NYF’s Open Mic: Radio on Radio with James Vyver

New York Festivals: Radio on Radio features insights and observations on the wonderful world of Radio by New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury members. 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.

James Vyver, Political Producer, ABC Australia

This week NYF’s Radio on Radio will explore the evolution taking place in the world of radio with 2017 Grand Jury member, James Vyver. James is the Political Producer, Australian Broadcasting Corporation with RN Drive at Parliament House. James has also produced documentaries for RN, reported for 730 ACT and contributed to national radio coverage of events such the Australia of the Year Awards and Anzac Day.

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

James Vyver: Radio has survived in large part because of its immediacy, but how the industry deals with the modern time shifted world is the ongoing challenge. There is so much competition now the traditional linear schedule is almost a thing of the past. Why should I listen to the radio in real time when I could be watching YouTube, binge watching a TV series or streaming music on Spotify? Well I think sticking to what live radio does best – making the listener feel like they are part of something, that they are enjoying a shared experience with all the other people who have their radio on. Hard to do but unbeatable if you get it right. As for long format; I think the rise and rise of podcasts means more stories can be told more ways – there are so many opportunities for those who love a good narrative. That said, this generation of producers (me included) have their work cut out producing an aural format in a visual age.

A big shift I’ve noticed in Australia is the way in which people are listening to radio of all kinds. I work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and our audience is increasingly listening to live radio on their phone, via the streaming service or even digital radios in their cars.

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

Some kind global journalism documentary adventure! Significant and dynamic cultural events told through the people who are there – Day of the Dead in Mexcio, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Dakar Rally. A team of correspondents ready to immersive themselves in the most interesting things happening on the planet. Yes, I would be one of the them!

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

It’s easy to be worthy on this topic if you’re a journalist, but I do think the jobs we have are a major part of a functioning democracy. Imagine a world without journalism, particularly politics coverage, not pretty! Press freedom is about keeping power in check with truth and that can only be done with independent reporting. In lots of ways the current political climate in the US and the echoes it’s having around the world are the opportunity for journalism’s finest hour. How commercial networks stay classy while still turning a buck is a challenge, these days it’s clicks and not the public interest is what makes decisions about who covers what. But a ‘great story’ is usually great because it applies and/or appeals to most people – that will always sell.


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

I LOVE good actuality. I’m obsessive about location recordings and love pointing my microphone at those things on the periphery of my main subject in the field. Recording, compiling, editing and mixing those sounds as part of documentary is one of my favourite parts of the job. Crafting those and image of those scenes or locations are what make a program shine. Good sound can transport the listener; there can be there with you in an instant!

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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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