Archives for December 2010

Debating the future technologies in the world of radio

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Rajan Datar | 11:35 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010

Here at Over To You we often touch on technological developments that affect the world of radio - changes in the way you consume and listen to programmes - from the introduction of internet radio to the gradual switch from short wave.

But not in a techie way I hope; all this is inextricably linked to what you are actually listening to, the content.


How will future generations listen to the radio? Picture: Getty Images

So in this spirit and as we look forward to the new year, in this week's show we asked three experts from the world of broadcasting to gaze into their crystal radio sets and tell us what to expect from the coming months and years.

What does the future hold for those of us who love getting our news and information from the radio?

I was joined for this discussion by Mark Selby, who’s Nokia’s expert on mobile radio, Jim Egan, director of strategy and distribution at the BBC World Service and James Cridland, a self-professed “radio futurologist.

They took us on an exciting tour of the new possibities that are emerging for radio, many of which make it more interactive for listeners.

We’d welcome your views on what this panel had to say and your thoughts about the way radio might develop. Keep those calls and emails coming, remember that we always want to hear your views on the World Service.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).



The biggest media challenges in 2011

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Rajan Datar | 11:37 UK time, Friday, 24 December 2010

As the New Year looms, on this week's show we’ve decided to focus on the media issues that arise when reporting in difficult situations around the world.

We have chosen three highly significant but very different countries and have assembled three of the World Service’s experts to talk about the unique challenges that a reporter faces.


Lyse Doucet in action outside Kabul

I’m joined in the studio by Lyse Doucet, a BBC World Service reporter and correspondent whose reports from Afghanistan and Pakistan have won her many plaudits, and Shirong Chen, the BBC World Service China Editor, whose patch has been increasingly featured on Over To You in the past year.

We find out what they feel will be the biggest media challenge in 2011.

I also spoke to Paulo Cabral, BBC Sao Paulo correspondent, from Brazil and discusses his two upcoming documentaries entitled “Brazil: Lula’s Legacy”.

Paulo travels to two places that marked Lula’s life – the very poor region of the northeast where the president was born and the industrial area of Sao Paulo where he made his reputation.

Through this journey Paulo examines the emergence of Brazil’s new middle class and I asked Paulo why he thought the story of social mobility and the rise of the middle class in Brazil has had relatively little global media attention compared to China and India.

He also talks to us about how he feels international media attitude towards his home country is changing and what he feels the year ahead has in store.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


Covering the climate change soap opera

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Rajan Datar | 15:14 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

This week on Over To You, we take a look at the way in which the international media has covered the latest episode in what is beginning to resemble an international soap opera, the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.

Following the hullaballoo and frenetic media interest that surrounded the talks in Copenhagen last year, coverage of what actually went on at this summit was strikingly muted.

Activists from Greenpeace spread their message across a beach in Cancun. Image credit: Reuters

Some reports focused on the problems of getting the developed and developing nations to agree to cut emissions whilst others heralded the agreement that emerged from Cancun as a relative success and declared that it outstripped expectations.

As BBC correspondent Richard Black put it, “if Copenhagen was the Great Dane that whimpered then Cancun has been the Chihuahua that roared”.

So what should we make of it? Can we rely on the media’s reaction to gauge whether Cancun was a success – or not? We wanted to know how the news of such stories is relayed to the world – and indeed how accurately - and what significance we should place on “big ticket” international gatherings like this?

As attention turns to Durban in 2012 and the need to renew the Kyoto Protocol before it lapses becomes more and more urgent, how will the media report the next phase of this global story?

To finds some answers to these questions we speak to Steven Duke, the editor of One Planet, the BBC World Service's environmental and development radio show.

Last week on Over To You we heard from listeners in Berlin who have been frantically searching the airwaves for the BBC World Service only to find a children’s radio station called Radio Teddy playing fairy tales and pop music in its place.

In response to our questions the BBC gave us a statement to explain that on the first of December the World Service moved to a new FM frequency in Berlin – from 90.2 to 94.8. Well, this did not satisfy Berlin listeners – or rather people who would like to be Berlin listeners if they could receive the signal once more – and it prompted another hefty postbag.

We speak to the Simon Kendall of the Business Development unit to get to the bottom of what is going on in the German capital.

The world of media and broadcasting is changing rapidly and we thought you’d like to know more about what’s coming down the pipe in terms of radio.

In two weeks time we’ll have a special edition of Over To You that is dedicated to the future of radio.

This week, to whet your appetite, we hear from the man who’s devised a service which is being described as doing for audio what Twitter has done for 140 characters messages.

Audioboo is a service which allows smartphone users to record and playback digital recordings of up to five minutes, which can then be posted on the Audioboo website. Described as social media for audio, its founder is Mark Rock and he joins me in the studio.

Mark recorded this while we were in the studio:


And if you’re inspired to send us a message – on Audioboo, email, or telephone - about anything you’ve heard on this programme, or the World Service generally, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You


Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


Overly optimistic in Sudan? The challenges of reporting a complex subject

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Rajan Datar | 15:34 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

This week on Over to You, as Sudan prepares for a decisive referendum that could split the country, one listener thinks the BBC being over optimistic in its reporting of the forthcoming referendum.

It’s just a month before the people of Southern Sudan vote on whether they want to separate from the north to form Africa’s newest state.

The referendum itself will take place over a week from 9th January and many thousands of people have already been returning to the south for the vote, as the BBC’s Will Ross has been reporting. The story has understandably been getting a lot of news coverage on the World Service on both the English Language service as well as Swahili and Arabic Services too.

But one Over To You listener, Tamim Foda, contacted us to say that from his perspective - he is based in Cairo in Egypt - some of the BBC coverage seems overly optimistic about the outcome of the vote.

So we put Tamim together with the World Service Africa region editor, Solomon Mugera and Gill Lusk of Africa Confidential, a respected newsletter that reports on politics across the continent.

Their discussions highlighted the challenges of reporting a complex subject. Please let us know what you think about media coverage of the Sudanese referendum over the coming weeks.

Elsewhere, Mike Costello’s two part documentary from the Phillipines about Manny Pacquiao -  the eight times world boxing champion who earlier this year became a congressman in the Philippinnes -attracted praise from Emmanuel Benash Junior who emailed from Ghana about “the underlying themes of politics versus boxing- as well as the potetial existential angst faced by Pacquiao.”

However, listener and rugby fan, Gerard Hutching emailed from Hong Kong to complain about coverage of his favourite sport. He points out that while there has been a series of rugby tests in the northern hemisphere, ”you would hardly know it if you listen to the BBC World Service".

He contrasts this with coverage of football where there are previews and interviews with coaches and players.

We had plenty of emails from Berlin where the World Service has moved to a new FM frequency - from 90.2 to 94.8 - giving the children’s radio station Radio Teddy the World Service slot to broadcast its delightful music and children fairy stories. But the new frequency has meant some listeners cannot receive the World Service as well as in the past.

The BBC told us that the BBC World Service changed its frequency as the most cost-effective distribution method for covering Central Berlin but the footprint of the new signal means some listeners may experience reduced coverage in suburban areas.

Additionally, during the switchover process, some initial technical issues on the new frequency were experienced, which unfortunately meant it was off air for 12 hours. These issues have now been put right. But they apologise to everyone who may now have difficulty tuning in.

Finally, with the snow falling here in the UK and the streets full of festive decorations it’s hard to escape that Christmas feeling. Listener Philip Oyeniyi from Lagos, Nigeria, contacted Over to You to say that for him Christmas doesn’t officially start until he’s heard the famous service of Nine Lessons and Carols sung live by the choir of Kings College Cambridge.

Philip was worried that the World Service wouldn’t be carrying the service live - well Philip I can reassure that it will be on as usual on Christmas Eve. And if you are ready now to get into the Christmas spirit, you can hear a taste last year’s service, courtesy of this week’s Over To You podcast.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


Wikileaks: Should sources always be protected?

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Rajan Datar | 13:48 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

Accusations flew that lives were endangered as a result and there have been demands for the identity of the whistleblower who provided the quarter of a million documents should be made known.

Not surprisingly Wikileaks are determined to keep their source’s identity a secret. But should journalists’ sources always be protected?

I spoke to film-maker Rob Lemkin who refused to hand over his exclusive interview with Nuon Chea, second in command to Cambodia’s notorious Pol Pot.

He explained why he decided not to hand over his material to the international court where Nuon Chea is on trial on charges of genocide.

On a different theme, and one which is likely to appear again on Over to You during the next six months, a new season of programmes gets underway on the World Service.

Called Extremes, it is a series of TV, radio and online reports in which BBC news will look at the deep divisions which still exist in the world. From December 2010 to June 2011, eight main themes will be explored from the extremes in climate, corruption, dying, education, to crime, business, waste and religion.

This week reports from the hottest and coldest places on the planet kicked off this wide ranging project . Steve Titherington, Global News Executive Editor is part of the BBC team behind Extreme World and he explained the thinking behind such a long season.

We hope you’ll let us know what you think of Extremes as it develops over the coming weeks and months.

Finally, here’s a case where a listener felt that they would have been interested in more about a subject covered in Exchanges on the Frontier – a series where leading scientists discuss the ethical and philosophical aspects of their work.

The series was dubbed ‘outstanding’ by Chris Green who emailed us from Jakarta, Indonesia and he highlighted the episode on Broadmoor secure hospital for addressing an important topic.

He noted that there is a longer version on the website, but suggested “even the full hour would have left more questions unanswered.” – he felt the subject could sustain an entire series.

Surely a sign of a successful programme, if it leaves listeners wanting to know more.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


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