June 24th’s New York Festivals Radio Awards ceremony awarded exceptional radio content in all lengths and formats across all platforms. Trophy-winning, producers, directors, presenters and content creators from around the globe took to the stage to accept their glittering trophies and celebrate their success while toasting their peers with a glass of champagne. Truly a night to remember!
Open Mic features interviews with the brilliant women and men behind some of the world’s most compelling programs and provide insights and observations from these leaders within the industry.
New York Festivals spent a few minutes with Cole Moreton, Journalist and Presenter for the NYF Gold and Silver trophy winning documentary “The Walk: For Richer, For Poorer” (TBI Media, UK).
The documentary, which aired on BBC Radio 4 explores the question “How do the rich and the poor live together, side-by-side every day – and what about the rest of us who live in the middle?” Cole walked four miles across the Borough of Kensington through the extremes of London-living, in a mesmerizing series of real-life encounters that built and told a story like a drama.
In the interview below, Cole discusses his inspiration behind the documentary, his biggest creative influence, his creative process and what’s next on the horizon.
New York Festivals: What was the inspiration for your award-winning program “The Walk: For Richer, For Poorer” and what did you ultimately hope to accomplish?
Cole Moreton: Radio is at its best when it is like a friend whispering in your ear, telling you truthful stories, introducing you to people whose voices you would not otherwise hear. The London borough of Kensington has some of the richest streets in Britain, but right alongside are some of the poorest. I set out to walk through those streets – from the Food Hall at Harrods, one of Britain’s most exclusive stores, to the North Paddington Food Bank that brings emergency assistance for people in crisis – hearing from the very rich and those who were struggling, to see how they saw each other and how they survived, cheek by jowl.
The aim was to portray a complex, surprising situation in a way that would be as gripping as a drama and bring about empathy and greater understanding in the listener. Shortly after we were commissioned, the Grenfell Tower disaster happened and the project took on a new urgency, as for a moment Londoners saw each other in a new light.
New York Festivals: Tell us about your creative process and how you overcame any obstacles?
Cole Moreton: Grenfell Tower was the obvious one, as there was already a great deal of coverage of the disaster itself and the aftermath. My producer Jonathan Mayo and I set out to tell a story about the wider community, taking Grenfell as a symptom of what was happening. The challenge was to combine facts and figures with compelling personal stories from interviews and a spontaneous narrative, improvised and recorded in the street in reaction to all that was happening around us. Recording in binaural sound also presented a technical challenge, superbly met by our colleague Max O’Brien.
New York Festivals: Who has been the biggest influence on you creatively?
Cole Moreton: I’ve been a radio addict since the days of listening to John Peel under the covers and taping new music, so he was the beginning, but I take inspiration from any of the great story tellers I hear on radio and in podcasts every day. When I began to make radio myself, after a career as a print journalist, my producer Jonathan Mayo was a mentor and a friend.
New York Festivals: What are the top 3 pointers you’d give someone just starting out in world of audio?
Cole Moreton: The story is everything, so listen hard to what people say. Go for the emotion. Take more risks.
New York Festivals: What project is next on the horizon for you and your team?
Cole Moreton: We recently made a version of The Walk looking at the relationship between Calais and Dover, on either side of the Channel, in these fraught times of Brexit and the migration crisis. The aim is to keep giving voice to those who would not otherwise be heard. Right now I’m in the middle of a series of Edge of England, a podcast about life on the dramatic south coast of England where I live, near Beachy Head and its iconic 500 foot white cliffs, the setting for a forthcoming debut novel of mine called The Light Keeper.
For a complete list of all the 2019 New York Festivals Radio Award winners, please visit: HERE