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Radio Analysis: West Midlands CTU \ Phil Mackie

November 19, 2010

A cracking radio package from Senior Broadcast Journalist Phil Mackie based up in Birmingham. Amid the sometimes indistinguishable studio-based stuff, two ways and interviews recorded in soundproof booths that seems to make up a lot of Today on Radio 4, Phil’s piece rang out while I waited for the kettle to boil this morning.

I wouldn’t normally get excited about counter-terrorism. But there were a number of key things which grabbed my attention and then held it. Not least the idea that we’re going on a journey to a location that none of us are allowed to know about. It’s a bit 007.

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But there’s a bit more to it than that. I like it because there are a variety of different environments reflected in the piece. First the car door slamming. Next the walking up and down corridors. The sound of the ‘tour-guide’ advising Phil he’d need special training on ‘how to handle information’ was both amusing and scary all at the same time. Then there’s the snatched documentary evidence from the council chambers. The variety of sounds keeps my interest. The script is straightforward.

In short, it’s stuff like this which makes me weep and leaves me thinking one crucial thing about making radio. Like writing, you need to consume the output to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. And this does.


:: Phil Mackie’s tests on LuciLive for iPhone form part of a College of Journalism blog by Sam Upton.

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