Category Archives: Radio

Written after furthering my Main Document

This article was written for the ‘Without the Internet’ series. I’ve been without the Internet for almost a month now and, as a result, I’ve been spending most of my free time pruning my Mac mini inside and out – coming across interesting snippets from the last few years.

I haven’t mentioned my ‘Main Document’ in a while. That might be because I haven’t actually been keeping up with it; it’s been one of those projects that, while having a explicit end, I’ve just never had a chance to complete.

I’ll first explain what the ‘Main Document’ is and the reason behind it being at all. Towards the end of my 2009–10 course at Cambridge Regional College into art and graphic design, I wrote a detailed account of what was called the “final major project”. While I didn’t enjoy the project itself, I did very much enjoy documenting it in detail and I thought I’d carry the practice on into my next course in radio. I was also, on the art-design course, having problems with certain tutors grading my coursework factionally; I thought that I might appreciate having a precise and comprehensive text full of the coursework that wouldn’t get submitted (the ‘working out’) later on, so I could hand it into the qualifications body for reassessment.

So between September 2010 and April 2011—which was the first of three ‘courses’, each one lasting about thirty college months—this ‘Main Document’ document became the centrepiece of my coursework and a place to collate notes, scripts, pieces of copy, despatches and so forth. The document was always written in arrears but, owing to the fact that a great deal of assignments had to be written in late March and early April, I fell a little behind on writing up old notes (the most recent day’s work was always written up soon after) and transcribing old programmes (which takes ages).

In the three-week holiday between the first and second ‘courses’ of the course, I was interning at Radio Netherlands Worldwide in Hilversum, the Netherlands. My plan was that each evening after interning, I’d return to my bed-and-breakfast and write up a page or two more of the document. To cut a long story short, this wasn’t the case; perhaps the distractions of living in a new country were simply far more interesting than writing up old college work. I managed to get myself another month-long internship at RNW before finding full-time employment at Mister B. Again, the distractions of my new home were just too damn interesting (they still are).

It’s nine months to the day since I arrived in the Netherlands and the ‘Main Document’ has come forward little since that Spring day of ferry boredom and suicidal cycling across provincial Holland and Utrecht: at times, I was so damn tired, I almost fell into one of a number of rivers and canals. But being without the Internet this past month means there have been fewer distractions and interruptions, and so back to writing I’ve gone. My parents brought over two cardboard boxes worth of notes and documents a few months ago and, one by one, I’m slowly sifting through the mountain of paper; typing each one up and putting it in an appropriate place in the now nearly 700 kB LaTeX file of 52,660 words. This blog post, by comparison, is hovering at a meagre 4 kB.

The interruption mark

Unless you’re a scriptwriter, this post probably won’t interest you. I’m a stickler for uniform-looking documents in series: one of the main reasons why I use (La)TeX. Recently, I’ve been writing what are basically ‘design guidelines’ at the beginning of my upcoming coursework publication, Wine Glass Moustache—don’t ask—so, when proofreading it, I have a definiative solution to common problems like how to arrange radio scripts if they’ve got timecodes, or how to cite people’s quotes rather than their publications (in these cases, an omiliography is what I’m after). Today, I’ve been musing on what interruption mark to use; an interruption mark is something put at the end of a line in a script to indicate an interruption. For example, …

KS: I think all religions are, in practice, cul-
JE: Stop right there.

In the above example, I’ve used the hyphen to denote an interruption to my (KS) lines; I think this is the mark I’m going to stick with. Alternatives were things like ellipses, but then the line looks incomplete:

KS: But they are. Just ask the OED: it defines ‘cul…

It looks like I haven’t finished writing the line, at least to me it does—kind of like a programmer’s TODO. [1]

I think I’m going to stay with the hyphen but I’m interested to hear what you think, not just on boring bollocks like how to write interruptions in scripts. Do you have your rules of writing written down?; is it so you don’t waste time having an internal conflict with opposing brain halves?

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Garish in colour, high in functionality

Yesterday, I cooked-up a fancy spreadsheet in Google Docs (which, by the way, is pretty good; haters gonna hate) to track the progress of … it tracks the progress of the progress of me writing my Main Document, a term for my seriously-OTT notes portfolio.

I should probably explain this. Rather than actually doing coursework, it’s been observed by some that I seem to spend more time organising the doing of coursework. This spreadsheet (link might be dead) is an example of just that.

Cells containing the number 100 (coloured baby-vomit green, at the time of writing) relate to “100% written” sections of my Main Document, and cells containing the number 0 are empty sections; the other numbers are (similarly) percentages of written-up-ing-ness. “Check” is a simply flag to say “Kevin: evaluate this section’s completeness”; “N/A” is self-explanatory. The Main Document sections which need my most urgent attention are low figures between Christmas (possibly rows 16–17) and this week (half-term; possibly row 25, full of N/As).

The objective of the spreadsheet—that’s if I stick with the whole spreadsheet idea—is that all cells that are meant to be coloured baby-vomit green will be coloured baby-vomit green. To give you an idea of the scale of the task: you see all the complete lack (bar one cell, N15) in the pretentious photograph up there… all those incomplete sections and 0-marked sections total 27,302 words.

BBC Alba and Freeview

This is somewhat old news but I’ve only just found the time to write this bloomin’ post. If I’ve understood the news correctly, most (if not all; can’t be bothered to count) BBC Radio stations will soon be replaced on the Freeview platform by television channel BBC Alba. I agree completely with the BBC Trust’s decision that “the removal of a [channel like] BBC Parliament from [the] Freeview [platform would be a] loss of significant public value”. The change will only affect Freeview viewers and listeners in Scotland.

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Intellectual property and Core Radio

I feel passionately that quotes should be published; …for reasons not limited to damage protection, accountability, and general opennessment. I also feel passionately that an author should be able to review his or her quote before it is published; only sexually frustrated people misquote. I hope to be at Cambridge Regional College for the remainder of my two-year ND Radio course and so I feel that this statement from lecturer Phil Pethybridge is significant enough to publish here.

In the context of Core Radio, the recordings of live broadcasts belong to Core Radio [...] but Core Radio is happy for you [Kevin Steinhardt, et al.] to use originally-produced content [within said recordings of live broadcasts] for [...] career development but not for direct financial gain.

Phil added that, for example, “[one] can’t make a package [using our booths, etc.] and sell it [...] because [one hasn't] paid to use the facilities”—he defined “sell” as “receive money [in exchange for said package]“. Phil also added that pre-production material (e.g. scripts, documentation) is the author’s.

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