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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Open Mic Spotlight: Michael Iantorno

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview spends a few minutes each week tapping into the minds of  brilliant content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

NYF’s 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.

Michael Iantorno

Grand Jury member, Michael Iantorno is a Toronto-based audio producer, digital media specialist, and game designer. He produced audio programming for the Canadian national broadcaster Accessible Media Inc and is pursuing an MA in Media Studies at Concordia University. His projects range from game hacking to web development.

Michael has produced live, episodic, and documentary style programming that has been recognized by the IAAIS, RTDNA, NCRA, and New York Festivals. His games have received thousands of downloads and have been appeared in festivals, books, and across the blogosphere.

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

Michael Iantorno: I recently received a rejection letter from a major broadcaster that described my latest pitch as being a “bit too niche.” I think that is an apt description.

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

Michel Iantorno: I am going to have to fall back on a bit of a cliché and pick: “don’t be afraid to try things that scare you.” Routine and comfort are nice every once in a while but they can also lead to professional and creative stagnation. It is definitely worthwhile to attempt things that are challenging, out of your area of expertise, or just plain weird.

This advice has been especially relevant for me since I find the entire world incredibly terrifying. Well, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration… but many of my major life changes have been defined by uncertainty and risk. I would have never been a successful radio producer or, more recently, a graduate student if I always stayed within my comfort zone.

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

One program that I will always have a soft spot for is An Open Book, a half hour long documentary that I produced for AMI-audio. An Open Book explores the intersections between literature, copyright, creativity, and accessibility, while analyzing the development of the Marrakesh Treaty. I had the opportunity to speak with a variety of passionate academics and advocates for the program, who discussed how copyright law and a hobbled public domain are keeping books out of the hands of those who need them most.

An Open Book was the first radio documentary in which I took a true leading role and it was very much a learning experience for me. Although the final product is a bit rough around the edges – and the topic of copyright law can certainly get a bit dry at times – I still look back on it fondly. It represents some of my best public interest and advocacy work to date.

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

Michael Iantorno: A lot of good radio content is adept at getting the audience to pay attention but in an almost a formulaic matter. It presses the right combination of buttons to evoke laughter, tears, or even anger in the listener. This is not a bad thing, of course, but it is only the beginning of what can be accomplished with the medium.

Award-winning radio resonates. It is insistent, persuasive, and enduring. It stays with an audience long after the first encounter and opens them up to new ideas and experiences. This type of programming is rare breed – perhaps even elusive or ephemeral – but is truly wonderful to engage with.

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

Michael Iantorno: I am currently entrenched within a two year Media Studies (MA) degree at Concordia University, where I am producing an interactive documentary that explores the often overlooked video game hacking subculture. The shift from radio to interactive documentary is an exciting one for me, and I look forward to experimenting with various digital platforms.

I also have a book chapter coming out in late 2018, which focuses on the development of online hacking communities, as well as conference presentations at McGill and the University of Regina. It should be a fun year!

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: Tony McShane

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview spends a few minutes each week tapping into the minds of  brilliant content creators from the wonderful world of radio. Who better to share their insiders view of radio then the Radio Awards Grand Jury?

NYF’s jury of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative

Tony McShane

directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are actively involved in creating the innovative content on radio today.

2018 Grand Jury member Tony McShane brings over 12 years’ experience in producing and presenting a variety of shows in both the UK and Europe to the jury panel.

Tony is an award-winning producer and currently producing late night talk show, Night Owls, which has the biggest late night talk audience in the North of England.Creating shows from locations all around the world and including Alan Robson MBE’s legendary ghost hunts, documentaries and entertainment shows like ‘Alien Jesus’. He has been recognised by The Radio Academy by recently winning ‘Production Hero’ and ‘Best Comedy/Entertainment Producer’ at the production awards in London.

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

Tony McShane: I was curious and excited about radio and always wanted to be a part of it. I studied for a BA Hons degree in Media Production at the University of Sunderland to gain some experience. After this I moved abroad and worked for an English speaking commercial station in Spain before returning to the UK 6 years later and taking up a position at Bauer Media, where I am still working.

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

Tony McShane: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” – It’s a piece of advice that will help anyone out.

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

Tony McShane: The industry is sadly shrinking, especially within the commercial sector. This is due to a lot of networking to ‘save money’ and streamline everything.

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

Tony McShane: I see the UK going 100% digital within 5 years with a lot more on-demand shows. I also think that we will lose a lot more local shows on commercial stations.

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

Tony McShane: Award winning work is created by people not afraid to push boundaries, people that don’t compare themselves to others and are usually perfectionists. People are the hallmarks of award winning work.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Tony McShane: Creating content for the BBC on its many platforms.

For more information on the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/.

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Open Mic Spotlight: Mike Vitti

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview spends a few minutes each week tapping into the minds of  brilliant content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

Who better to share their insiders view of radio then NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury 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 content on radio today.

Mike Vitti

2018 Grand Jury member Mike Vitti, brings 25 years of experience to the jury panel. imaginative business director, content director, programme maker, people-manager, broadcaster and voice-over artist, he is also highly experienced in media enterprise and new media. Mike’s leadership, drive, music programming expertise and original thinking, has transformed radio stations into Sony and Arqiva award winners.

Throughout his career, Mike has won commercial broadcast licenses, built and sustained audiences across many brands and platforms, and has a proven track-record of increasing the Time Spent Listening to stations, beating targets and attracting significant business investment.

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

Mike Vitti:I started as a presenter at Red Rose Radio in the North of England in 1988, so this year is my 30th in the industry, wow! Just thought about that, it seems like yesterday.

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

Mike Vitti:My first management job probably, at a small start-up station just outside Birmingham, England in 1998. Then my role as Programme Director at Jazz FM in 2008. It seems that good things happen to me in years that end in 8.

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

Mike Vitti: Not really, not in the beginning but I do thank John Myers, Paul Fairburn and Simon Tate; at various stages they were all instrumental in my development. Latterly though, the now sadly departed Richard Wheatly (former CEO at Jazz FM) most definitely mentored me. A wise-sage, who always, always knew exactly the right thing to say at the right time. Driven, focused, talented, a truly great man who is much missed.

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

Richard Wheatly

Mike Vitti: ‘Pick your battles, you can’t win all of them!’ Richard Wheatly.

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

Mike Vitti: Digital technology for sure, and not just for the way we create content, although that is much easier now but the way audiences are consuming the content we create for them. Many are listening/viewing on their own terms now and in their own time.

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

Mike Vitti: Interesting question, we went through some quite severe changes in the UK in the 90s and 00s but that rate of excessive change has stalled somewhat in terms of delivery and distribution. I feel that more On-Demand services will pop up and traditional services will have to stay ahead of that or we’ll get left behind. Audiences volumes will shrink in the longer term as the dilution grows but for those that stay, I feel will be as loyal as they come. It’s important that we develop, lead and stay ahead. I don’t at anytime believe that presenters, producers and content-makers will ever be substituted though. There will always be a real appetite for this kind of person created content.

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

Mike Vitti: Ouch, that’s a tough one, hopefully: exciting, creative and engaging.

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

Mike Vitti: To report the truth, factually and honestly

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

Mike Vitti: I would love to have been able to make a programme around the recording of Miles Davis’ ‘A Kind Of Blue’ that involved all the original players in that studio: Coltrane, Chambers, Cobb, Evans, Davis et-al. Wow, that would’ve been quite something to witness, and subsequently then sell the story of it to the audience.

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

 

Mike Vitti: Oh, that’s easy, last year’s Bronze Award Winner. The Ronnie Scott’s Radio Show:

Al Jarreau

Masterclass with Ian Shaw, recorded live at Ronnie Scott’s. To witness that first-hand and then build it into a radio programme is something I’ll never forget. What an honour and a privilege to witness such greatness first-hand. I had to pinch myself very day I worked on that project.

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

Mike Vitti: There’s far too many to mention there to be honest, I am addicted to Broadway Bill Lee’s Facebook Live Posts though, New York is very lucky to have him on the air every afternoon.

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

Mike Vitti: I’m involved in a really exciting project with John Dash and Paul Chantler but I can’t talk about that at the minute, I wish I could but for sure you’ll be seeing it here in a year or two’s time

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

Mike Vitti: Original, exciting, creative and engaging, I want to be hooked in and not want to leave until it’s over, and when it’s done, I want to hear more. I can’t wait to hear this year’s entries.

New York Festivals: How has podcasting changed the way you create content and are you creating more of this on-demand content?

Mike Vitti: Massively, more and more now, I’m personally thinking about creating extra exclusive content for alternative platforms, extended interviews, videos, stills etc. These are great marketing tools and routes that can focus different audiences towards the more traditional platforms. It’s a complete all-inclusive package that’s required now, and programme/content makers should be viewing their creations more 4-dimensionally at all times.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Mike Vitti: I have it.

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

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Open Mic Spotlight: Andy Wells

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview spends a few minutes each week tapping into the minds of  brilliant content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

Who better to share their insiders view of radio then NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury 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 content on radio today.

Andy Wells, is Director of Andy Wells Media. He brings 26 years in the Radio industry to the Grand Jury panel and continues to work passionately in driving the creation of great content for radio stations across Australia. In 2017 Andy Wells Media was awarded ‘Best Music Special’ for a Syndication Company at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards and was also awarded Bronze for ‘Best Music Special’ at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

With audio production at the core of his career, Andy has worked at regional and metro radio stations across Australia and is also currently the Production Manager at Australia’s largest community radio station, 89.9 Light FM.

Andy Wells

 

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

Andy Wells: Right out of high school.  I did a short sound engineering course and then just a month after I turned 18 I had my first job at a small radio station producing commercials.

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

Andy Wells: When I left my role at a large media syndication company in 2014.   I realized there was so much more that I could be doing, working on projects I could be more passionate about…and that I didn’t have to be part of a large company to do it.

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

Andy Wells: It’s tough to narrow it down I’d say Michael Andersen (Sideshow Mike), the imaging director at Triple M in Sydney.   His production is simply amazing plus he’s a great storyteller, content creator and voice over artist.

Michael Anderson “Sideshow Mike”

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

Andy Wells: I’d love to get more great music specials syndicated this year as they are such a great collaboration of talent but there are other things so ambitious I can’t even mention them 😉

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Andy Wells: I’ve actually moved away from the idea that doing just one ‘job’ could ever tick all the boxes for me.   Right now, I’m enjoying multiple roles that give me a much better view of the industry as a whole across community and commercial radio in Australia. In short, I’m working full time with lots of side projects that keep things interesting.

For more information on the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/

 

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Open Mic Spotlight: Matt Lissack

New York Festivals International Radio Awards Open Mic Spotlight Interview spends a few minutes each week tapping into the minds of  brilliant content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

Who better to share their insiders view of radio then NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury 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 content on radio today.

 

Matt Lissack

2018 Grand Jury member Matt Lissack wakes up South Wales every morning from 6am on Capital South Wales’ flagship programme ‘Capital Breakfast’. He’s been with Capital for 13+ years presenting a variety of market-leading programs, including the award-winning Capital Breakfast.

Throughout his career Matt has presented programmes on Capital 95.8 in London and The Capital Network – broadcasting to many major radio markets such as: London, Birmingham, Yorkshire, Manchester and Scotland. As a Broadcaster/DJ/ Corporate Host, Matt is on demand for high-profile events in South Wales, including the unprecedented Rugby World Cup screenings at the Millennium Stadium in front of a crowd of 50,000 Wales rugby fans, the Euro 2016 FanZone events and countless corporate events.

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

Matt Lissack: Hospital Radio was my start in radio at the age of 16.  It was brilliant, because I got to learn my craft and make mistakes without affecting the business end of radio. In other words, I could mess up and not worry about losing my audience… probably because I didn’t have any in the first place!

In all seriousness, I wouldn’t have got a gig in radio without Hospital Radio. I’m very lucky and grateful to have been given the chance to do it at such a young age.

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

Matt Lissack: My first Programme Controller was someone that I used to ask for jobs whilst I was at Hospital Radio. After several (justified) rejections, I eventually got to work with him at Plymouth Sound. Gavin was instrumental in giving me the boost I needed at the start of my career.

When he was given a promotion to program Red Dragon FM, he gave me Mid Morning’s there. It was a step into a bigger market, so an amazing opportunity to be offered. After moving onto several day-parts throughout the years, I’m still there today after 12 years, hosting the flagship breakfast show.

If it weren’t for that move, I probably wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to cover syndicated shows across the UK wide network, host shows on the world famous Capital in London or even win the two industry awards we’ve won so far on Capital Breakfast.

It’s so important to have a boss who believes in you and has your back!

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

Matt Lissack: Never ever ever create enemies on the way up.  One day you’ll need their help on the way down!

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

Matt Lissack: I admire many programmes from right across the world and regularly listen to them.  Two that spring to mind are Elvis Duran at Z100 in New York and Kyle and Jackie O at KIIS 1065 in Sydney.  They have very different dynamics and approaches to content, but both are very enjoyable listens.

Two things strike me about Kyle and Jackie O: 1) the chemistry they have is world class 2) The emotional connection they make with their audience is fantastic. You can be laughing one minute and in tears the next, purely through the art of ‘light and shade’ storytelling.  They are, quite literally, the best in the business.

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job?

Matt Lissack: Pardon my use of a really overused phrase here, but when I’m ready to ‘hang up my radio headphones’ I’d like to head into programme management. It’s the obvious move for me after presenting a breakfast show, so to have the opportunity to do that would be very exciting.

Creativity is a skill that we all possess in radio, but to take that to a strategically level in decision-making is something I would love to do.  Not to mention having more opportunities to coach talent and help grow future talent.

The absolute dream? To programme a station in my spiritual home of New York.  It’s such an amazing city and would be an exciting and huge challenge in such a massively competitive market. I’d also be more than happy to co-produce Kyle and Jackie O too!

Now, where that’s immigration application…

For more information on the 2018 NYF Radio Program Awards, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/radio/.

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