part 1: Technology


Broadcasting has changed so
much since I began.


When I was in my first year at college
radio station, we were still playing commercials from reel to reel tape!



Of course the news reports always came off reel to reel tape, so we had to cue everything.  Thank heavens, when I got on air, we moved to cartridges.

Now things have changed it is done now on digital audiotape.


But things change.  It will always change.
The technology moves forward.
You're always learning.


In terms of the physical aspect of the job,
there is always a task to learn.
It's like piloting an aeroplane.
We are learning new tasks all the time.

The amazing parts come when you're working for 2 different radio stations and they have 2 different types of desks and the faders go in the opposite directions, then you have to be really aware of where you are.

Brian Ferry

I would say, for example, in 1999, the biggest technological challenge to me, is that Classic FM has moved to new studio in which all the jingles are on touch panel.  The jingles are up there, in front of you and if you want the news jingle, beep here for a new one.  But it's so touch sensitive that if your fingers are on there for more than a record, it will hover and fire again.

So the new wave of technological material makes new errors possible, errors that no human beings will ever make.  I think it's absolutely fascinating.

On radio 2: OK. To the man in suit it's probably tedious, but you've got to learn the weakness of the equipment, you have to learn the exact technique to the touch tone panel so you don't have multiple jingles firing at the same time.

On BBC Radio 2, the biggest challenge in the past few months has been that on one of the CD machine's faders, if you touch it on the day that my predecessor has smoked his cigar, his ash may have fallen onto the thin slit on which you move the faders back and forth and will actually increase the volume of the disk dramatically when you touch the faders.
I had records coming back because my predecessor earlier in the day has smoked his cigar!

So you've got to learn to be very gentle with the faders and any more bizarre example is that one day my microphone stayed on even when I turned it off because the cigar's ash has somehow shorted the instruction into the desk so that my producer and engineer sitting on the outside of the studio had to rise and fade my microphone before I even started to speak! So sometimes you have to work things out with the studio as the years go by, you have to look at things in a different way.

There have been fundamental changes and that is in the nature of the BBC.


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