BBC “Radio Ballads”

This audio story (Sound #99 on Third Coast International Audio Festival’s website) recounts the tale of 3 British audiophiles who grabbed new technology (portable recording equipment) of the time and used it to capture the lives of unique individuals. Starting in 1958, Charles Parker, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger recorded voices and ambient sounds to communicate 8 audio “ballads” for the BBC audience, covering various segments of the British population including coal miners, fishermen, victims of polio, teenagers, etc. ┬áPrior to this type of new radio program, audio storytellers would go into a studio and have a “BBC-voice” professional broadcaster narrate the storyline. ┬áThese 3 innovators used the voices of real people to tell their tales — commonplace now but an innovation in 1958-1964.

Third Coast International Audio Festival (TCF) was founded in 2000, and has since then published recordings made by producers of audio documentaries. Check out TCF’s website.

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