Creative Audio Unit What’s That All About

ABC Radio National’s Creative Audio Unit (CAU), launches Sunday with two new show A mix of fiction and nonfiction, essays and radio dramas, soundscapes and composed audio features, as well as radio art. How does it fit into the larger context of radio and its prospects?

In 2012, the CAU was form at a time of controversial cuts to arts programming at RN. Its mission is to create a new space in audio for all genres, media, and forms. A large part of the CAU budget will be use for the commissioning of new works by artists, writers, musicians, and radio makers both in Australia and around the world.

The project will also visit museums, festivals and theatres to explore how radio works and what makes it a good medium. Radio is experiencing a revival all over the globe. Radio production, radio features, and audio storytelling are all becoming more popular. And, contrary to what some naysayers claim, neither new media nor video have killed radio. Radio, the most versatile media, has reimagined itself to make use of digital technology. Audio content is no more ephemeral. It can be access, save, reshape, and shared with audiences via a variety of platforms.

Three Ways To Illustrate This Reinvention Audio

  • More people are listening than ever
  • People want to create radio content that is creative.
  • Radio studies are growing in academic research

More Listening Than Ever Audio

Listeners are listening, according to audience research. Radio 4 UK achieved record numbers in the third quarter 2013 with an average weekly listenership of 11.2million, up from 10.9million in the same period 2012. These figures are the highest since 1999. Helen Boaden, BBC Radio Director, remarked that they were.

Despite the increasing competition for time and the expanding range of online audio services, radio continues to thrive in the digital age.

Audiences listen to radio across all markets. A Citi Research report from 2013 states that Australia’s commercial radio market is experiencing renewed interest in increasing advertising revenue. The radio industry is also in a period of renaissance.

Radio Is A Popular Choice For More People

Claudia Taranto (Executive Producer of the ABC Radio National documentary program 360Documentaries), spoke about how she received one story proposal per week from freelancers five years ago in an interview. She now receives one story proposal per day.

Numerous podcasts are also being create and available online. PRX’s Radiotopia podcast network in the US describe as a collection of the most story-driven shows anywhere on the planet. A new model for audience involvement and revenue growth in public broadcasting.

This network unites a variety of creative, dynamic podcasts including Radio Diaries, Roman Mars 99% Invisible and Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything under one umbrella. It is quickly expanding both the number of podcasts and the audience for audio documentaries.

Academic Interest Audio

The third sign that radio is on the rise is the increase in academic work. Australian Journalism Review will dedicate a special issue this year to radio. International radio professionals and scholars alike have enjoyed the first issue of RadioDoc Review, an innovative open-access journal from Australia.

RadioDoc Review is a radio documentary review that aims to create and sustain a new radio literacy. It will also preserve the canon it criticizes with metadata at Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive. Radio is a constant source of entertainment.

Researchers have described radio as invisible, blind, conversational, ephemeral, and ephemeral, and thus less mediated than other media. Radio can provide intimacy that is unmatched by any other media, even though listening is usually secondary to other activities.

Radio creates intimacy unlike any other media because of its dimensions of sound and voice. Radio’s flexibility and relevance in topic will ensure that it thrives in a fragmented media landscape.

Radio literacy is growing and listeners are looking for new sounds and stories. Radio National’s commitment to radio and its long history of exploration of all possibilities is continuing with the establishment of the CAU. It’s also a response to growing international demand for audio content. The future of radio, based on its rich and distinguished history, is exciting, unknown, and alive with sound.


New ABC Arts Council Win Back The Arts Community

ABC’s major announcement regarding arts this month council seems to be good news for one its core constituencies. The ABC will create an Arts Council and launch several new arts programming programs.

In recent years, the Corporation’s relationship to the arts community has been difficult. Therefore, the Corporation’s new programming initiatives should not taken as a negative. Some commentators see this as nothing more than a shifting of the deckchairs. Despite the fact that there isn’t much new funding and the uncertainty of a federal budget.

This announcement by Katrina Sedgwick (ABC Head of Arts), comes just weeks before the federal budget gets cut. These initiatives are a continuation of the ABC’s strategic partnership to the Australia Council. Which is intend to provide more digital arts content. They also extend Sedgwick’s outstanding efforts to create innovative partnerships among arts. Organizations and institutions during her tenure as director of Adelaide Film Festival.

The razor gang may not be able to ignore the Prime Minister’s promise to keep ABC funding after his election. Although it is not a pre-emptive strike announcement. The ABC could seen as a way to get the good news out first. This announcement should help build support for public broadcaster in the face of difficult years ahead.

Announcement Centred

Last week’s announcement centred on the creation of an Arts Council. This council will promote a holistic approach to arts programming across all of the Corporation’s channels, networks, and sites. The BBC recently took a similar approach.

Some intriguing possibilities were among the programs that were announce last week. ABC TV Arts has teamed up with Opera Australia, Ja’mie Private Schools Girl producers. Princess Pictures to create a unique soap opera only for television. Mozart in the Jungle with Mr G added perhaps?

ABC News 24 will also have a weekly entertainment and arts program. Ironically, some people are blaming the original cost of establishing the news agency for the earlier cuts to ABC’s arts offerings.

The Arts Council and programming announcements are part of a 2011 Senate Select Committee recommendation that the Corporation publish an Arts Strategy. This recommendation was made at the conclusion of an inquiry into Recent ABC Programming Decisions, which prompt in part due to earlier cuts and changes to Corporation’s arts offerings.

Many of the 335 submissions made to the inquiry were critical of ABC’s decision in this area. These concerns were shared by members of the committee. This issue was brought up again in the final report. The Corporation was reminded of its Charter responsibilities to encourage and promote the musical and dramatic arts through programming decisions as well as to reflect on the cultural diversity within the Australian community.

Relationship And Trust Council

This move by the ABC is also a significant effort to rebuild the ABC’s relationship and trust with the arts community after some difficult years.

September 2012: Radio National cuts 11 employees and seven programs.

September 2011: Radio National’s Sunday Morning Program Artworks has cancel. Nearly 60 cultural and arts figures signed an open letter asking the ABC board to stop the destruction of ABC TV Arts. Simon Mordant (a philanthropist and now an ABC Director) was one of the signatories. He launched the event that resulted in the announcement about the Arts Council.

August 2011, the cancellation of Arts Nation, the television flagship program that had replaced Sunday Arts one year earlier. Ten staff made redundant.

January 2007: The ABC sells six state-based orchestras to the ABC, ending a tradition that started in the 1930s.

Commissioned By Community Council

April 2004: A report by Liz Jacka, UTS, was commission by Community and Public Sector Union. It shows a dramatic decline in ABC arts coverage over the past four years and calls for an overhaul of all ABC arts output.

June 2001: Arts staff resign following the dismissal of Roz Cheney, Head of Radio Arts. ABC Management announces a new Arts Advisory Group headed by Margaret Seares, former chair of the Australia Council.

May 1997: An open letter was sign by a group of art radio executives protesting the Corporation’s new One ABC policy.

October 1996: Radio National’s efficiency drive by the Howard government leads to four loss of arts programs, including Arts National, which was the predecessor to Artworks and The Box Seat, as Radio National cuts four of its arts programs.

Although it unclear how the ABC will dealt with in the federal budget next month. The Corporation should commend for its initiative and active promotion of arts coverage during times of great uncertainty for public radio stations around the world.


Comics Back To The Stage Radio With Pictures

It’s a blind date between comics and radio. Radio With Pictures will be performe at the Sydney Opera House this Sunday as part of the Graphic 2013 festival. It is an hour of audiovisual storytelling. The audience will see a stage with microphones, musical instruments, and a Foley sound system. Here, performers will tell a story, while accompanied by a screen that displays images created specifically for the story.

We hope they will feel the thrill of simultaneously listening to a radio broadcast and reading comics. Take a look at this clip taken from Radio With Pictures last year. It a collaboration between radio producer Jon Tjhia, comic artist Lachlan CONN, and it about getting lost in translation in earthquake-torn Japan.

This is not a new way of telling stories, but it’s a very old form. Japanese monks discovered the power of combing illustrated scrolls and narrated messages in the 12th century to educate and inform their often illiterate community.

Kamishibai, literally paper drama, was a direct precursor to the manga tradition. It is a combination of story and image that eventually led to the creation of the kamishibai. In this form, a practitioner would combine a story and rapidly changing images on a small wooden stage.

It was still use in Japan during the Depression and post-war periods to educate and entertain children and disseminate safety and health messages

Kamishibai Manga Comics

Manga comic historians have found a direct connection between kamishibai manga comics and manga comics. These comics evolved to remove the narrator from the image but still retain the ability to tell stories through sequential images. Radio With Pictures is also inspire by the American vaudeville tradition, chalk talk. This late 1800s form visual storytelling was where speakers would quickly draw images to match a monologue. It’s like a live Mr Squiggle.

Winsor McCay is the comics pioneer and creator of Little Nemo In Slumberland, which was one of the most popular comic strips in the entire world. Sketch the Rhyme, a collaboration between visual artists and hip-hop MCs, has recently seen artists draw at a fast pace to match the lyrics of the rappers. The last PowerPoint presentation was, in a sense of the word, a live comic storytelling experience.

Radio With Pictures, now in its second year of existence, is returning to the audio visual experiences that were common across cultures. This year’s illustrators include fine artists such as Gria Shead. Claudia Karvan will be retelling Patti Miller’s autobiographical work The Mind of a Thief. It examines the relationship between missionaries and settlers in the Wellington Valley.

Heartbreaking Work Toormina Video

Pat Grant, comic artist and academic, will read from his heartbreaking work Toormina Video. It is a hilarious, bittersweet, and ultimately forgiving autobiographical tale about a child who watches his father drink.

Marieka Walsh and Don Walker, Cold Chisel’s legendary songwriter, are collaborating on their autobiography Shots. Marieka Walsh’s illustrations are beautiful, textured illustrations that mirror Walker’s powerful voice.

Senthorun Raj, activist and academic, joins hands with Gina McKeon, Walkley Award-winning radio producer, and Sam Wallman (a comic artist whose work is very similar to Joe Sacco’s) to tell the story about an asylum seeker who escapes persecution because of his sexuality. Also, the process of proving that he is gay to Australian authorities.

We wanted to create an environment where image makers were more than just hired illustrators. This is a more collaborative approach that aims at bringing comics back to their roots: on stage.