Open Mic Grand Jury Spotlight: Philip Coulter



New York Festivals Grand Jury are some of the best and brightest in the radio industry and the brilliant creative minds who judge the 2019 NYF Radio Awards. These award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are all actively involved in creating today’s innovative radio content.

Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with NYF’s respected Grand Jury members and each NYF Spotlight interview shares the insights of these esteemed content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

Philip Coulter

This week we shine the spotlight on New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury member, Philip Coulter, Producer, CBC Radio “Ideas” documentary unit at CBC Radio. Philip brings over 20 years experience to the NYF Radio Awards Grand Jury.

Philip is interested in social issues, human rights and culture, and typical projects that programs have been about include the refugee crisis in Calais, the rise of the Far Right in Europe, the Guantanamo detainees, the rebuilding of South Africa, the collapse of Yugoslavia, James Joyce in Trieste, the politics of Allen Ginsberg, Frank Zappa’s musical innovation, anarchism, sailing alone around the world and the medieval knightly orders. Since the mid-90’s, he has also produced the annual five-hour Massey Lectures radio series.

New York Festivals: What qualities are most important in award-winning work?

Philip Coulter: Award-winning work doesn’t have to be the most technically sophisticated, most imaginative, but it does have to speak to the heart on something that moves people. Anyone can master special effects; offering some little insight into who we are, that’s whats important. One of the best things I ever did came out of one day of talking to people in a refugee camp.

New York Festivals: How does your experience within the industry help you throughout the judging process?

Philip Coulter: My brilliant peers  at the CBC teach me about honesty and simplicity, but it can be easy to forget that we’re not alone; running into radio colleagues from other cultures, listening to their work, is a bit like finding an unknown twin and discovering how alike we are, that what we do is more similar than it is different.

New York Festivals: How do you think content creators will change the way they tell stories in the future?

Philip Coulter: Nothing essential ever changes: through modern eyes we can read Shakespeare’s plays or look at cave paintings and recognise ourselves in those mirrors. The storytellers of the future will use new tools, and the tools shape the story, of course, but they aren’t the story.


New York Festivals: What project meant the most to you in your own history?

Philip Coulter: There are many, but here’s one: I made a five-hour series about the remaking of South Africa, filled with the honest, open voices of people who had suffered profoundly. It taught me that governments do little to effect change; it’s always individuals and small groups who move the world.

New York Festivals: What advice do you have for young people just beginning a career in the industry?

Philip Coulter: Easy: radio isn’t going away, rumours of our death are greatly exaggerated: sound is an essential communication form, radio is cheap, portable and immediate. You may not always have a job, but there’ll always be work to do and the tools to do it. A story in sound is something you can make entirely by yourself; you don’t need a crew or a big pot of money, it’s just you and your heart, your honesty, your imagination. And sometimes a plane ticket.

For more information on New York Festivals Radio Awards, please visit:

This entry was posted in interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + = nine