Investing in broadcast technology

Monday 4 October 2010, 18:14

Tim Davie Tim Davie Director of Audio & Music

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A few days ago I hosted a celebration of the launch of our new radio Outside Broadcast (OB) fleet. The fleet comprises of state of the art sound trucks that you may see parked up at countless festivals, concerts and events throughout the year. The new trucks have come to the rescue of our ageing vehicles which have been heavily used for many years. Capital investment is very significant (and rare) for BBC radio, so it represents a landmark moment.

Of course, inside the trucks are some of the most accomplished audio engineers, technicians and producers in the world. When you meet these teams, who have decades of experience, you are struck by their passion for delivering a perfect broadcast and the enormous pride that they have in representing the BBC across the country. Everything that you hear from live events beyond the studio is utterly dependent on their expertise.

This year, during some of my most enjoyable days, I visited our trucks across many locations such as outside the Proms, at Glastonbury or Maida Vale. However, perhaps I appreciate what these trucks deliver most in a cottage in Cornwall every summer, listening to live coverage of the Proms. The quality of our OB Fleet combined with the skill of the team comfortably closes the distance between the Albert Hall and the Lizard.

Furthermore, the OB team are a group that are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology. Immediately after last week's launch, they were testing new ways of producing music during a session with the Charlatans. I will be returning to this theme of audio innovation as we bring news of further developments to improve the quality of our broadcasting.

Meanwhile, if you do have ideas on how radio should innovate, don't hesitate to leave a comment here on the blog.

Tim Davie is Director of Audio & Music at the BBC

  • The picture shows Tim at the launch of the new fleet. It was taken by Simon Tuff, Principal Technologist at BBC Audio & Music.

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    Comment number 1.

    Can we see some more pics and details of the new fleet?

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    Comment number 2.

    "Capital investment is very significant (and rare) for BBC radio"

    If capital investment is so rare, I wonder if Tim Davie could explain why he's squandering £20 million a year broadcasting DAB (the vast majority of that cost is for the transmitter network), which is a figure that he wants to increase to at least £44 million a year?

    And this is despite the fact that Tim Davie refuses to hold a public consultation on whether the public even wants DAB to replace FM, because he knows perfectly well that the public is dead against ditching FM, so instead he favours forcing the public to adopt the obsolete 1980s DAB system whether they like it or not.

    Tim Davie also supported (and most likely proposed) the totally unachievable 2015 switchover date, which the Consumer Experts Group (CEG) report recently described as being "far too early", and they accused the radio industry of trying to "bully" and "scare" the public into adopting DAB.

    How do you respond to the accusation that someone who's paid £400,000 of public money a year favours bullying and scaring the public into adopting the obsolete DAB system, Tim?

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    Comment number 3.


    "...the public is dead against ditching FM..."

    As I understand it, FM is not due to be "ditched" but used for small scale community radio.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 5.

    Fred Hart,

    You're right that FM won't be switched off altogether. But none of the BBC's radio stations would be available post-digital radio switchover, and the point I was making was that the BBC should hold a public consultation to ask whether the public is in favour of the BBC's FM stations being switched off. And as I say, Tim Davie won't hold such a public consultation because he knows that the public wouldn't support the BBC switching off its FM stations.

    Most people probably think that the proposal to switch off FM stations is the Government's idea. In fact, it was the BBC that recommended to the Government that FM stations be switched off, so the BBC has gone behind the public's back, and it's about time they consulted with the public about this issue - the public is going to be asked to spend billions of pounds to replace their FM radios, when IMO the vast majority are opposed to the whole idea.


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