Friday, January 27, 2012

Day one: a personal conclusion

What a relief: The audience still is faithful to crafted radio. Yet, radio doc makers must look for new ways of telling their stories in the multimedia world. Mind the power of the archives: So many documentaries have been buried there to be forgotten - the Irish RTE project of daily publishing archived radio docs online is highly promising.

The web provides what radio doc makers have been dreaming of for decades: the ability of telling stories when, where and how the audience wants. "Whe have not chosen the internet", Silvain Gire (head of Arte radio, Paris) says, "the internet has chosen us". Yet knowing that the business of radio doc being sound, and knowing the internet being a powerful new means of distribution, new media can be more: an open space from which new formats can arise - thrilling new combinations of media (audio, text, photo) that have been separate so far.

Radio is special. Radio is a home rather than media; no other media eventually is as close to its audience. But linear radio consumption is in decline, and multimedia distribution is meant to compensate. On the other hand, the web is becoming more and more personal; nowadays our web browser knows more about ourselves than we do, and narrows our horizon. (Social media platforms may widen it again, allowing discoveries on the basis of our friends' preferences.)

Media making is telling stories. And nobody tells stories better than radio features do. Linear broadcasting, that fantastic discovery machine, is unreplaceable, and yet is has to be reinvented. I believe that virtually nobody can do this better than the best storytellers there are: radio doc makers.

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