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.

 

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Mic: Spotlight on ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcasts

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.

Jody Avirgan, producer/host of ESPN’s 30 For 30 podcasts: The Fighter Inside, Queen of Sorts, and Lights of Wrigleyville was honored with 2 Silver trophies for  News & Documentary and for Sports & Recreation. In the interview below Jody shares his insights on this innovative award-winning program and advice for those just starting out in radio.

NYF: What sparked the idea for “30 for 30 podcasts”?

Jody Avirgan: 30 for 30, as a documentary film series, is about to enter its 10th year. Over the years, the series has housed shorts, animations, multi-part opuses… So, it was only natural that it start to look for ways to tell stories in audio. The production team came to me in mid-2016 and we started discussing what that might look like.

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

Jody Avirgan: Originally, there was the notion that we might be able to re-purpose some of the existing films into audio versions. We tried cutting them and it just didn’t work. So, we decided to do what I’d kinda been secretly hoping we’d decide all along – that we needed to build a team and produce original audio docs, reported from start to finish. Creatively, we’ve encountered the same challenges that all documentarians encounter, which is that we need to find stories where there are rich characters, amazing plot, and rich archival sound. We spend a lot of time doing interviews to get our characters to “go there,” and finding great archival is a huge part of the process. That can often take a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

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

Jody Avirgan: Well, for one, we were handed the keys to one of the most beloved documentary franchises around. So, we started in a great place. Ultimately, the success has been a product of what’s probably the most important element in any creative endeavor: editing. We edit the crap out of our stories and have a great team of producers (on both the film and podcast side) who are willing to push each other to edit and edit again until (hopefully) we have the best story possible.

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

Jody Avirgan: It’s hard to work in ambitious radio journalism and not cite This American Life as the primary influence. I will say, though: a number of people have described our show as “like This American Life but for sports,” and I’ve always preferred that we try to be “30 for 30 but for podcasts.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somewhere in there lies a really important distinction. We look as much to the existing film series for influence as anything.

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

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)

Check out ESPN’s 30 for 30 Podcasts at: https://30for30podcasts.com/

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.

Posted in interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Powerhouse Radio Executives Present 2018 Radio Awards

 

New York Festivals International Radio Awards award-winning Grand Jury jury members have selected the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Award winners. Content creators from around the globe will receive trophies for innovative programming at the annual Radio Awards ceremony on June 18th in New York City.

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, the 2018 Radio Awards celebrates the World’s Best Radio Programs.

This year, powerhouse award-winning industry executives will join Radio Awards VP/Executive Director Rose Anderson as they present award segments at the 2018 Radio Awards gala and honor the winning entrants with the stunning Art Deco inspired New York Festivals Trophy.

2018 Presenters include:

  • Mark Travis – New York Philharmonic
  • Jennie Cataldo – BMP Audio
  • Peter Shevlin  – BlokMedia
  • Michelle Parise & Ify Chiwetelu – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Mindy Thomas – Tinkerkast & SiriusXM
  • Jim Bilodeau – SiriusXM
  • Tim Desmond & Thomas Black – RTE
  • Josh Fouts – Bioneers
  • Albert Leung – Campus/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Stay tuned to find out who earns the Gold, Silver and Bronze, along with the Grand Award, Broadcaster of the Year, UNDPI Awards and more. And don’t forget to visit the New York Festivals Radio Awards website tomorrow to view the winner’s showcase: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Mic Spotlight: Kankana Lohiyaa

NYF’s Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with prominent Grand Jury members who judge creative entries from around the globe, each Spotlight interview shares the insights of content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

New York Festivals International Radio Awards jury of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are actively involved in creating the innovative content on radio today, their efforts have resulted in the selection of the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Award winners which will be announced at the annual Radio Awards ceremony on June 18th in New York City.

2018 Grand Jury member Kankana Lohiyaa is National Music Head for 94.3 MY FM (DB Corps Ltd) India.  With  over 12 years of experience in Radio Programming & Production

Kankana Lohiyaa

(Music & Product). Kankana launched 13 new stations: 9 new stations in Maharashtra, 1 in Rajasthan, 1 in Gujarat and 2 in Punjab. During that time she hired a completely new team, groomed them and raised them to current performances. An award-winning programmer, her ideas have won numerous awards both nationally and internationally. Kankana has a track for creating & executing content ideas for on air programs to enhance listener-ship, new promos for shows and stationality, on air special shows & celebrity management, contests.

New York Festivals: How did you get your start in the radio industry?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Radio happened by design to me as I grew up in a home where radio was always given preference over television, even when the television was the new buzz word.

Entry to radio industry happened to me by chance. I was working with India’s largest CDMA mobile telephone company, handling the customer support. It so happened that during break-time, over a cup of coffee, I was explaining to my colleague the relationship between our brain and music and how in most of us, music taste gets frozen at some point of time.

Not known to me was the fact that the group I worked with, has ventured in to private FM radio business in 2005. Some members of the national launch team heard that conversation and something triggered. The team lead offered me a job as a music manager. I refused without realising. The team came to meet me again the next day and after a lot of their cajoling, I agreed.  The thing is neither did I have any idea of the kind of jobs radio had at that point, nor did I ever realise why they picked me up amongst the entire lot.

To cut a long story short, before I realised, I was a part of the radio team at Jhansi. Being the launch phase, and me being a non-industry person, I picked up every job I was asked to do. From assisting RJs to prepare their shows, to handle the software that run the music log, to ensure that transmission starts in time and all relevant reports are sent back to our Head Office that too in time. It was a challenging time, but somehow the love for radio from a young age propelled me forward to do things others would find not so exciting to do. I guess, I picked up the entire process of launch and running of a radio station there. That was 20/12/2006. Around 12 years hence, I currently enjoy the role of Product Head (a person responsible for looking after the strategies of programming and marketing for the region he or she handles) along with being the part that I love the most, handling the music for all 30 stations of the network I work now.

New York Festivals: What was the turning point in your career?

Kankana Lohiyaa: I am a lawyer by education with a Gold Medal to boot. On a whim I had taken up the summer job at telecom because I couldn’t afford to sit idle. It was more to utilize my time than to think of a career. When the radio team dropped in at our work place to plan for the launch of radio operations. I guess that’s when, however unknowingly, I got sucked in to and assimilated in to the world of radio. Yeah, what an assimilation it has been.

New York Festivals: Did you have a mentor, if so how did they help you achieve your career goals?

Kankana Lohiyaa: I do not believe in mentor-ship but I believe in picking up the best from everyone. However, the biggest influence on my life has been my mother. Being from a small town of Jhansi, where the entire city is considered as a conservative society, she never had an iota of backward thinking. She was bold, daring, an extremely simple yet sorted kind of a personality. She was probably the first judge in that region of a consumer forum. She mentored me in her own way. Teaching the values, the ethics, the trials and tribulations of an independent career woman and most important of all, the basics of humanity. I owe my entire personality and professional career to her teachings which have given me the right fillip whenever I was down and out.

New York Festivals: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Oh, I will go back to the teachings of my mother. She firmly believed in one mantra, that every injury has a positive line. I have seen this happening so many times in my career, to me and to so many others. Sometimes, what you deserve come to you after a lot of hardship but finally, the right ones win.

Another thing taught by her again which I never forget; to make sure that I end my day with no regrets. She meant “don’t die wondering.

New York Festivals: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Today, employees are responsible for their own training and career path. If you don’t remain relevant, you will be jettisoned and replaced.

One of the biggest change that I have seen is technology. With social media having become the new norm, things spreads faster than ever.

New York Festivals: Where do you see the industry moving in the next 5 years?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Radio is growing and the entire pie is getting bigger. The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification. While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods, traditional methods like radio continue to be strong drivers and carriers of live entertainment. The longevity of this medium is astounding…it has withstood the tests of time…and it will continue to do so.

New York Festivals: What three words describe you as a content creator?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Swim against the tide.

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

Kankana Lohiyaa:  Core quality is Question. Question every single thing. Every single occurrence. Every single movement. Every single situation.

New York Festivals: What program do you wish you created?

Kankana Lohiyaa: A detective show on radio. I am intrigued by Benedict Cummerbatch’s Sherlock created by BBC. I always think, how it would pan out on radio.

New York Festivals: What creative projects are next for you?

Kankana Lohiyaa: I am working on a new concept of 6 second stories. Smallest communication for an entire story.

New York Festivals: What do you think are the hallmarks of award-winning work?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Consumer Insight, Innovation and Opportunity for the consumer to engage with the content.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Kankana Lohiyaa: Every day when I wake up, I write down my dream of the night. I feel one of these days I will fulfill them all. Secretly, I want to be a coffee Barista. Don’t laugh….the fragrance of freshly ground coffee beans is my poison and baking cakes is my therapy.

Join NYF on Monday, April 18th in New York City for the 2018 Radio Awards gala. Find out who will take home the Gold, Silver, and Bronze trophies and the prestigious Grand Awards.  For more information, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/main.php?p=2,7,15

Posted in interviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment