Tag Archives: Documentaries

Radio Doc: New York City’s pirates of the air

SWLing Post friend, David Goren (the same fellow behind Shortwaveology and the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map) has just produced and presented a BBC World Service documentary about the pirate radio scene in NYC.

Spoiler alert: it’s amazing–!

Below, I’ve included the description and audio links from the BBC World Service:

New York City’s pirates of the air

As the workday winds down across New York, you can tune in to a clandestine world of unlicensed radio stations; a cacophonous sonic wonder of the city. As listeners begin to arrive home, dozens of secret transmitters switch on from rooftops in immigrant enclaves. These stations are often called ‘pirates’ for their practice of commandeering an already licensed frequency.

These rogue stations evade detection and take to the air, blanketing their neighbourhoods with the sounds of ancestral lands blending into a new home. They broadcast music and messages to diverse communities – whether from Latin America or the Caribbean, to born-again Christians and Orthodox Jews.

Reporter David Goren has long followed these stations from his Brooklyn home. He paints an audio portrait of their world, drawn from the culture of the street. Vivid soundscapes emerge from tangled clouds of invisible signals, nurturing immigrant communities struggling for a foothold in the big city.

With thanks to KCRW and the Lost Notes Podcast episode Outlaws of the Airwaves: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD.

Producer/Presenter: David Goren

Click here to download New York City’s pirates of the air via the BBC World Service.

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“Generation Radio”: A short documentary about the evolution of broadcasting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who shares the following documentary film about the evolution of broadcast radio. This film was actually created for a senior thesis presentation at St. Michael’s College. The film “includes interviews from BBC World Tonight & Joe Reilly (Former President NYS Broadcasters Assn), Empire Broadcasting The Jockey, Clear Channel, WEQX, ESPN, SirusXM, VPR, Skidmore College, & more.”

Click here to view on YouTube.

Impressive film especially considering this was created as a senior thesis!

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Elettra: The story of Guglielmo Marconi through his daughter Princess Elettra Marconi

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who notes that the radio documentary Elettra is now available to rent (A$5.10) or download via Vimeo. Note that this program has geographic restrictions and may be limited to streaming in Australia:

ELETTRA from Ronin Films on Vimeo.

Encouraged by her friendship with Australian broadcaster, Ben Starr, the Princess opens her home and her heart to recall and relive her family’s saga.

Her own story is counter-pointed by her memories of her father and all he achieved. As a girl, Elettra watched her father create magic. For her, the use of radio technology to save the?lives of the Titanic survivors and to track down criminals was just part of her father’s wizardry. He had started a revolution. Wireless became the most fabulous invention of the 19th century: the public thought it was miraculous, and leading scientists of the day could not understand how it worked.

Elettra inherited the Marconi empire when she was seven years old. Having spent her life travelling the world to promote her father’s legacy, the Princess now plans to turn her crumbling family palace in Bologna into a radiant academy for the arts and science.
From the gardens of enchanted villas, to the corridors of the Vatican, we peek into the cracks of a new “Dolce Vita”, where nothing is quite what it seems.

For all her joyful enthusiasm, the Princess has found little support for her plan in Italy’s dysfunctional ministries and is searching far beyond. Can she make her dream come true?

Click here to view the trailer on Vimeo.

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Snow on the Dial – The Voice of Denendeh Falls Silent

Garth-MullinsIf you enjoyed Garth Mullins’ radio documentary “End of the Dial” you might also enjoy his  follow up, “Snow on the Dial-The Voice of Denendeh Falls Silent.” 

Mullins also produces the podcast, East Van Calling, which focuses on radio and various social justice issues in Canada. Subscribe to East Van Calling via SoundCloud:
https://soundcloud.com/garthmullins/sets/east-van-calling-podcast

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Radio: “a rare dimension to our human experience”

SX-99-DialRegarding Garth Mullins’ radio documentary, SWLing Post reader, David Korchin, comments:

“I got my start in a small FM station in Saskatoon—CFMC, doing overnights, then drive, then mornings.

Kind of a loose format, and with such a small staff that we were all doing each others’ jobs. When the news guy went on vacation, I got to rip-and-read.

Later I moved to another market, with a bigger transmitter and more audience, a tighter format and rules about what you could say and play—but the lone magic of talking into the mic and being in the ears of a complete stranger never left.

It’s why I’m a Ham, I suppose. It’s already depressing that the biggies like Netherlands and Canada and others have tuned out. I hate to ponder the End of Radio—it’s like losing an untouchable, rare dimension to our human experience.”

David Korchin (K2WNW) is also a talented photographer; check out his website–One Camera One Lens–and especially his photography project, The Hamateur. Amazing images…

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, David!

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