Bill Mitchell: The Man Who Wrestled Pumas… Probably

I grew up listening to Bill Mitchell’s voice overs and jingles – wow – what a voice. A BBC documentary ‘Bill Mitchell: The Man Who Wrestled Pumas… Probably’ is due for rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra July 18th 06:30am. If you listened to radio in the 70s and 80s you can’t have missed this voice on European radio from Ireland to Israel. The best VO voice you’ll ever hear. Probably.

Here is a copy of the broadcast from when it first aired.

*** Correction: The Radio 4 Extra listing refers to a broadcast in 2013.

Miriam Margolyes presents a documentary charting the life and career of her late colleague and friend Bill Mitchell, the voice-over artist who informed us the latest blockbusters would be ‘at cinemas near you from Sunday’, told us ‘Carlsberg was probably the best lager in the world’, and that Denim was ‘for men who didn’t have to try too hard’.

Born in Canada, he admitted that heavy drinking and smoking from his teens helped preserve the voice, and indeed drove his excessive lifestyle. He ‘had to’ abuse his body to maintain the voice and he ‘had to’ be in a Soho pub because it was handy for the recording studios.

Bill’s career spanned acting, voice-over work, plus a brief spell as 1970s pop outfit Yin and Yan with friend Chris Sandford. His remains ranked as one of the greats within the advertising industry.

Featuring contributions from Bill’s daughter Amanda McAllister, musicians and friends Zoot Money and Kenny Clayton, and industry moguls Nick Angell and Rob Townsend.

radio for all

radio listening was a group event. family time. now radio is personal. the broadcaster is thinking of one listener at a time or in total. the chance that 2 or more people will listen to radio together is rare. but we do listen together, just not in the same room or car or building. we all listen to radio alone but together through the radio.

what is radio doing to utilise this power? are we all individual and there is no such thing as community? (was Thatcher right?) or can radio use social to link people (listeners) with people (more listeners) for a greater good? we know radio can do that. who is willing to give it a try.

update 09/05/2018
What can radio do to harness this power. On Saturday night last RTE Radio harnessed the power of radio across the world in a broadcast link up with outside broadcasters in fields and woods and beaches to record and broadcast the dawn chorus of birdsong. This is an annual broadcast that is a feast of audio. What if such radio link ups were used for peoples voices on important topics.

Climate Change / Homelessness / War / Migration / Data Protection / Mental Health (this list could be longer) What if radio stopped taking at its listeners and started listening to the voices of its listeners. A Big Phone In Show. NO. If the Citizens Assembly showed us anything, it is that ordinary people can grapple with tough topics and deliver reasoned understanding and civil discourse that shapes legislation and the constitution in Ireland.

Radio is a platform. We need to remove the top down megaphone mentality and start to hear the listeners. Digital provides the opportunity to listen and hear (and they aren’t always the same thing) what audience has to say on everything. Community / Local / National / Global radio needs to get the hell out of its studio and meet its people.

Why now? The world became a small place – 25 years of world wide web and we are all connected. 2018 was the year Facebook was turning to community (until it got distracted with data leaks), Movements are global #metoo #blacklivesmatter #TakeAKnee spread at the speed of tweets. Worldwide issues need wide access for everyone to input their views and ideas. Radio can capture this and process the throughput.

We need to begin hearing the listeners.

Shining Bright Radio begins

On May 1st in a beam of light Shining Bright Radio launched. teamed up with self help author Kelly Martin in the UK to develop a mindful radio oasis where there is time to think and relax with the radio. We started with 15 programmers from around the world. Tune in here’s first project is now up and running. The station is collaborative and uses Spacial’s SAM Cloud to distribute programmes. The aggregator updates the station with the latest feeds from RSS polling and WebSub updates keeping programming fresh across the week. There is also an on demand option for each programme behind the tiles on the programme wall below. If linear streaming isn’t your type of radio you can also listen to a quasi stream / demand player at the bottom of this post. If you want to jump to the next latest programme, go ahead.

Qued – podcast platform in the making

Over the last 9 years I have been developing a platform for podcasts and videos where chapter points can be made in media. While it is still in beta development it is getting closer to a future full release. Over the last days I have begun porting the Qued Front End to the mobile age.

A new splash page with functioning cuepoints and mixcloud integration is the result. For more details on the project see Annotating Radio Archive (research 2015).

We are is working on podcasting and radio research, working where radio meets social, radio’s oral history with the project, also working on “demand radio on demand” via mental health radio station Shining Bright Radio and last but not least applying some R&D into a new ‘podcast channel’ player over in the radio lab. Following a masters in DCU which explored social media communications and how podcasting is impacting in the radio industry RADIO.IE is experimenting with new methods of radio engagement to harness the power of social and the resonance of radio to bring audience experience closer to the broadcast message.

[25.02.2019] Our newest radio service is called UPˢᵗʳᵉᵃᵐ and is in BETA testing right now. 5 Radio stations are working with to road test the new service which takes the pain out of archiving radio programmes by automatically uploading the scheduled programmes to the cloud. Flirt FM, 8Radio, Real FM, GCR Digital Radio and Shining bright radio are all using the service which uses the Mixcloud API to offer the stations a listen again service for all programmes. The service is due to go live in April 2019 and will cost €14.99 per week.

When we don’t have our eyes

Best Kept Secret in Radio – Lulu Miller – TEDx Charlottesville

Lulu Miller gives us an animated look into the lives and practices of radio personalities and broadcasters, and speaks to the effects radio can have on us as individuals and a society.

Traditional music propagating on medium waves

I came across the music of Peddyr Cubberley in an interview on Manx Radio back in April 2017. I was in Dublin in the car listening to 1368KHz (Manx Radio) and Peddyr said that radio brought the music from Ireland to his ears in Isle of Man and it fostered in him a love of Celtic music which is native to Isle of Man and Ireland. (not a verbatim transcript from the broadcast but a general sense of what was said).

This idea intrigued me. And it really shouldn’t. Irish audiences listened to Radio Caroline North anchored off the Isle of Man. My good Friend Graham on the Wirral caught the wave of A Woman’s Heart listening to Moloney After Midnight on 1278KHz RTE Radio 2. So radio with medium has reach, daytime and a different nighttime reach, as my friend John Walsh puts it, medium wave has geography. It broadcasts from a point and radiates outward overseas (it likes salt water) crosses borders and reaches people outside of its target geography.

I asked Peddyr if he would answer some questions about how music travels on medium wave and being part of our shared heritage.

BG. When did you first hear radio from Ireland.?

PC. 1970s.

BG. What stations / shows / genres did you hear? any level of detail is useful including years / decades.

PC. RTE Radio 1 – Gay Byrne / Long Long Note / Mo Cheoil Thú (Ciarán MacMathúna), most things trad. 1970s to date.

RTE Radio 2 from it’s launch in ’78 was it? Dave Fanning, Larry Gogan etc. 1980s

Radio Nova – Declan Meehan, Colm Hayes, Bob Gallico & Sybil Fennell (News). Can’t remember who else. Nova had a big following in the IOM in those days, so much so that I remember that they even came here a couple of times with their roadshow! 1980s.

BG. In your opinion how useful is Medium Wave radio for the propagation of traditional music in our Islands?

PC. 50/50 I’d say. Much further reception than VHF, hence being able to listen to stations on AM/MW that couldn’t reach on VHF. Downside is, it’s prone to interference and fade at night, often being ‘bled over’ by European stations. Largely irrelevant today with the advent of online streaming globally/smartphone apps.

BG. With the closure of Irish Medium Wave radio in 2008, how has this impacted on the reception of traditional music in your life?

PC. A little negative, as some shows couldn’t reach some parts of the Island on VHF alone. No problem at home as can use online streaming/catch up/ podcasts etc. Just disadvantaged in the car really, but I can live with that!

BG. Does online broadcasting supplement broadcast transmissions of the past or is there a loss of continuity in the platform change?

PC. I think it does. It can richly enhance traditional broadcasting.

BG. Any additional comments on this subject beyond the questions above?

PC. A few years ago, the then Director General of RTÉ Cathal Goan, visited the Isle of Mann and held a meeting (as I understand it), to look into the possibility of having RTÉ TV/Radio relayed throughout the Island due to it’s small relatively population, and shared Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage. I haven’t heard anything about this since. I guess the idea got dropped since 2008 when the ‘credit crunch’ happened.

My thanks to Peddyr for sharing his views on Medium Wave Radio.
here is some music from Peddyr Cubberley with some stunning drone photography of the Isle of Mann

Peddyr’s music is also on Facebook.