Debates with experts opened the world of radio and multimedia productions and posed essential questions
What is the draw of Czech audio documentaries these days? What should a proper news report be like? What place do radio dramas and readings have in the multimedia world and are the Czech radio stations keeping up with the world’s giants? The experts discussed these questions and more in four debates as part of the Prix Bohemia Radio 2020 festival.
In spite of the untraditional online format of the festival in 2020, a group of experts got together to discuss the most pressing questions, problems and challenges concerning the four competing genres: documentaries, dramas, news reports and multimedia. Read the selected opinions that were heard at the debates.
Current Czech audio documentaries draw people in with their story and impressive form
Multimedia artist Ladislav Železný and documentarists Jan Hanák, Tereza Reková, Eva Lédlová and Ivan Studený considered the search for new forms to be the challenge for documentaries. According to them, in today’s world, in which podcasts reign supreme, the quantity of available shows often outweighs their quality and it is getting harder and harder to attract listeners. “Do you want a podcast about choosing tables? I’m sure one exists,” joked documentarist Tereza Reková, adding that she is worried that it may lead to a decrease in the value of the radio craft as such.
When asked what makes audio documentaries important, documentarist Jan Hanák provided the following answer in the debate: “The thing that fascinates me about audio is that we give the listeners room for their imagination.” Another important question that the authors should ask is that of the potential of theme overlap. “No theme is better than others, because every theme has the potential for overlap if we look hard enough,” added Hanák.
Seeing with your ears? You can with a good radio news report
The Head of the News in Hradec Králové Martin Pařízek, Foreign Desk Editor Pavel Novák, Head of Sports Desk Miroslav Bureš and Moderator Martin Minha shared their rich experience and insight and the creation of news reports in the second debate.
“If we want to have a good news report, we have to live with the subjects for a while,” Pařízek said in the debate. The goal of this genre is to sell what the reporters see with their eyes to the listeners’ ears. The accompanying noise and sounds are important because of this, though that can sometimes be a real nuisance to reporters. “Reporters have to perceive and hear what is going on around them. If they hear a vulgar word or something racist and don’t have a chance to edit it out, it is important to not overlook it, but to comment on it,” added Bureš.
Radio drama and literature is not lost in the multimedia world
The Head of the Czech Radio’s Drama and Literature 2020 Creative Team Martin Velíšek, dramaturge and translator Marina Feltlová and Czech Radio’s Head Director Aleš Vrzák were invited to the discussion on the theme of radio drama and literature in the multimedia world. The debate was led by Czech Radio’s Dramaturge Zuzana Vojtíšková.
Moderator Zuzana Vojtíšková’s first question aimed at looking for the difference between preparing and recording radio plays broadcast live and the standard way. “The difference, of course, is in the technologies,” stated Aleš Vrzák, according to whom the crew is free to choose the technologies and environment they use. The advantage of the classic method of pre-recording is the high degree of post-production, which can make up to four-fifths of the creative work. This does not mean, of course, that an authentic environment cannot be used during standard recording. Not only does it help the actors with their delivery, but authentic sounds are also created.
In other parts of the debate the question was posed on the possibility of original texts for the radio, dramatic and technical adaptation of literature and the question of the current position of radio and literary works among listeners.
Can radio defeat Spotify with its own audio platform?
A platform or a neural network. Those words have also permeated the local radio scene and the debate on the theme of multimedia. Guests of the discussion were the Content Marketing Manager in Active Group Petr Uchytil, Head Producer of the audio portal mujRozhlas.cz Anna Vošalíková, pedagogue and philosopher Dita Malečková and analyst Adam Javůrek.
Two companies, Spotify and Apple podcasts, rule the international market of various audio recordings. Even so, the debaters saw the development in Czech rather optimistically. “The battle has already begun. Spotify wants to be like radio, but we will never surrender. We have the advantage of the Czech language and the offer of local content,” stated Uchytil with regard to the current situation.
And he has the graphs to show that it is the right investment. “The audience share in Czech Radio’s services is growing. It could also be seen during the pandemic, when the number of listeners of Spotify dropped significantly, which did not happen in comparison with the MujRozhlas platform. That is a reason to establish our own platform and not to just rely on third parties,” commented Javůrek.