September 6, 2010

The importance of partnerships

I’ve been mulling over the phrase “cross-cultural fertilisation” - it seems to describe Radio Aquitaine perfectly. I’ve been working hard on the station while contemplating its role in a broader European media framework, and the forces affecting media and diversity issues. Democratic, probing journalism builds and strengthens democracies; through entertaining content you can educate and inform. Diversity is a reality and there is a real need for a cross-national, pan-European approach to media ethics and journalism education. I’m big on inclusive partnership strategies and the new media landscape delivers a veritable paradise of opportunities. I look forward each morning to delving into the wider world utilising the internet, and thinking about how RA can link with it.

September 2, 2010


It's ok, Pascale had the station up and running immediately. Sighs of relief, we're back on the airwaves. New broadcasters on the horizon at last, French ones too, yippee. Slowly making contact with other media networks in France, searching for talent. Loving doing this, it doesn't feel like work.

August 30, 2010

Technology frustrations

RA has been off air for three days now and I'm waiting patiently in Australia until University staff in Perigueux return to work (after their summer break), which will of course be tonight my time. Actually, the wait is excruciating. To spend hours and hours working behind the scenes only to have RA fall over is demoralising. I feel I let down our hard working volunteers who spend their time and energy making programs. I'm confident Pascale will have it working in no time, but until then I am unable to move forward with publicity and advertising. We've had a dream run to date so I guess I should feel pleased it's happened at the very end of the holidays, not the beginning.

August 8, 2010

Long time no hear

The moment I hit Australia I'm sucked back into work and unfortunately RA inevitably goes on the back burner. I've been busy teaching, organising industry placements and thinking of creative ways not only to teach my students but get them to cover events as working journalists. Thanks to Tim, Brad and Dan, my dedicated students making programs for RA. RA continues to move and I'm incredibly lucky to have such supportive program makers who volunteer their time and skills, while I'm stuck in Australia counting the days until my next return. 

I have the studio equipment, purchased in Australia and carried in my suitcase half way round the world; I'm amazed the eight track mixer made it onto the plane. Marie Dominique (left) provided invaluable assistance when I visited in June, but we still have some way to go until RA can broadcast programs live. The station is established, now I need to find a business partner in France to help run it as a full-time media entity.

April 8, 2010

A station - finally

At last I can actually say we're "on air". United Nations Radio is now a media partner and we're streaming with several local programs on rotation in our program schedule. We've had frustrating technical issues - at the moment the BBC and local programs play at the same time. I know the BBC is omnipresent but that's a bit rich...

We've had fun/tension working these things out, and late nights. It's still a bit rough and ready, with nowhere near enough local or french language content but there's a station broadcasting, so any budding program makers out there in Aquitaine, do get in touch.

Huge thanks to the amazing Artie from
AirNews who helped move RA from the other side of the world. I'm on the lookout now for an 8 track mixer, mics and headphones for the suitcase studio and interview booth.

March 24, 2010

We're streaming!

I can't believe it, after all this time, nearly three years in the making, and the station streamed today for the first time. Thank you to all those who helped make this memorable occasion happen. I've been smiling all day. Finally I can start to get local programs happening with the promise of regular air-time. Next task is to buy a small mixing desk, a few mics, head phones, couple of cd players and begin to set up a "studio" in the station office. We're moving forward at last...

March 8, 2010

Off line and counting

While I try and teach my students to be interested in other cultures and faiths, and strive for balance - to question, probe deeply and maintain a skepticism crucial to independent journalism, I sit here frustrated because my umbilical cord has been cut. The computer in Perigueux has been off-line for 12 days. I have no access from Australia. I'm waiting for France to finish a one week holiday period before either Clive or Pascal can address the problem. Something to be aware of once we're streaming - off-air for almost two weeks - unthinkable...

Eric has produced a great bilingual, upbeat program, exactly what I'm after. Once I pay the obligatory yearly music rights fees it will be on the site. Hetty has done an excellent Dutch translation of the home page, (looks like RA will be expanding to trilingual broadcasting sooner than I thought). Nick (who runs a professional voice-over business) has offered to make station IDs. Clive and Hetty have also approached several local traders about advertising. Thank you all. The long drawn out technical issue of getting the computer to auto-program and stream remain.

My book to stay sane this month - "Mission Al Jazeera" by Josh Rushing, now compulsory reading for all my students. According to the former military media adviser based at CentCom, Qatar during the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration "used men and women in uniform to deliver their message and the media were on board, never questioning the ethics of this approach". Where was the Arab perspective during this time? Certainly the focus of Australian media was always supporting America. The media shaped perception, truth and reality; it's a strong beast and best used to promote understanding and respect between cultures.