Fresh from Ireland, a cool new video from a new show, ‘THE BEE-LOUD GLADE: A Living Anthology of Contemporary Irish Poetry,’ with music by Roger Gregg & Crazy Dog Audio Theatre.
Meanwhile, I solicited some pretty candid comments from Roger about the news regarding BBC radio drama:
Behind all this is the well-entrenched paradigm which has been embraced since the year dot over here.
Namely that ‘Radio Drama’ is Theatre on the radio and that ‘theatre’ must always come in the form of ‘plays’.
‘Plays’ are presented in long formats, 90 minutes, an hour, 45 minutes.
Half hour things are ‘Light Entertainment’ or half-hour or less slot ‘Serials’ such as the Archers [which I think is around the 15 minute mark]. … The Radio Networks do the research and time and time again it comes back to them that relatively NO ONE listens to the long-form ‘drama’ – go over half an hour and the numbers go down…down…after 45 minutes down…down…over that .. down …down… gone.
But since ‘Theatre’ and ‘Drama’ MUST always in their paradigm be about presenting ‘Plays’ they are stuck.
I don’t know how many times I’ve banged the drum for SHORT slots citing the wonderful success Dirk Maggs achieved with
so much of his BBC Radio 2 adventure series. Daily in short segments, an omnibus on the weekends and if and when a CD is released or it’s put up on the internet, then you can connect all the daily segments together with discrete track i.d.s between each segment for easy cueing. I have said this in writing to RTE and Radio 2 as well as suggested in writing to a couple of the independent stations,
but NO ONE is interested.
The emprical marketing and listening pattern research is there. Time and time again the statistics and conclusions therefrom are plain to see. Station Programmers meticulously study this data and have adapted old and created new highly successful programming and
styles and modes of presentation.
YET the bastion of ‘Radio Drama’ remains impervious to this. This is one reason why they do themselves no favours and are often regarded as the hindbound nuisance in stations compelled to produce drama.
Youch! Hard truths but worth meditating on. I know that plenty of people listen to long-form drama – on demand – but on broadcast radio it’s a whole different beast.
Roger’s comments bring Tom Lopez’s work on 2 Minute Film Noir, indeed, his work with Ruby and Jack Flanders being released as ongoing serialized shorts. In an environment where attention spans are short and time is precious, less is more.