Open Mic Spotlight: Jeff Kirkwood

Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with prominent Grand Jury members from around the globe, each 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.

2018 Grand Jury member, Jeff Kirkwood is production manager for BELL Media (formerly CHUM) since July 2002 and is now managing a total of 7 stations including 104.5 CHUMFM, 999fm-Virgin Radio, Newstalk1010, TSN 1050/Country105/Energy997/919 BOBFM.

Jeff started his tenure at CHUM in Toronto on October 12, 1985 as an on-air producer. By March of 1989 he was promoted to commercial producer.

Throughout his career he has racked up numerous major awards including a total of 14 from New York Festivals (including 2 Gold and 2 Grand Awards), 2 IBA awards (including 1 Gold) and a Gold Award from the Crystal Awards here in Canada.

 

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

Jeff Kirkwood: I started in radio while in grade 12 in 1982. I took a co-op course that placed students at different “agencies” around town based on the student’s top 3 selections from available placements. I really wanted to be a TV cameraman, so I applied at the local cable station. My second choice was the local radio station and I honestly don’t remember my third choice. The TV station was only accepting 2 students and 13 applied.  I was told in my interview I “wasn’t the media type”. I still don’t know what that means, and she couldn’t give me an answer “I know it when I see it and you aren’t it” I was told. What a great confidence boost to a 17-year-old (there’s that sarcasm again). When I interviewed at the radio station I was one of only 2 students that applied, and I got the “gig” because I had a car and the other student didn’t. The concern was the nearest bus stop was a considerable distance and they needed to know for sure that the student would show up every day. My first day was October 1, 1982 and was actually hired as a paid employee in January of 1983.

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

Jeff Kirkwood: After 3 years at the small radio station I started at and applying to bigger stations for 2 ½ of those years, I was hired at 1050 CHUM in Toronto. That started my career path to becoming a real producer. CHUM knew my goal was to work on commercials (and eventually promos and station imaging) and they pointed my duties in that direction. I was promoted to commercial producer in 1989 and never looked back. In 1997 I was made Imaging Producer for CHUMFM and eventually Production Manager in 2002.

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

Jeff Kirkwood: The single biggest change I’ve seen has been the changes in CRTC regulation allowing multiple ownership in individual markets. Put it this way: in 1985 I was hired to work at 1 radio station, 1050CHUM. When I became a commercial producer, I worked for 2 stations, 1050CHUM and CHUMFM. I’m now the Production Manager of 7 stations and 3 of them are in markets 2 hours away. And that may very well change within the next little while to include as many as 4 additional stations.

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

Jeff Kirkwood: To win awards, first and foremost the work must be relatable to the audience. If they don’t get it or don’t care, then it’s over. Obviously, it must be well-produced, well-written, well edited, top-notch voice talent, make smart music choices and it must be memorable. If listeners don’t remember the message, then what’s the point. Using studio gimmicks for the sake of using them makes no sense to me. As a producer your job is to ensure you are serving the client or program to the best of your ability.

For more information on New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/.

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Open Mic Spotlight: Rania Adam Awada

 

Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds 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. This week Open Mic shares the insights of Grand Jury member and 2017 NYF Radio Award winner Rania Adam Awada, Journalist/Broadcaster with Radio Sawa.

Rani Adam Awada

Rania earned a Gold Trophy in June 2017 at the New York Festivals Radio Gala for her program “Syrian Woman Resists ISIS” which told the story of women in Deir Ezzor who stood up to ISIS and fought for the children after their city was invaded. The Gold trophy-winning report “Syrian Women Resist ISIS” was named the best Information/Documentary report in the category honoring heroes.

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

Rania Adam Awada: Twenty years ago, I started as an intern in local radio in Lebanon, where I learned the basics and gained experience. I enhanced my expertise when I moved to Dubai to work as a News room deputy director until I came to the US in 2008 to join Radio Sawa. At Sawa, I was able to make significant interviews and stories one of which won us the Gold at The New York Festivals in 2017. And now, I am honored to serve as a Juror at the same festival that recognized my work as a creative journalist.

Rania Adam Awada

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

Rania Adam Awada: Joining Radio Sawa was a major turning point in my life. I was exposed to a new life: socially and in professionally. Working in a diverse, open and free environment with people from all over the world enriched and still does my experience and knowledge to no end.

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

Rania Adam Awada: “Words have power”..a quote I read once and guided me in my journalistic endeavors. Choosing simple but meaningful words reaches audiences. “Words” possess a powerful force that can leave a mark on listeners: Good or Bad. But the best advice I received and guided my work: “don’t be biased and above all keep ethics in the practice of Journalism.

New York Festivals: What is your favorite program that you created and why?

Rania Adam Awada: “Sawa Magazine”, was the best show I have ever worked on. I was lucky to join the team whose work gave voice to the voiceless from all over the Arab world as we told their stories of suffering, and the yearning deep down inside all of us to succeed and achieve. We cover many fields, but our main mission is to reach the young, a neglected group of people in the Middle East, and their humanitarian needs.

Stay tuned, New York Festivals will soon announce the 2018 Radio Awards Finalists, for more information, or to enter please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

 

 

 

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Open Mic Spotlight: Abhishek Sharma

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview offers insights into the brilliant careers of radio content creators from around the globe.

NYF’s Grand 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 heard on radio today. This esteemed jury of prominent execs will determine 2018’s World’s Best Radio Programs.

Abhishek Sharma

Grand Jury member Abhishek Sharma is Program Director for India’s Radio City
91.1 FM. His audio career spans over a decade with experience working with popular Indian radio brands like  Radio City and Radio Mantra. Abhishek’s work for radio has been recognized and awarded by the most prestigious awards forums in India and abroad. His work has been awarded at numerous award competitions including New York Festivals, India Radio Forum, Golden Mikes, ACEF and Radio Duniya awards.

Throughout his career Abhishek has hosted and executed campaigns including Shukriya Soldier which was broadcast in USA, India, New Zealand, Australia and UAE and Dil Deke Dekho, one of the most appreciated and awarded campaigns of 2015-2016.

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

Abhishek Sharma: Radio is under a transformation phase even right now, or rather I should say that it has moved ahead from being just about radio. With the rise of social media, its impact on the target group of each broadcaster has grown massively. Fortunately broadcasters around the globe have realized its potential and today radio content is processed in such a manner that it can be podcasted with a semi professional video on social media as well. Radio stations have verified twitter, insta and FB handles with fans requesting their music, chatting with the RJs and participating in polls. The RJs have moved on from being just “pleasant chatters on radio” to self opinionated superstars on digital media. Needless to say bringing about a revolution in terms of content, music is much easier than it was ever.

New York Festivals: Is there a revolution going on today in radio content?

Abhishek Sharma: As far Indian radio is concerned I think we do need a content revolution. On comparing radio storytelling with cinema we see that new avenues/ genres are seldom tried via broadcasters. 90% of radio content in India still relies upon humor. I would not say that we don’t do meaning full radio but the core or route generally remains humour. Whereas cinema on the other hand has always been experimenting genres like action, politics, war, drama, sex, even disgust. I think with more and more exposure to the world media and internet broadcasters will actively do stuff that is revolutionary in nature.

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

Abhishek Sharma: I would love to be a part of a show that influences people not just in India but across the globe. A show that knows no boundaries, can helps people connect with loved ones in different corners of the world, take music and cultures from one part of the world to another.

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

Abhishek Sharma: Imagination and theater of mind do differentiate/ provide an edge to radio from all other mediums like television or even films. The pictures built are more beautiful and relevant. A war scene is as deadlier that a budgeted set for a TV series of film, it’s relevant to me because it’s a zone that I had created as per my imagination. A drama series on radio is more like reading a book where the story unfolds layer by layer but the edge remains the audio landscape that makes it more and more believable and relevant.

For more information New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

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Open Mic Spotlight: Judith Kampfner

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview offers insights into the brilliant careers of radio content creators from around the globe. NYF’s Grand 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 heard on radio today.

Grand Jury member, Judith Kampfner is Director of Corporation for Independent Media in New York. She has been making dramas and documentaries solely for the BBC since 2005. Before that Judith was senior arts producer at WNYC and involved in establishing the pilot era of Studio 360. She is currently working on several podcast projects simultaneously while making 3 contemporary audio plays for the BBC as well as music and archive programs. In the last 5 years she’s been writing radio plays and loves working with new writers and radio makers.

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

Judith Kampfner: I was living in NY and working at WNYC as an arts producer. I saw a brilliant man doing a one -person show in a theater and asked if I could bring him into the studio to adapt it for radio. The station didn’t broadcast it because they felt that 60 minutes was too long. So I sent it on a whim to the Commissioner of Drama at BBC Radio 4. I got a call back saying they had a sudden hole in the schedule and wanted to put it on. After that they encouraged me to form my own independent company. I went back to London for 5 years to learn about all the administrative labyrinthine processes of registering with them as an indie and learning about how to pitch, deal with constant rejections, lobbying with the Radio Independents Group and delivering programs – dramas and documentaries. It was a kind of bureaucracy that ironically was also very freeing. Once a show is commissioned it is yours to develop. And thinking up the ideas is something I find takes me down fascinating rabbit holes.

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

Judith Kampfner: I had a mentor at BBC World Service. The first time he was my editor/producer was terrifying. I showed him my script, played the tape and then there was silence. He broke the silence with the cryptic  “What was all that about then?” I was devastated as I had been to Prague and collected difficult material and thought my premise  – linking Czech politics after the Velvet Revolution to the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas was original. He made me go back and do fresh interviews but then he really put time and effort and enthusiasm into reworking it with me. His tough perfectionism was something I internalized. He still corresponds with me and listens to my work and is my fiercest critic but he listens more carefully than anyone I know!

Velvet Revolution

New York Festivals: Whose work do you admire the most?

Judith Kampfner: I admire foreign correspondents. They have so much energy and bold resolve as they go again and again into new territories, new situations, try to cover news that hasn’t been covered, wear protective gear in dangerous situations and manage to sound calm. They have a to go bag permanently packed; they build up wonderful relationships with fixers and interpreters. I admire them but could not do it.

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

Judith Kampfner: I am developing podcast projects with different teams – fiction and non-fiction and it is hugely exciting. There’s so much to learn about this industry, which already is very adept at monetizing, marketing and recruiting new talent. I’ve been told there are 45,000 podcasts out there but only 4,500 get regularly listened to. That’s a huge challenge. It’s so different from working within the culture of one broadcaster. But I think having had my own company helps. It’s a different kind of pitching but the principle is the same and I feel that having being trained by great people is a plus though I am eager to learn new attitudes, approaches and work much more with American teams now.

For more information New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

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Open Mic Spotlight: Angie Man

 

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

Angie Man

Angie Man is a Multimedia Editor of Radio 3, Radio Television Hong Kong. Previously she was a journalist for local Chinese newspapers and worked for different online platforms. In 2008, she joined RTHK and has worked as producer and web content editor.  Angie also has managed several RTHK online projects like Bookmarks, Teen Time, Hong Kong’s Top Story etc.

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

Angie Man: Originally, I was a journalist for Chinese newspapers. But in 1990s I was so attracted by the blooming development of internet world so I changed my job as a web editor. In 2008, there was an opening for a multimedia editor of Radio 3, RTHK. Though I had no experiences in radio, I gave it a go as I wanted to see how my profession on web content development and traditional newspaper experiences could adapt and be helpful to radio industry and audio content. I was lucky to get the job and have been finding the job very challenging and interesting every day from then on.

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

Angie Man: Definitely was the career change from working traditional media (i.e. Newspaper) to online media(web). From then on, the stories telling or projects would not have been delivered just one to one, as there are interactions with your readers and users; not only locally but globally as it can be more accessible via the internet; and  without time limit as stories can be posted whenever they are available. And it’s amazing to find that the stories can be presented not just in text and pictures, but audio, video with production of info graphics, animations and special design.

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

Angie Man: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to

change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. By Reinhold Niebuhr

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

Angie Man: Yes, there are. First of all, the importance of social media; secondly, the new trend of “Radio on the move”. Radio industry is not old-fashioned. It has evolved with social media. Broadcasters use Facebook, twitter, Instagram and weibo to interact with our users, engage them and at the end publicize our works on different social media platforms. It has really become important part of our radio presenters/producers’ routines to work on social media platforms. It’s important for us to keep on active and engaging in those social media as because they are where current and potential audiences are. Secondly, the latest trend – “Radio on the movie” is largely due to the popularity of smartphones. Radio audiences are now turning to mobile devices to access to radio when they want it and where they want it.  We must continue to adapt to be like“liquid”, which means more flexible and adaptable to change. To begin with, we need to ask ourselves where our audiences are. We all should keep learning and look for trends, and value staff who see the big picture.

What three words describe you as a content creator?

Angie Man: Authentic, Flexible and Creative.

For more information New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

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Open Mic Spotlight: Andrew Mark Sewell

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?


Andrew Mark Sewell

Grand Jury member Andrew Mark Sewell, Executive Producer for B7 Productions Limited, is a former BBC executive and now multi award-winning independent filmmaker and radio drama producer/director.

Sewell’s film producer credits include Dan Ireland’s Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, starring Dame Joan Plowright and Rupert Friend. Other credits include the independent films of Canadian filmmaker Paul Kimball, The Cuckoo in the Clock, Roundabout and their latest collaboration, the multi-award winning noir thriller Exit Thread.

Winner of the prestigious NYC International Radio Program ‘Best Director’ Award for the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot (2017), Sewell was also nominated as ‘Best Drama Producer’ at the Audio Production Awards (2015 & 2017). His name has become synonymous with some of the most popular science fiction audio drama produced in the last decade and is best known for the re-imagining of cult BBC television series Blake’s 7.

More recently Sewell directed the critically acclaimed Dan Dare audio adventures starring Ed Stoppard, based on the popular Eagle comic strips of the 1950s, hailed by SciFiBulletin.com as “… one of the best collections of audio fiction I’ve heard in a long time.”

Over the years Sewell has carved out a growing reputation for producing dramatic, widescreen audio stories, which sound lived-in, real and cinematic. Notable BBC Radio 4 dramas include Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles starring Derek Jacobi and Hayley Atwell, which featured as part of the BBC Radio 4’s ‘Dangerous Visions’ season.

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

Andrew Mark Sewell: Always listen to good advice.

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

Andrew Mark Sewell: With the advent of digital, like the television business before it, the traditional model for getting your radio ideas commissioned and reaching listeners has been turned on its head. Traditional broadcasters are no longer the sole gatekeepers to the audience. Specifically, in terms of audiobooks and full-cast audio dramas, there’s a revolution in motion. Empowered by alternative distribution channels, independent producers and publishers can now release shows direct to the consumer (via streaming or digital download). They’re even crowdfunding specific ‘passion’ projects. Publishers and larger ‘digital only’ players like Audible are also making aggressive moves into the full-cast audio drama market, offering a more ‘bestselling’ author (The Child, The Jungle Book, Treasure Island) and/or ‘brand led’ (X-Files: Stolen Lives, Alien) alternative to the likes of BBC Radio 4.

Podcasting might be ‘the Emperor’s new clothes’ but it’s also still the Wild West out there in terms of defining a viable business model. Whilst opportunities in the ‘digital’ market are very fluid, it has also prompted the resurgence in richly imaginative audio drama. Like the pioneering indie filmmakers before them, writers and producers working in the realm of audio are being equally creative, often subverting the genre in exciting and inspiring new ways.  It’s a great time for radio, and a great time to be working in radio drama.

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

Andrew Mark Sewell: Passionate. Collaborative. Maverick.

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

Andrew Mark Sewell: There are several, but given that our specialty (certainly in the realm of audio drama) is fantasy and science fiction I’d have to say Game of Thrones. Ambitious, confident, with rich, complex characters, Shakespearean in their interaction and tragedy. For my money it rivals the world-building brilliance of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Ultimately, I’m drawn to compelling, character led stories, and in terms of recent audio dramas, Val McDermid’s thriller for BBC Radio 4, examining what happens if antibiotics stop working, was a thought-provoking and chilling listen.

New York Festivals: What is your favorite program that you created and why?

Andrew Mark Sewell: Our re-imagining of Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot for BBC Radio 4 was a particular highlight and one I’m very proud of. Asimov’s classic novel about the rise of robotics in the 21st century is a timeless commentary on the relationship between humans and technology. It’s an allegory of how we treat others who are not like us. But it’s also a cracking story, with a unique perspective. The richness of Asimov’s vision has inspired science fiction for over sixty years and only now can we appreciate the prophetic accuracy of his predictions about the impact AI would have on our world. Humanity is now living on the edge of the world that Asimov first imagined.

 

Richard Kurti (the dramatist) and I wanted to go back to the original to explore the questions Asimov posed, and which have never been more relevant. Already, our machines and technology are on the path to becoming our equals, if not superiors, in certain respects. Our ambition was to do the book justice. The 5 x 15-minute drama format for BBC Radio 4 was an opportunity to create the first complete dramatisation of I, Robot in any medium. I hope we successfully took this classic of speculative fiction and made it relevant for today’s listener. Certainly the positive listener feedback would suggest we did.

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

Andrew Mark Sewell: We are currently scripting a further series of Dan Dare audio adventures (www.DanDareAudio.com), planned for release in December 2018, to coincide with the centenary of the original creator and artist, Frank Hampson. Introduced to the original Eagle comics (published in the 1950s) by my late father, Dan Dare was a real passion project for me, so it was very satisfying (and a relief) that the first series got such a positive critical reaction and I’m delighted we’ll get to revisit the Dan Dare universe once again. We also have several new commissions and I’m particularly excited about a major new science documentary-drama series for Audible, which will mark a bit of a departure for us.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Andrew Mark Sewell : In many ways I’m already doing my dream job, the budgets might be small, but working in radio allows for more freedom to stay true to your creative vision. In television and film, which I’m still active in, realising a project is often a series of compromises and at times it can feel like producing by committee. In radio, I enjoy the intimacy that production environment offers. In the recording studio it’s often just me, the writer, the studio manager and of course the all-important actors.

For more information on New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

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Open Mic Spotlight: Simon Hollis

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

Simon Hollis, Head of Brook Lapping Radio, Brook Lapping has made a number of programs for BBC  Simon started working as a producer and writer on 5 Live’s weekly political programme Sunday Service.  In 2006, his Lennon: The Wenner Tapes won a Sony Gold.  A number of other programmes have also received awards, including Falklands: War at the White House, Not No-One: The Story of the Unknown Soldier, The Politics of Dancing: How Disco Changed the World and The Day Before 9/11, all for Radio 4. His two part series on soul music and civil rights I Should be Proud was the overall Grand winner of 2008’s International Radio Broadcasting Awards held in New York, as was The New York 77 Blackout the following year. In 2010 his profile of Margaret Thatcher, The New York 77 Blackout, won a Sony Gold. The 2012 series Black is a Country – which chronicled the music and politics of the Black Power movement – took a Sony Silver for Best Music Documentary.

How did you get your start in the radio industry?

Simon Hollis: I was interviewed at a small, independent production company called Planet 24 Radio that had just won a great commission to make a weekly news and politics show for BBC radio. It was in at the deep end.

What was the turning point in your career?

Simon Hollis: Moving from live news and current affairs, where I made short packages, to long-form feature making which is really what I wanted to do.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Simon Hollis: It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission! Or: assume listeners are highly intelligent and know nothing.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry?

ISimon Hollis: Think the overall standards of feature making are much higher now than ever before.

What is the responsibility of journalists in today’s world?

Simon Hollis: The same as always – to tell the truth, be critical, challenge consensus and not be cowed, especially by the toxic term ‘fake news’ which is aimed at discrediting any journalism that certain regimes don’t like

What program do you wish you created?

Simon Hollis: There’s a BBC Radio 4 format called ‘The Reunion’ which is a genius idea and the brilliant ‘99% Invisible’, which shows what audio can do in terms of ‘visual’ fields like architecture and design.

What do you think are the hallmarks of award-winning work?

Simon Hollis: Elegance, form and focus.

What would be your dream job?

Simon Hollis: This one, pretty much.

For more information or to enter New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

 

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Open Mic Spotlight: Mike Halley

 

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

2018 Grand Jury member, Mike Halley is Founding Partner of Square Dog Media Scotland. Mike had a career spanned 18 years as a senior aerospace engineer, his second career in broadcasting is now more than 20 years and counting.

Mike Halley

Mike has created hundreds of features as a freelance reporter for You & Yours, All in the Mind and Woman’s Hour in particular, before moving behind the mic as a producer on numerous editions of Mediumwave, the Message (which he also christened), Sunday and File on FourAn early adopter of each wave of new technology, including DAT recorders, mini-disks and most recently solid-state recorders, Mike has been digital editing since the original Pro Tools, and has trained many other reporters and producers in both new recording technologies and digital editing.

Since co-founding Pennine Productions in 2001 and subsequently Square Dog Radio in 2006, Mike has produced 34 of his own programmes for BBC Radio 4, and mixed nearly all of both companies’ output. Many of Mike’s programme ideas come from a mixture of his varied employment experience, involvement in a variety of voluntary sector activities and a multi-disciplinary honours degree with the Open University that included social science, drama, history, psychology and technology modules. His first book “Electronic Brains” came out of a Radio 4 series and was published in 2005 by Granta.

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

I was extraordinarily fortunate, as a new freelance on a local radio station, starting my new career after a complete change of occupation in my late 30s, to offer a story to a producer on the national UK speech station BBC Radio 4.  It turned out she was new in her job, needed to cultivate a group of freelances, and was eager to help me develop into a proper reporter-producer.  I might have got where I am eventually anyway, but it would have taken me many more years without her guidance.

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

The biggest change for me has to be the impact of digital technology, transforming the way we edited and mixed from the days of tape-and-razor-blade, meaning I could put together a programme very quickly on a laptop in an hotel room, and going on to create the proliferation of stations we now have, the whole huge new sector of podcasting and so on.

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

Perhaps more than any time in more than a century, journalists have to stand up for the basic tenets of honest, truthful reporting, always trying to get to the source of a story, never relying on second-hand accounts, never going with the flow of what others write

New York Festivals: What is your favorite program that you created and why?

Mike Halley: It’s a tough choice, but maybe it is “The Bee Inspector” a series of four quarter-hours, where I followed a UK Government bee inspector around his patch in the north of England, over the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, as he advised bee-keepers on best practice, dealt with disease and so on.  Few people even knew there was such a thing as a bee inspector and the series was a window into another world

New York Festivals: Whose work do you admire the most?

John Pilger

Mike Halley: It’s hard to choose just one, but it’s John Pilger’s name that comes to mind first, as someone who never goes along with the conventional line that authorities try to impose, instead typifying the dictum “telling truth to power”, ever since he exposed the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, while the World looked the other way

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

Mike Halley: What do you think are the hallmarks of award-winning work?
What I am looking for is programmes that stand out because of exceptional stories, contributors or treatment that make them really memorable.  Too often I listen to submissions that have ‘star’ names or are ‘specials’ or ‘anniversaries’ but really have nothing that lifts them out of the ordinary – perfectly respectable programmes but not deserving of awards.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Mike Halley: Ironically perhaps, it would be a wildlife vet in Africa, but I realised that rather late in life, and the nearest I’ve come to it is making radio programmes about African wildlife!

For more information or to enter New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio

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Open Mic Spotlight: Philip Coulter

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

Philip Coulter

2018 Grand Jury member, Philip Coulter’s company Tandem Projects produces radio documentaries for the CBC Radio programme “Ideas”. He is particularly interested in social issues, human rights and culture, and over the past twenty years some typical projects have been programmes about: 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 Philip also produced the annual five-hour Massey Lectures radio series.

Philip started his career at the CBC producing radio drama in Montreal and then worked as a features and music producer.

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

Philip Coulter: I was a theatre director and producer, earning even less big-bucks than radio offered when I went to work as a drama and features producer at CBC. I knew nothing, so on day one I watched carefully to see which button the technician in the control room pushed to talk through the glass. On day two I had to ask a production assistant to show me how to edit tape. After that I was fine 🙂

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

Philip Coulter: After I lost my job and was forced to think about what I really wanted- I figured, I had to commit everything or I wasn’t going to be any good.

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

Philip Coulter: Yes, I had a mentor, who saved my life when no one else would look at me, and who taught me everything about documentaries, particularly patience- that the solution for that problem is always waiting for you.

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

Philip Coulter: Here are five, but it could be fifty. 1. Have a working hypothesis, but assume it’s probably wrong. 2. In interviews, no written questions, do your homework but keep it all in your head, that way you’re forced to listen. 3. No warm ups: lead with your best question. 4. Listen hard to what you’re being told: the next question is always there. 5. Ask yourself: so what? Figure out why anyone should care about your precious programme.

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

Philip Coulter: To hold up a candle in a dark place; the same as anyone else.

New York Festivals:What is your favorite program that you created and why?

Philip Coulter: “Rules of the Game”, a 2006 series about Guantanamo. I was amazed the US military let me go there and talk to so many people. I was able to tell first-person stories about the prisoners, their guards, and some heroic military defence lawyers who sacrificed their careers for the truth and the law. It was a deep dive into a moral and legal mess that the US may never extricate itself from. But the individual people were almost all honorable.

New York Festivals: Whose work do you admire the most?

Philip Coulter: Steve Wadhams, Chris Brookes, Nahlah Ayed, Margaret Evans. In film, Michael Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo) does what I would like to do in radio.

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

Philip Coulter: A documentary about “Paris 1968” and the student revolution,  also “Walls”, a journey along the Northern Ireland border.

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

Philip Coulter: Telling a story that no one else is telling, and that radio can tell best. The radio documentary maker is like the cockroach in the basement: you’ll still be there when the nuclear cloud has passed, microphone at the ready.

New York Festivals:What would be your dream job?

Philip Coulter: Not applicable. I already have it…

For more information or to enter New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

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Open Mic Spotlight: Guy Starkey

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. Each week Open Mic Spotlight taps into the minds of content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

Grand Jury member, Guy Starkey currently is Associate Dean, Global Engagement, Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University.

Guy Starkey

Guy was previously Professor of Radio and Journalism at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, where he was Associate Dean (Media) (2007-8) and Head of the Department of Media (2008-10). A former radio producer and presenter on commercial radio in the UK, the British Forces Broadcasting Service in Gibraltar and stations in France and the Middle East, Guy still broadcasts daily on the internet radio stations 1540 The VOP and The Voice of Peace.

 

 

His books include ‘Local Radio, Going Global’, ‘Radio in Context’, ‘Radio Journalism’ (with Professor Andrew Crisell) and ‘Balance and Bias in Journalism: Representation, Regulation and Democracy’.

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

Guy Starkey: I did unpaid work on a hospital radio station in Chester, England when I was in my mid-teens. Most of the volunteers there were involved as part of a community awards scheme, and they weren’t particularly interested in radio. But there were a small number of us who were bitten by the radio bug already, and two of us went on to a first break at an offshore radio station on a ship anchored in the Mediterranean, called the Voice of Peace.

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

Guy Starkey: Leaving radio presentation full time for working in education. I’ve tutored many talented and promising students over the years and it’s particularly pleasing to see some of them make it in the radio industry. And because I still love radio presentation, I still do weekly shows on internet and community radio. Plus I’ve had the opportunity to write books and do academic research on my favourite subject.

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

Guy Starkey: Be yourself! Lots of people say that but it’s true – nobody wants to listen to an imitation of someone else, unless of course it’s a very professional act, maybe even comedy.

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

Guy Starkey: The loss of autonomy for individual presenters, both in choosing songs and in what they can do in a link. I understand all the reasons for professional music scheduling, but before the computer arrived in the studio many of us did pretty well relying on our own judgement and knowledge of the music, the format and the audience. Oh and the PD!

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

Guy Starkey: The industry should look at what works and hang onto it. For example, in the UK it’s not the bland, highly formatted stations that are best placed in the ratings, it’s the BBC with well-produced links and more interesting personality presenters that gets the big numbers. Also, real local radio that reflects and informs communities large and small can find audiences that are looking for something more than someone else’s iPod, to evoke a device whose popularity rose and fell rather quickly in recent years.

For more information or to enter New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards, please visit:http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

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