There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep), Christopher Morris (Jam, Brass Eye, Four Lions, Why Bother?), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I'm Alan Partridge). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6), and begat a television series called The Day Today. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted, The IT Crowd) to On the Hour's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six), as well as a special 9/11 radio report. [more inside]
Talk of the Nation, NPR's beloved afternoon call-in show, is going off the air at the end of July, replaced by Here and Now, which is jointly produced by NPR and WBUR. NPR is running a $7 million deficit, but the organization says it is responding to demand for "a stronger news presence in the middle of the day". Host Neal Conan will leave the organization after 30 years. Science Friday will continue.
Due to budget cuts, CBC's Radio Canada International has ceased broadcasting on shortwave; it is now Internet-only and therefore blocked by authoritarian regimes around the world. Mark Montgomery is somewhat emotional about being the last voice on the air
KEXP 90.3 FM is a Seattle, WA-based radio station, officially "a service of University of Washington," but it's more complex than that. The first University of Washington radio station started broadcasting in 1952. Five decades, a few station organizational shifts, plus three call letter and frequency changes later, KEXP was (re)born in 2001. Along the way, the station spread the sound of 1990s Seattle indie rock, started streaming "CD quality" MP3 audio of their broadcast in 2000, and they have an ever-growing collection of recordings of live in-station performances, including over 2,000 videos on YouTube. [more inside]
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing — foreign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
NPR's On The Media presents a short set of pieces about comments on news websites and the challenges of "digital democracy," with discussion from Ira Glass about responses to a show about teenage runaways, and New Republic editor and critic Lee Siegel, who posted anonymously to respond insultingly to comments on his own blog. And a Roanoke newspaper editor discusses how one paper sees the integration of comments into online news sites and whether it's a valuable reader service. [more inside]
Should Michael Reagan be free to say this on syndicated radio? Should Mark Dice be free to say this (NSFW audio) on his website? [more inside]
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is pumping out a pile of podcasts that have covered the importance of offensive comics to Art Spiegelman, 600 bands over 54 shows, Captain America versus the American government, Amy Sedaris and geekdom, the journey of young immigrants, French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut and Harper's publisher John MacArthur discussing Europe and America perspectives since 9/11, the after life, sex with monkeys, what radio producers do, the french word "corps", Bonnie Fuller's "The Joys of Much Too Much: Go For the Big Life — The Great Career, The Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You've Ever Wanted (Even If You're Afraid You Don't Have What It Takes)", Veteran Washington reporter Helen Thomas and some other bits & bobs [Breakdown inside]
State of the Media Report 2004 by journalism.org, which seeks to improve news coverage in a more neutral fashion than those who cry bias from the left and right. The group offers advice for average citizens and others. The report focuses mainly on US media and identifies eight trends. The content analyses finds that newspapers have more lifestyle news than in the past, but less government and foreign affairs, even with wars abroad. More front page articles about issues, less on crime and disasters. Network news was heavy on foreign affairs, government, accidents, disaster, crime and health care. The cable networks had a lot of politics and Iraq stuff, but also a lot more celebrity/entertainment/lifestyle stuff than the big four. Local TV news treats crime as topic A. The magazine audience is aging, and total pages are declining, but some, like The Economist and the New Yorker, have found success in niches. Internet journalism is "still largely material from old media rather than something original." And it's still text-y. But it is clearly the future of journalism. But don't pronounce the dinosaurs dead yet. Radio once ruled, and in a way it still does: 94 percent still tune in to radio news at least once a week.
Peter Gzowski, Canadian broadcaster, died a couple of days ago. Listen to an old interview with Stuart McLean on CBC Radio RealAudio at noon EST from Toronto, 1pm from Winnipeg, 2pm from Calgary or 3pm from Vancouver. Gzowski and McLean are the voice of the Canadian spirit.