Born This Way” had unique challenges, first being to deliver the narrative in a journalistic accurate but respectful way, while ensuring  the program was entertaining throughout. It was paramount that the series appealed to both members of the LGBT community and the casual listener. The program also had to offer new thought and reflection to the topic. TBI Media achieved this by recording over 30 hours of interviews, with an emphasis on the first-hand accounts of era-defining super-producers and LGBT musicians themselves.

All the interviews  were  punctuated with a carefully selected non-stop soundtrack woven into a seamless mix, setting the scene for each decade covered and showcasing the huge influence gay culture had on the UK charts.

“The TBI team are thrilled with this year’s results in New York. 9 Finalists leading to a Grand Award, 2 Golds, 2 Silvers and a Bronze are great,” said Phil Critchlow CEO / Founder – TBI Media.

Phil Critchlow, TBI Media

“To then be ‘Independent Producer Of The Year’ again is fantastic. This is fundamentally down to the inspired team I’m lucky enough to work with having world class ideas and being given the chance to broadcast them on great platforms. It’s clear that the opportunities for audio producers globally have changed dramatically, even since the last NYF awards, and it’s inspiring to see so many producers and platforms winning awards this year who are clearly thriving as a result,”added Critchlow.

Sam Bailey of BBC 1 accepted the Production Company of the Year Award on behalf of TBI Media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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Open Mic: Spotlight on “Bing Crosby In ‘The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – From Final Solution To Audio Revolution”

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Lewis Borg-Cardona Accepting his Gold Trophies at the 2018 NYF Radio Awards

Lewis Borg-Cardona is multi-awarding winning freelance radio and audio producer/writer for LB-C Productions, UK. His production “Bing Crosby In ‘The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – From Final Solution To Audio Revolution” was announced as a double Gold Award winner in the 2018 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The show triumphed in the documentary category ‘Biography/Profiles’ and achieved Gold for ‘Best Writing’.

New York Festivals: What sparked the idea for “Bing Crosby In ‘The Road To Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – From Final Solution To Audio Revolution”?

Lewis Borg-Cardona: My co-producer Steve Levine touched on the intriguing genesis of magnetic tape recording in passing, as part of a totally separate BBC Radio 2 series, the 2009 Stephen Fry hosted Third Reich ‘n’ Roll. When the 40th anniversary of Bing Crosby’s 1977 passing came up last year, it coincided with the 70th anniversary of the very first radio programme recorded on magnetic tape – Bing Crosby’s Philco Radio Time – so the confluence of commemorations seemed too good to pass up; in terms of a more in-depth look at Crosby and his influence on radio technology.

New York Festivals: What creative challenges did you encounter when producing and how did you solve those challenges?

Lewis Borg-Cardona: The one hour documentary celebrated two different anniversaries, so the content split into two distinct time frames: a period of years in the 1940s, versus the last month of Bing Crosby’s life, in 1977. While both periods were integral to the telling of the story, their historical context meant it was inevitable the show would include a good deal of vintage material and archive interviews. However, I wanted to ensure the show also contained enough original material to add something fresh to the story, so it was essential to source at least a couple of ‘eye witnesses’ to the second part of the time frame. Also, with a good deal of technical detail and storytelling to get across, I was very aware that my script was on the ‘wordy’ side, so I needed to find a device to relieve the pressure on our narrator.

Steve Levine’s great record industry contact book meant that we reached out to L.A. based Steve Taylor – the man who had engineered Crosby’s very last commercial recording Seasons, in London in 1977.

Gordon Rose

In addition, some simple research on my part unearthed the existence of 91 year old young Gordon Rose, now enjoying  retirement in the English countryside; but the man who back in 1977 was Crosby’s very last Music Director for his UK tour,  London Palladium residence, and final radio session at the BBC’s famous Maida Vale studios.  With both on board, their combined  recollections did much to flesh out the 1977 part of the story. As for the ‘wordy’ script, I initiated a simple device of utilizing an extra VO to voice several extracts taken from entertainment industry magazines (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, etc), of the 1940s, thus breaking up the narration.

Lewis Borg-Cardona shares his Double NYF Gold Trophy Smile

 New York Festivals: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Lewis Borg-Cardona: In essence, the programme’s success was due to the quality of the storylines: the little known saga of the Nazi Magnetophon tape machines and Bing Crosby’s involvement in their U.S. radio utilization and subsequent development was a story worth telling, while the better known tale of the crooner’s last days in England was due a detailed retelling.  Furnished with the facts, my script was then lifted from the page by a quality narration. Our documentary was lucky to have my first choice as narrator –

Elizabeth McGovern

the excellent actress and singer Elizabeth McGovern. And to give Elizabeth every chance to do her best, we made the executive decision to allow her enough studio time not only to read the script, but to hear all the audio items before and after her script inserts, so she could narrate in context. I can’t over emphasise how important that is, in terms of giving a narrator every opportunity to shine.

New York Festivals: What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Lewis Borg-Cardona:  The goal for me as a documentary maker is always to do the story justice and to adhere to the classic Reithian values: to inform, educate and entertain. Above and beyond that, it’s always nice to get some good press (the show was ‘Pick Of The Day’ in no less than half a dozen UK national newspapers), not to mention some awards (thanks New York Festivals!). However, in the case of this show the ultimate accolade came courtesy of BING magazine (yes indeed, the magazine of ‘The International Club Crosby’, the world’s longest running fan club !). Author and Crosby expert Ken Crossland kindly called the show: “..arguably the best and most interesting feature on Bing since the dark days of 1977”. I’ll take that !

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

 

 

and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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Open Mic: Spotlight on CBC Campus “Am I going to die I here?”

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Albert Leung, on air personality for CBC’s Campus, has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for eight years. His career has allowed him to work at Summer and Winter Olympics, he personally witnessed history at the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, and reported from the nation’s capital in the aftermath of the Ottawa shooting. Albert was born to tell stories.

This past June, Albert  accepted the prestigious NYF Grand Award, UNDPI Silver and Gold trophy honors for Campus podcast “Am I Going to Die In Here?”

Albert Leung Accepting the 2018 Radio Awards Grand Trophy in New York City

New York Festivals: What sparked the idea for your Grand Award winning entry “Am I going to die here”?

Albert Leung: Since our first season, the team, lead by Senior Producer Sean Brocklehurst, had been looking to tackle the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis. We wanted to hear and tell a first-hand account. Through the tireless efforts of producer Eric Van, we interviewed a number of Syrian refugees who arrived in Canada through the years. For a bunch of different reasons, we just couldn’t quite nail down the right person. Then we came across Mohammad al-Masalma, or Mo. What this young man went through was astonishing. He was part of the very first wave of anti-government protests. He was detained, tortured. His father was shot by a sniper. He fled the country and eventually made his way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mo was very giving with his time, his deep dark memories, and his emotions. We spent close to 10 hours talking to Mo and recording his story. And so, we had to do right by Mo to share his story with the world.

Mohammad arriving in Canada at Halifax Stanfield International Airport

New York Festivals: What creative challenges did you encounter when producing and how did you solve those challenges?

Albert Leung: Mo’s English is very strong, but his mother tongue is obviously Arabic, specifically a dialect native to Syria. And we wanted to illustrate with sound, his life-changing altercations. First, when his house was ambushed by soldiers and he was arrested, and second, when he was interrogated and tortured in prison. We needed to find someone who spoke and could represent that specific dialect or accent, if you may. Ultimately we relied on a colleague who knew someone from Syria who was willing to help. And that person played a significant role in bringing those moments, those scenes to life with authenticity and realism.

New York Festivals: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Three years, three golds, a grand, and UN award. Wow. Clearly this program struck a chord with a lot of people. And it is absolutely so humbling to be recognized internationally by your peers. Year after year, it’s always very tough competition, the best of the best in the planet. To the fellow finalists, congrats. To the listeners, thank you. To the jury, thank you. But you know, there are many different definitions of success. Being part of a public broadcaster has its limitations and challenges. Despite being an already lean crew of three, with a very limited budget, we’ve been told this is the end of the road and there’s a need to make way for new projects. So hey, it’s been a great run, honestly tough to see it get duplicated but we wish those endeavors the best of luck.

New York Festivals:What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Albert Leung: In essence this was a passion project for the crew. Every interview we would always ask the storyteller, “What did you learn about yourself?” and in sharing many of those answers story after story, we learned a lot about ourselves too. We worked countless days into the wee hours of the morning. We spent many nights away from our families. We did all this simply to share life-changing stories that highlighted the human condition. We never did shy away from the deep dark corners of life. Above all, we always put our story-tellers first and foremost in the hopes of doing them and their stories justice. And in the end, if we won that one person’s trust, respect, and admiration, that, is the ultimate prize.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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Open Mic: Spotlight on “Soundtracking with Edith Bowman”

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

“Soundtracking with Edith Bowman” earned two Gold trophies in the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards for Best Digital Music Program and Music podcast for creator Edith Bowman.

Trophy-winning broadcaster and writer, Edith Bowman has been working in TV and radio for nearly 20 years. She has a diverse body of work – from fronting music festival coverage and hosting The BAFTA Scotland Awards, to traveling to Cambodia to make a BBC documentary on endangered Crocodiles. Her knowledge and passion for music and film, which stem from being a genuine fan, have seen her incorporate both extensively into all that she does.

In her unique weekly podcast, Edith Bowman sits down with a variety of film directors, actors, producers and composers to talk about the music that inspired them and how they use music in their films, from their current release to key moments in their career.

New York Festivals: What sparked the idea for “Soundtracking with Edith Bowman”? 

Edith Bowman: Soundtracking came out of my love of Film and Music, no one at the time seemed to be celebrating the marriage of the two art forms.  I have built up quite a good relationship with the film companies, having worked with them for a number of years so I took the plunge, once we had the first one under our belt it’s been a lovey journey of discovery really.

New York Festivals: What creative challenges did you encounter when producing and how did you solve those challenges?

Edith Bowman: The main problem we have is getting more women on the show but also, a number of the people we really want to get on are based in the states and we much prefer doing the interviews face to face so we either  have to wait for them to come over to the UK or make a trip to the states. Which we are making plans for.

Edith Bowman Interviewing Playwright/Screenwriter Abi Morgan

New York Festivals: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Edith Bowman: Our amazing listeners.  We are such a small outfit, its just me and a mate so we don’t have the massive marketing and promotion vehicle of a big organisation behind us so it really relies on people hearing us and liking what they hear, then spreading the word.  And everyone loves films, we just take the music for granted and I think when we remind them of moments it’s a very emotional experience.

New York Festivals: What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Edith Bowman: To connect really, to provide something that people enjoyed listening to as much as we enjoy making it. And personally I just want to learn something from every show, and a I really do.

New York Festivals: Who or what would you consider to be your primary influence as a content creator for radio?

Edith Bowman: John Peel was a huge influence to me, especially when I was at Radio 1.  He was doing his evening show and it felt like it really came from the heart, he was booking guest and playing songs that he had a connection with.  That is the dream really, to make a show that feels genuine and true. Also I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing programme makers who have produced shows I’ve worked on and I am eternally grateful for everything I’ve learnt from them.

New York Festivals: Where do you see focusing your creative talents next…what’s on the horizon?

Edith Bowman: We have just signed up with the BFI to do a bi-monthly live event for Soundtracking, the first one is coming in September with Lenny Abrahamson and his creative team.  I’d love for it to be picked up for a TV show, I think we could do something very special with it.  I’ve just done an episode of a music series for Netflix which was so much fun to film, I’m hoping to do more of them.  Then I’ve got a few ideas with a few TV channels that I’d love to see go further.

Do you have any advice for people just starting out in radio? What’s the best advice some shared with you?

Edith Bowman: The best advice I can give you from my own experience is to not take no for an answer, if you believe in yourself and know you have the conviction, anything is possible.  The tools you need to get something out there are there, nothing is stopping you. Gone are the days you need to rely on a traditional broadcaster to make programmes, the world is your oyster.  And my other piece of advice is be yourself, don’t be someone you think someone else wants you to be.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

 

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Open Mic: Spotlight on Blood on Satan’s Claw

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Director/Producer Simon Barnard of  the UK’s Bafflegab Productions earned the 2018 New York Festivals Gold Trophy for Best Drama Special for “Blood on Satan’s Claw” for Audible UK. After Simon first recorded the production, it was picked up by Audible UK to release under their ‘Audible Originals’ banner, for worldwide distribution. He has produced documentaries for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 1; music shows for BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6Music; and won three Sony Awards, including Gold in 2005 for the John Peel tribute documentary Teenage Dreams So Hard to Beat.

 

NYF: What sparked the idea for “Blood on Satan’s Claw”?

Simon Barnard: Blood on Satan’s Claw was originally a British horror film from the early 1970s (hence the schlocky title), largely ignored upon release but one whose reputation has steadily grown over the years. It’s a story of demonic goings on in a small English village in the 17th century, and it possesses a strange, hard to define atmosphere that sets it apart from other films made at that time. On the flip-side, it was originally a portmanteau film, so three separate stories, that at the last minute were compiled into one long movie. Bits of the story don’t make sense, and characters disappear for no reason. So the reasons for remaking it were twofold: we wanted to see if we could replicate that weird atmosphere using the audio medium, and we felt there was some room for improvement in the story line, ironing out some of the things that didn’t make sense.

 NYF: What creative challenges did you encounter when producing and how did you solve those challenges?

Simon Barnard: The main creative challenge was turning something that was very visual, something whose very reputation rested upon its visual depiction of a rural, strange and very muddy-looking England, into audio. But I’ve always believed that audio is the perfect medium for horror, or ghost stories. It’s a very personal medium, and you’re right there in the listener’s ears, in their head. You can make them jump, make them uneasy, make them scared. So it was important to get the rural atmosphere right: there were lots of crows, much wind and rain, creaky timbered houses, squelchy mud… we wanted it to sound as grim and authentic as possible. And then the music added a sense of creeping unease…  and bloodcurdling horror!

 NYF: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Barnard: I imagine it was a combination of things… the sound design and music (by Simon Robinson and Edwin Sykes) were really strong; we had an amazing cast, including Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Reece Shearsmith (Inside No 9) and Linda Hayden, from the original film; and of course it all hung on the brilliance of the script, by horror author Mark Morris. There are only a few lines from the original film that still remain, but it’s still a really respectful adaptation that plays to the strengths of the audio medium. We get to know a bit more about the characters (the audio is about an hour longer than the original film), and Mark lays on the atmosphere with a trowel. Having said all that, I really didn’t think we’d win!

 NYF: What was your ultimate goal for the program?

Simon Barnard: Blood on Satan’s Claw is a very odd little story, and the film is known only in horror film aficionado circles, so we only really made it in the hope that fans of the original film would be interested. But casting Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith made all the difference. After the first day of recording, we posted a few photos on Facebook, and shortly after heard from Audible Studios, who were interested in acquiring it. It was subsequently released under the Audible Originals banner, and reached a far wider audience than we could ever have hoped for. And to have the NYF Radio Award judges recognize it was the cherry on the cake – obscure genre pieces don’t tend to win awards.

NYF: Where do you see focusing your creative talents next…what’s on the horizon?

Simon Barnard: We’ve been commissioned by Audible Studios to make some more spooky audio dramas! I’m not allowed to say what they are yet, but we’ve started production and they should be appearing as Audible Originals just before Christmas.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

 

 

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Open Mic: Spotlight on 007, The Irish Connection

The 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards celebrated the World’s Best Radio Programs on June 19th in New York City. Prominent award-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their trophies and celebrate their success. NYF’s Radio Awards shines the spotlight on exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats and across all platforms from radio stations, networks and independent producers.

Thomas Black, narrator/producer of RTÉ Radio 1’s documentary “007, The Irish Connection”

Thomas Black, narrator/producer of RTÉ Radio 1’s documentary “007, The Irish Connection” earned the Gold Trophy for Biography/Profiles in the 2018 NYF Radio Awards competition. Remarkably, “007, The Irish Connection” is Thomas’ first radio documentary. Bravo!!!

With a 30-year career in the music industry, Thomas has worked as A&R Director at Sony Records where he signed and developed platinum selling Artists The 4 of Us and Cry Before Dawn. He also served as A&R Director at EMI Records where he signed and worked with many Irish Artists including Relish, Aslan, John Spillane, and Cathy Davey.

Thomas compiled the soundtrack to the award-winning Irish movie “Intermission” and also had the pleasure of convincing Colin Farrell to sing a cover version of The Clash classic ‘I Fought the Law’ for the movie credits. As a judge on RTE TV’s ‘You’re a Star,’  he discovered and help develop Kodaline who was then known as 21 Demands. Currently he operates Ireland’s only independent A&R consultancy service for unsigned Artists.

NYF: What sparked the idea for “007, The Irish Connection”?

Thomas Black: I’ve worked all my life in the music industry as an A&R man signing and developing Bands,singers and song-writers. Whilst researching an album project on Eric Clapton I came across some old movie footage of him appearing at a Charity circus event in Straffan House Ireland in the mid 70’s. He was dressed as a clown, as were several other well-known stars of the time including Sean Connery (007), actress Shirley MacLaine, John Huston, and many others. On further investigation I discovered that the event was organized by the owner of the grand estate, Kevin McClory. Kevin was an Irish man who had made his fortune as the producer of the highest grossing Bond movie of all time, ‘THUNDERBALL’  He had won the screen rights to the movie in 1963 in a well documented High court case against Bond Author Ian Fleming. I decided to find out more about Kevin McClory and discovered a fascinating story of double dealing, wasted fortunes and ruined friendships and a man who was both charming and wildly ambitious.

NYF: To what do you attribute the success of this program?

Thomas Black: I have to say I was more than amazed when the radio Documentary was broadcast and that so many people enjoyed it and were as fascinated by the story as I was. The programme success was down to the popularity of James Bond to this incredible story of an ordinary man and his struggle with the world of Hollywood and big movie studios and also to the candid nature of the various people I interviewed and their memories of Kevin McClory.

NYF: What was your ultimate goal for the program?

My ultimate goal was to let others hear the story and to now see if I could get a Film/Doc made of this amazing story and I can tell you that thanks to the win at NYF. I have been approached by several film producers to discuss just that. So fingers crossed that I can make that happen too.

NYF: Do you have any advice for people just starting out in radio? What’s the best advice some shared with you?

Thomas Black: My only advice is to find a subject matter that you are truly passionate about as this will see you through those tough moments when you feel you are getting nowhere and also work with great co-producer.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/ and to view the 2018 winners visit: HERE.

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