Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nutshell: John Theocharis

What a nice coincidence that your ‘digital’ discussion in Leipzig takes place exactly 75 years since a British scientist, Alec Reeves, filed the first patent describing Pulse-Code Modulation in 1937. Within five years, in 1943, his invention had led to the first Digital Scrambled Speech Tx System, and by 1985 to the first 12-track mixer-recorder. And the rest, as they say, is History, and very exciting too!

I am pleased to say that by and large I agree with the views, the challenges and the reservations already expressed. I was lucky enough to experience the great advantages of digital recording and editing in the early nineties, and I certainly taste the offers of the likes of Radio Player, BBC iplayer etc...

Nothing perfect under the sun, and, like any other relatively new departure, the spread of Digital offers excitements along with some worries as has already been noted. I see no need to go over known ground, but I certainly hope that the marvellous facilities in recording, editing and compiling Radio Features, for instance, of exceptional sound quality won’t compromise the essential quality of content and production. I’m sure none of us would be interested in the radio equivalent of ‘fast food’, thank you very much! The customer we serve, the good, serious radio listener, deserves better.

I firmly believe that ideally in radio drama and Features 1+1=3; that, if you like, 2+2=5, or even 6! The structure, the juxtaposition of elements can create fleeting yet almost solid entities on the listener’s inner screen, and give him or her a rare insight or satisfaction. So, let’s be positive, try to solve practical questions of Rights, of length of time allotted to recording, production, editing etc. And, above all, let’s always do our personal best for the sake of our fellow-worker, the listener.

Sorry about the size of this Coconut, but do allow me to conclude with a few lines from something I wrote for another radio occasion.

The listener’s Computer-Brain,
- The world’s most wonderful machine -,
Enables him to bring to life
What’s only heard and never seen.
At its most brilliant, Radio is
A perfect form of Television;
It gives us sounds, silence and words,
And we ourselves supply our Vision.
Yes! Genuine Radio is at heart
A Visual Craft that’s life-enhancing.
A crafted piece of Radio
Can take a man or woman
To the essence, to the very heart
Of being alive, human."

John Theocharis, freelancer, United Kingdom

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