NYF Open Mic: Radio on Radio with Anna Foster

Radio on Radio features New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury’s insights and observations on the transformation taking place in the industry today, their opinions on the importance of free speech, their thoughts on creating their dream show and much more.

Anna Foster, Presenter/Reporter, BBC UK

NYF’s Grand Jury is comprised of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives who are actively involved in creating the innovative radio programs heard on radio today. Who better to share their insider information on the wonderful world of radio than this respected group of prominent industry thought leaders?

This week NYF’s Radio on Radio will explore the evolution taking place in the world of radio with 2017 Grand Jury member, Anna Foster. Anna has worked across BBC Radio for the last decade as a presenter and reporter. She has been a regular on 5 live since 2005, working as the station’s regional reporter in the North East of England before moving to present Weekend Breakfast.

Anna has broadcast from Iraq and Afghanistan and covered major stories across the UK – from the Cumbrian shootings and search for Raoul Moat to the London Marathon and Olympic Torch Relay. In the 2016 NYF Radio Awards competition, Anna earned the NYF Silver Trophy, UNDPI Silver Award, and a Finalist Certificate for her program “Ebola: Winning the Battle in Sierra Leone.”

Anna Foster recording audio in a refugee camp in Iraq.

In the interview below, Anna shares her insights and observations on why radio is thriving, the shift she’s noticed in the industry and how imagination comes into play when creating with the listener in mind.

New York Festivals: How will radio transform in the coming years? What is the biggest shift you’ve noticed this past year?

Anna Foster: We’re doing so much more that doesn’t come out of speakers in the time-honored way. Whether it’s photographing assignments to run on our Instagram account, or videoing contributors doing what they do to make grabby videos for Facebook and Twitter, we’ve really started to think differently. For me, it always has to start with making sparkling content for the radio, and the extras are like jewels to decorate that. We should definitely nod to the speed of tech change too, I’d never have imagined I’d be able to listen to my favorite stations by asking a hands-free speaker in my kitchen to find and play them!

New York Festivals: What would be your dream show to create, budget no object?

Broadcasting in a hospital in Sierra Leone.

Anna Foster: An unlimited budget? Great! I think it’d be really fascinating to experiment with broadening people’s horizons. So much of what we do on radio is taking the listener to new places, exposing them to new experiences. I’d love to do that physically, to actually bring people together to experience each others’ lives in different parts of the world. It’d be a really bold experiment to gather a huge panel of people from right around the globe, put them all together in the same space, and hear the conversation they’d have about their hopes and fears.

New York Festivals: Will you talk about the importance of freedom of press?

Anna Foster: Right now, press freedom is more important than ever, but I think we need to tread delicately. The information we get is richer because so many more people can use technology and social media to contribute. But alongside that, if we’re not careful, the truth can become lost in the noise. I’d say the answer lies with us as journalists, we need to fight with passion and energy to keep our freedom, but make sure we treasure that right by being as reasoned and accurate as we’ve always tried to be.

New York Festivals: Audio landscapes, theater of the mind, how does imagination come into play?

Anna Foster: For me, radio stands head and shoulders above TV when it comes to feeling part of something. I love what you can do with sound, how immersive it can be. If I’m working in the field, I’m always thinking about the words I pick, about describing something in a way that paints the most compelling picture. I’m obsessed with the tiniest sounds that bring something to life. I always work on making you feel like you’re standing there beside me, and – while I love pictures for different reasons – nothing creates that raw intimacy quite like radio.

The deadline to enter the 2017 World’s Best Radio Programs competition is March 17, 2017. To enter go to: Log In and for additional information go to: Rules and Regulations.

Join New York Festivals Monday, June 19, 2017 as we honor the World’s Best Radio Programs at an awards ceremony at in New York City. To view the 2016 World’s Best Radio Program Ceremony Gala, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/media/rp/2016/

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