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The Day of the Radio

Today Russia celebrates the Day of the Radio. On this day (May 7) in 1895 Alexander Popov demonstated his invention, and so Communications Industry was born. There was still a bit of a walking to do towards the television, but there was no looking back for what would be known as the Broadcast Media.

As you know, I spent two years working in the radio. First, I had a placement at the BBC Radio Manchester, or BBC GMR, as it was then known. And after a placement with Songs of Praise and a contract with the Factual and Entertainment Department I returned to Radio Manchester where I spent the next year and a half with the Actiondesk (later known as Interaction). At the same time I also started doing a programme at a community radio station in Manchester, moving from a news programme to a programme on Arts and Culture.

I owe a great deal of experience and discoveries to my time in the radio. I was used to public talking, but radio was different: the public was a long way from my microphone. I had to learn to use my voice to convey the feelings, sensations, and reactions to the listener. I also had to acknowledge the inconvenient difference between the rich English vocabulary and the “layman’s terms“. I still shudder when I recall compiling questions for an on-air quiz at The Phil Wood show: even my “easy” questions were occasionally crossed out by the producer Sarah as being “too difficult”. I was once proven right: somebody thought that “darjeeling” was a curry.

Best of all – and this is something I am really, really grateful for to the BBC and QT Radio – in spite of me having no experience whatsoever in the Broadcast Media, everybody spoke and asked things as if I knew how to do everything. Of course, if I didn’t know, they were kind to show and to explain. But the general assumption, I feel, was quite clear: if you’re at the Beeb, you’re certainly capable of doing anything you need to do. This prompts a different kind of response. You’re given a carte blanche, you’re invested with responsibility while also being spoken to as an equal, and if you wear your head, arms, and legs in their proper places, there is no way you can blow it. You’re not being treated as something “half-done”, and that’s a great way to grow.

Maybe I return there, although television is more up the alley I want to walk. Nevertheless, this was a great time, great experience, and in some ways it made me what I am now. Thank you!

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Julia Shuvalova is the author of Los Cuadernos de Julia blog. She is an author of several books, a translator, and a Foreign Languages tutor. She lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

One thought on “The Day of the Radio”

  1. Wow, I am so impressed with your blog – I just came across it, and have gone through WAY more pages than I care to admit. 😉 I love how you styled it in your previous post.

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