Friday, October 05, 2007

This is it!

Damn. This is it. Many apologies for the lack of correspondence, but it's all because I've left the BBC to enjoy the snow in Geneva. I'm working at the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation as part of a team setting up a national, English language radio station with loads of cross-platform fun in the mix. In theory (doesn't launch until next month.

So, where does this leave the Audiotheque?

In good hands! Jeremy Mortimer is the main BBC contact for now, with Rob Watson from Leicester de Montfort keeping the flame alive. I've had a look at the beta and it's pretty cool. Thanks to Rob and Nathan.

I'm convinced it will be a great success and I'm planning to set up a version from Switzerland and work with The Audiotheque.

Thank you all for your support and interest: it has been incredibly exciting to meet you and realise how many of you are excited by the possibilities of creative audio in the current media environment.

I'm signing off from this blog, but will continue Swiss-based musings on

Yours, Conor

Friday, July 20, 2007

4th Audiotheque newsletter

Welcome to the 4th Audiotheque newsletter, delayed by workshops, conferences and nearly being flooded out of my home earlier today. Really.

First of all, a big thank you to Bryan Rudd and his Radio Studies Conference team at Lincoln University. On Monday I gave a presentation on The Audiotheque to several academics working in the field of audio & radio from around the world. I got a very positive response and found that the general tone of the festival was very upbeat: this is clearly a very exciting time to be working in radio (or audio, depending on what side of the semantic fence you sit).

Anyway, I want to belatedly kick off this month with a look at the Audible Picture Show, run by artist Matt Hulse. Matt's being making innovative short films for a while now, and you can find out more about him at The Audible Picture Show is a project whereby Matt asks fellow film-makers to make short films, with no image present, for a cinema release. You can hear a short clip from each piece but if you've been to a screening let me know what it was like...

This is a fantastic project set up by the Sonic Arts Network to encourage young schoolchildren to think about sound in a creative way. Use your arrow keys to navigate a cute-looking sonic explorer around the map. When she lands on a hotspot you can hear some of the work created by the schoolchildren. My favourites are from Woodside School in square F7 but there are loads of really interesting pieces here that wouldn't look out of place on an experimental Radio 3 slot.

And finally here's a competition you can get involved in right now, run by the team at Chicago's Third Coast Festival.
If you haven't visited the Third Coast Festival site before, have a good look around. There's a great selection of audio programmes from around the world and they have a couple of podcasts that are well worth signing up for.

Have a great Summer, barring floods, hurricanes, pestilence etc!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

3rd Audiotheque newsletter

And here's the latest newsletter:

NEWSLETTER 13 June 2007

Welcome to the 3rd Audiotheque newsletter. If you haven’t received the other newsletters, you can read them at: As usual, you can email me at

It's a particularly Europhile newsletter this month, with material from France and Germany, but don't worry if you're semi-bilingual because our French friends are helpfully speaking in English, whilst our German cousins have provided translations.

The Audiotheque loves convergence, so the first piece of content in this newsletter devoted to short-form audio is, er, a short film. Thrill to the behind-the-scenes footage of Arte Radio in action, gasp at their success in attracting hip Parisian types to the site and marvel at their description of pre-Arte audio drama as a tired, ridiculous medium for the over-60s. Directed by me and edited by mini-genius Des Burkinshaw...

As I've clearly diverted wildly from the avowed aims of this newsletter, i.e. promoting creative audio (, I'll blunder on by including a 12 minute audio drama from the mini-genii at HSD. "Resort" is their riposte to Radio 4's "From Fact to Fiction" series (, in which an audio drama based on the "big" story of the week is turned around in a week, and it's well worth comparing and contrasting the different approaches. As usual the sound production is top notch and there's some great acting. All recorded in the director's house apparently, and didn't cost a penny to make (apart from cake for the actors). Sound design by James Robinson, directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

(Apologies to those who've already seen this information on the blog).
And at last I can put up a link to Deutschlandradio Kultur's Wurfsendung page, because they've posted 3 of their "pakets" with English translations. So I have at least got some short-form creative audio to share this month. The Wurfsendung (which I'm told translates, poorly, as "postcards") are the original inspiration for the whole Audiotheque project: ultra-short mini-dramas packaged in the same way as a commercial break and dropped randomly throughout Deutschlandradio Kultur's schedule. Brilliantly produced, witty and surprising.

As ever, keep sending me your stuff, or links to other people's interesting stuff, and feel free to get in touch with comments, news, opinion, whatever.

Many thanks to Toby Lichtig for plugging us in his Guardian blog: And yeah, I know it's iRiver. But what can you do, eh? And as we're back onto convergence, here's what the iRiver can do:

I promised details of the forthcoming Audiotheque competition this month, but I lied. It'll be in next month's newsletter. Honest.

Thanks for reading/listening/watching.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ich Liebe Wurfsendung

I ran a meeting at the HQ of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) in Geneva last week, to kick of a creative audio project involving 6 member countries (UK, France, Germany, Croatia, Russia and Hungary) and thought I should share the latest on the form in Germany. Deutsche Kultur make these fantastic shorts called Wurfsendung, which play out as commercial breaks without the commercials. To be honest, ahem, the Wurfsendung were my main inspiration for getting involved in short-form drama, showing me just what you can achieve in with short duration (maximum 45 seconds!) content. They started by using radio commercials producers but now it's done mostly in-house.

For those of you who are, like me, linguistically challenged there is now a section with English translations. Well worth a look.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

2nd Newsletter

A few things have been going on behind the scenes since the last newsletter, but I'll keep them under wraps for now. All quite exciting though and I hope to be able to give out details soon. Until then, here's the text of the latest newsletter.


Welcome to the 2nd Audiotheque newsletter. If you haven’t received the first one, you can read it at:

First of all, thanks to everyone who’s offered feedback and comments since the last newsletter, sent out last month. I’ve heard back from quite a few of you since then, and have received an impressive amount of audio. Hopefully I’ve been in touch with you but if you’ve sent something in and haven’t heard back from me, do send another email to

This month I’m pleased to say that I’ve got 3 excellent pieces of creative audio to share, all of which have been brought to my attention as a result of the last newsletter. They are all from people who aren’t professional broadcasters, and who are at an early stage of their careers in audio.

The first piece is Dark, by Kevin Cadwallender. Kevin is an established writer of poetry and prose ( who wrote Dark, and created it at the University of Sunderland along with Becky Stefani and Francesca Sardone. It stars his daughter Charlie, who was 5 at the time. Dark is a haunting, sonically inventive work with great performances…

On My Mind
In contrast, here’s a very funny piece written and directed by Sasha Yevtushenko and starring Mike Holt. Flipping between flash-backs, flash-forwards and stream of consciousness, it’s nevertheless easy to follow entertaining. There’ll be more from this team in the next newsletter.

The third piece if different again. Clinic’s narrative depicts a real situation, and intrigues the listener by withholding key pieces of information, leaving us wanting more without becoming frustrating. It was created and realised by Wana Udobang, a student at the University College for The Creative Arts in Farnham.

That’s it for this month, except to say that I hope to have more details of the first Audiotheque competition, planned for later this year, and am still on the lookout for more creative audio. Keep sending it in!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1st Newsletter

Below is the text of the 1st Audiotheque newsletter, sent out at the start of April.

I'm hoping to launch a competition this year, and I'll mention it in the blog as well.

On another not, it's interesting to see how slick Channel 4 Radio's marketing is, although you'd think they were reinventing audio drama! Still, the competition is no bad thing for the form.

THE AUDIOTHEQUE Newsletter 1 02/04/07

Here, at last, is the first Audiotheque email newsletter.

You're receiving this because
a) you responded to an earlier email asking you if you liked the idea of this kind of thing
b) you heard me banging on about the idea at your university/college or
c) I thought you might be interested

It's been a while since I first started contacting people about this project so it might be a good idea to go over everything again (in brief).

The Audiotheque is a project to develop a community dedicated to Creative Audio and help new talent get their work on air. We want to create a place where new talent can send in their audio, where the best work would be showcased and from where the brightest talents could win commissions to make short-form audio for the BBC Radio networks. So SEND ME YOUR AUDIO! This project is in its infancy, and can only develop with your help.

Innovative, original audio with some kind of narrative. It could mix elements of fiction and documentary material, it might be completely dialogue-free. As long as it's fresh and different from standard radio drama. It also needs to be under 3 minutes long: some of the best examples I've heard so far have been about a minute and a half long. To give you an idea, here are some examples that I think are worth listening to.

Enlevé, by Arte Radio. This is a sci-fi epic with no dialogue (apart from alien speech): (hint: click on écouter)

An Error Has Occurred. A series of mini-dramas starring computer-generated voices.

Tim Bearder's band interviews. With a difference. From a series on BBC Oxford.

There has never been a place at the BBC to receive, process and showcase this kind of audio. If you write scripts, the writersroom ( has a system for processing submissions, but with audio it's a bit more hit and miss.

It has never been easier to record, edit and share audio and I think that there are a lot of you out there interested in making creative audio who would benefit from a national forum. The feedback I've had so far (from lecturers, students, BBC employees, independent radio producers) has been overwhelmingly positive: I think that there will be a lot of interest in this site, and I also think that this could be a good way for younger programme-makers at the start of their career potentially to get their work on a national BBC radio station. In order to push this forward, I plan to set up regular competitions in association with the national radio networks that may result in the winners being commissioned to make more short-form work for broadcast.

At the moment there is no site! However, now is the time to send me your work, because the more audio I receive, the more chance there is that the site will happen. So the best thing to do is to tell me where your work is, by sending me the link to the place online where your work is being hosted. There are plenty of free or cheap places to upload your audio. Some examples include, and I'm sure you know of plenty more.

I have my ideas of the kind of site this should be, but I want to know what you think. Is there audio out there that we're missing? Are there features the site needs to have? Let me know!

(Links to other sites were reliable when posted. If a link doesn't work, it is because those Web pages have been removed from their Web site's server. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. If you're not interested in receiving this or any further newsletters email unsbscribe to If you want to know more there's a blog on this subject that I update far too infrequently at

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Drama without words

Some of you may have heard me bang on about Andrew Sachs (yes, Manuel from Fawlty Towers)'s 1979 radio drama without words, "Revenge". An experiment never again repeated. Or so I thought.

This is a short French piece called "Enlevé". You can find it, and much, much more on I think it works...

Is this the audio equivalent of silent films?
Is that too pretentious for words?
Do I care?