Mar 19, 2011
We visit the Radio Documentary Festival in Amsterdam “Boundless Sound”. More than 100 documentaries from all over the world were played and more than 400 people turned up to hear them, not bad when you realise that it was boiling hot outside. There were some great arguments for theatre of the mind from producers who made documentaries in Bosnia during the war. Radio doesn’t try to simplify the situation – it celebrates its complexity. Somehow it is easier to remember great radio programmes than TV shows.
Across Europe at the moment several laboratories are working to try and squeeze more audio into a smaller space without hearing the difference. Philips DCC digital compact cassette and the Sony Minidisk system are examples of this. In fact the system doesn’t record everything the microphone picks up but only what the ear will detect when the recording is played back. If a loud noise masks a quieter one, then the quiet sound isn’t recorded. Of course its important that there are international standards for this technique and these have been set by so-called Motion Picture Experts Group, or MPEG. All this is very important for the development of digital audio broadcasting.
Later in 1995 at the Funkausstellung in Berlin, RFI, BBC, DW and Radio Netherlands hope to demonstrate how three international radio broadcasts can be squeezed into one DAB channel, very important if international radio is going to compete in the long term when medium wave loses its popularity. Harald Prop, is senior engineer at the Frauenhofer Institue for integrated circuits in Erlangen, Germany where they compress and decompress audio all day in the hope of getting an even better sound out of a lower bit rate. We also look at stations that supply their programme schedules in Braille. Arthur Cushen refers to the Ontario DX Association. Chris Greenway of BBCMS looks at developments in Lithuania.