March 13, 2012:
With deep sadness, we mark the passing of a great soul this week. Lanier Phillips was a true hero for our times, an extraordinary human being who combined courage, strength, dignity, and a rare humility. His life was an inspiration for many.
A decade ago, we created a feature radio documentary about his life (SURVIVOR). You may have heard it back then on This American Life, Radio Netherlands, NPR, SoundPrint, or CBC Radio. This weekend, CBC Sunday Edition is rebroadcasting that documentary in their 3rd hour. If you are not familiar with his truly inspiring story, you might like to tune in. The Sunday Edition is heard across Canada and parts of the United States at 9.10 am EDT (9.40 NL time).
South of the border, SoundPrint will also rebroadcast the documentary.
The world is so much the poorer for Lanier's passing, but he has left us a legacy of courage, dignity, principled strength, and rare humility. May we strive to live up to his example.
Lanier died on March 12th, two days short of his 89th birthday. He will be bid farewell on Saturday at Union Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Georgia.
May he rest in peace.
June 20, 2011 New York:
The NewYork Festivals have awarded the 2011 Gold World Medal for Environmental Documentary to the Battery Radio production Bones of the Earth.
The Bones of the Earth was produced for Parks Canada. It explores one of the 20th century’s great scientific revolutions: the theory of plate tectonics, via the geology of Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne Park holds UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for its role in affirming the theory of plate tectonics. Original music and sound design are based on field sound recordings made in the Park.
Production by Paolo Pietropaolo and Chris Brookes.
The feature is designed for internet presentation as well as for in-car listening on CD while driving through the Park. A shorter version of the feature was broadcast on CBC Radio’s IDEAS series last month.
May 15, 2011 Hvar, Croatia:
The Annotated Jack has been awarded the 2011 Prix Maruliç 2nd prize for documentary.
The Annotated Jack romps through a tale of two "Jacks." One is the hero of traditional folktales; the other is a retired fisherman passing the time in his fishing stage spinning tales of his youth. The documentary weaves together the real and the mythical Jack, and considers the role that stories play in accompanying us through life and into retirement.
The 42-minute feature was recorded August 2009 and produced by Battery Radio’s Chris Brookes for Radio Telefis Eirann in Dublin.
March 21, 2011 St. John's, Newfoundland:
The [HERE]SAY Story Map of Water Street has been named a winner of the 2011 Manning Award for Excellence in the Public Presentation of Historic Places. The Story Map of Water Street is an audio documentary street installation featuring personal stories set in specific locations in downtown St. John's. Passers-by can listen to the audio using their cellphones.
The Manning Award for Excellence recognizes community heritage projects and the work of heritage champions. It is named for the late Bill Manning, a former Parks Canada Superintendent of Newfoundland and Labrador National Historic Sites. Manning realized that the preservation and presentation of our heritage requires the involvement of people in the community.
Battery Radio is pleased to be one of the sponsors of this project. Congratulatons to the [HERE]SAY team of Dale Jarvis, Mike Mouland and Chris Brookes.
August 13, 2010 New York:
The NewYork Festivals have cited two Battery Radio productions for their 2010 World Medal awards.
The Annotated Jack has won the Silver World Medal n the Community Portraits category, and Abraham's Diary has been named a finalist in the category of Human Relations.
The Annotated Jack romps through a tale of two "Jacks." One is the hero of traditional folktales; the other is a retired fisherman passing the time in his fishing stage spinning tales of his youth. The documentary weaves together the real and the mythical Jack, and considers the role that stories play in accompanying us through life and into retirement. In the end, as the story goes: "if they don't live happily ever after, then may all of ye"
The 42-minute feature was recorded August 2009 and produced by Battery Radio’s Chris Brookes for Radio Telefis Eirann in Dublin.
Abraham's Diary is based on the 1880 journey of two Labrador Inuit families to Europe, where they were exhibited in zoos.
June 23, 2010 Point Amour, Labrador:
Between the Wind and the Wave, a new CD featuring songs and stories of the Labrador Straits, produced by Battery Radio, launches at 2 pm at theHeritage Research Centre, Point Amour, Labrador.
March 2010: Twinestore rescue, St. John's Newfoundland:
Jack's twinestore, the setting for our documentary heard on RTE last year, has been seriously damaged by a winter storm. Neighbours have mounted a fundraising drive to help rebuild the heritage building.
Battery Radio is donating its broadcast license fee to the fund. You can help.
March 2010: Hot off the press by UNC Press: REALITY RADIO - an audio documentarists handbook.
Chapters by Jay Allison, Ira Glass,Alan Hall, Sherre DeLys, The Kitchen Sisters and others.
October 16, 2009 Berlin: Battery Radio/Falling Tree feature to open Prix Europa
The award-winning Battery Radio-Falling Tree coproduction HARK! (the Acoustic World of Elizabethan England) has been chosen to open the 2009 Prix Europa Festival in Berlin. The feature will kick off the Radio screenings on Sunday October 16th.
Sept 25, 2009 Turin, Italy:
THE NERVE -- a six-hour series coproduced for CBC Radio by Chris Brookes, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Jowi Taylor, is on the shortlist for the 2009 Prix Italia. THE NERVE EPISODE ONE is one of 3 finalists for best Work on Music. Final results for the 2009 Prix Italia will be announced at the Turin gala September 26th.
The Prix Italia has been called "the Booker Prize of radio", and is the world's oldest international radio, television and web competition. It was founded by the Italian public radio broadcaster RAI in 1948.
What the Judges said: "The Program offers essential questions of musical reception in an original way, and leads the listeners to the roots of music perception. It combines scientific information with entertainment and amazing radio phonic elements. The authors achieved a gradual development of tension through careful choice of musical material."
July 6, 2009 New York:
The feature HARK! - the Acoustic World of Elizabethan England has received the Grand Award at the International Radio Festival of New York. The award is given to the production that judges vote "best of festival" across all categories. The program also won the Gold World Medal for Best Sound.
Tracking down some ancient sounds that still exist, evoking others which have become extinct, the documentary is an acoustic film building a soundtrack to imagine the noises of Elizabethan society through the ears of those who listened four centuries ago.
The 52-minute feature was recorded and produced by Chris Brookes, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Alan Hall, with additional recording by Katie Birningham.
The program was produced in cooperation with London's FallingTree Productions and broadcast last year in Canada by CBC Radio, with a U.K. version by FallingTree Productions on BBC Radio 3. It has also been heard in Finland, with German and Australian broadcasts forthcoming. The feature can be heard here.
In addition, THE NERVE -- a six-hour series created for CBC Radio by Chris Brookes, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Jowi Taylor, won 2 Silver World Medals for Best Editing and Best Cultural program.
All six episodes of THE NERVE can be heard here.
June 19, 2009 St. John's, Newfoundland:
Battery Radio is pleased to be a sponsor of the HERESAY Story Map of Water Street, an audio documentary street installation featuring personal stories set in specific locations in downtown St. John's. Passers-by can listen to the audio using their cellphones.
May 23, 2009 Hvar, Croatia:
Hark! - the acoustic world of Elizabethan England has been awarded the 2009 Prix Maruliç for documentary.
HARK! investigates the acoustic world of Early Modern England. Tracking down some ancient sounds that still exist, evoking others which have become extinct, the documentary builds a soundtrack to imagine the noises of Elizabethan society through the ears of those who listened four centuries ago.
The judges said:
"Sound is used not just to illustrate but to bring new dimensions, to tell new stories to the listener. The programme does not create a realistic soundscape of Elizabethan time, but it gives hints about that in a clever and amusing way. You can even smell the sounds of the pigs! The listener is encouraged, forced even, to think of the soundtrack of today, the noise pollution which surrounds us every moment."
The 52-minute feature was recorded and produced by Chris Brookes, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Alan Hall, with additional recording by Katie Birningham. It was produced in cooperation with FallingTree Productions and broadcast last year in Canada by CBC Radio, with a U.K. version by FallingTree Productions on BBC Radio 3.
The Prix Maruliç is an international festival dedicated to radio programs based on the world's cultural heritage. The 2009 festival screened 47 programs representing 28 broadcasting organisations ranging from Germany and Poland to Australia and Japan.
Chris Brookes is named recipient of the at the 2008 3rd Coast International Audio Festival Audio Luminary award
June 19, 2008 New York:
The soundscape "Invisible Cities-Toronto" receives the gold World Medal for best editing at the International Radio Festival of New York.
CITIES-Toronto is an impressionistic sound portrait of the city of Toronto coproduced by CBC's Paolo Pietropaolo and Jowi Taylor with Battery Radio’s Chris Brookes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The sonic composition celebrates the acoustic layers of the city of Toronto. Focusing on sounds that are lost in the din of contemporary life, and using the sounds of nature, industry, language, culture and music this "acoustic film" achieves a sonic shortcut to intimacy with the city.
The program was broadcast on CBC Radio's "IDEAS" series on May 18th, 2007.
May 30, 2008 St. John's:
Lanier Phillips, survivor of the 1942 wreck of the USS Truxton near St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, and well-known U.S. civil rights advocate, received the degree of doctor of laws at Memorial University's spring convocation.
The university announcement stated:
Mr. Phillips joined the United States Navy in 1941, when he was 18-years-old, and was on board the USS Truxton when it ran aground near St. Lawrence on Feb. 18, 1942. He was the only African-American to escape his ship; other black sailors who served with him stayed on board, fearing they would be ill treated by the locals and hoping they would be rescued by the U.S. Navy. From a crew of 156, Mr. Phillips was one of only 46 survivors. He and other sailors were rescued by the people of St. Lawrence, and Phillips was terrified that he would be lynched. Instead he was taken into a local home, put to bed and cared for by white people. This experience left Mr. Phillips with a new outlook on life, having been treated with dignity and full respect for the first time in his young life.
Though segregationist policies were still alive when he returned to the U.S., Mr. Phillips was no longer prepared to be repressed by them. Despite discouragement and discrimination, he was accepted, trained and became the first African-American sonar technician. He became involved in the American civil rights movement and marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King. Mr. Phillips has since shared his life story with students of all ages. He still carries with him the lessons he learned some 64 years ago in the small town of St. Lawrence.
For his resistance to and capacity to rise above repression, Lanier Phillips will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation on May 30.
Audiofile raves about Coasting Trade, an audiobook produced by Battery Radio for Rattling Books.
"In a performance of less than an hour, producer Chris Brookes and poet Robin McGrath transport the listener to a Yankee schooner circling Newfoundland in the late nineteenth century. The production, a Canadian tapestry for the ears, is beautifully embellished with sound effects that capture the waves, ship sounds, and local fauna. Robert Joy, Rick Boland, and Anita Best bring a lyrical beauty to this "Performance for Three Voices."
"McGrath provides fleeting glimpses into the lives of an immigrant, a biologist, a smuggler, and Newfoundland locals scratching a life out of the rugged terrain. The short performance is superb, with the rich voices of Joy, Boland, and Best meshing into a melody against the harmony of background sounds. "
Rattling Books "Literature to Listen to" is a Newfoundland-based publisher of fine audio books.
What We Might Have Been remembers a tragic battlefield loss on July 1, 1916 that ended the dreams of a nation. A historical documentary produced for CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle of Beaumont Hamel, the program recreates the "war to end all wars", when the independent nation of Newfoundland raised a regiment to fight for Britain in World War One, when the Regiment was virtually wiped out on July 1, 1916 in France, and when the repercussions of that loss later catapulted Newfoundland into losing its independence and becoming a province of Canada.
Both Sides Now was produced for CBC Radio Music, and first broadcast as a 2-hour network special on January 27, 2007. The documentary chronicles the great Canadian composer's career, art and music. It was recorded and produced by Chris Brookes with assistance from Katherine Welbourn and CBC Radio Archives.
What We Might Have Been was comissioned by CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador, and first broadcast as a 5-part daily series on CBC's ON THE GO program in June 2006. It was recorded and coproduced for the CBC by Battery Radio's Chris Brookes and CBC's Curtis Rumbolt. The version cited by the New York Festival is a 54-minute feature broadcast by CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador's PERFORMANCE HOUR on July 1, 2006.
A historical documentary produced for CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle of Beaumont Hamel, What We Might Have Been was broadcast as a 5-part daily series on CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador's ON THE GO program in June 2006. It was recorded and coproduced for the CBC by Chris Brookes and Curtis Rumbolt. The version cited by the AJAs is a 54-minute feature broadcast by CBC Radio Nfld & Labrador's PERFORMANCE HOUR on July 1, 2006.
The Wire is an 8-part music documentary series coproduced by CBC's Paolo Pietropaolo and Jowi Taylor with Battery Radio’s Chris Brookes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005. The series explores the effect of electricity on music, and won the Peabody Award earlier this year (see April 5 news for details and audio)
The series explores the effect of electricity on music. Production was trans-continental via internet file transfer between St. John’s, Vancouver and Toronto. The series was first broadcast on CBC Radio One in February and March 2005 with a CBC Radio Two rebroadcast during July and August 2005, and has been rebroadcast several times since. It has also been heard in Australia on ABC's Concert FM.
Jurors described it as "an entertaining, multi-layered.. vivid, well-paced and perfectly mixed documentary that subliminally discusses the loss of tradition and its hope for survival"
The Battery Radio program is an acoustic film based on a traditional Newfoundland set dance. It was written and recorded by Chris Brookes, and features the voices of Newfoundland singer Anita Best, folklorist Tonya Kierley, fisherman Cyril Whitten, and the late dancer Mercedes Barry amongst others.
The Prix Maruliç is an international festival dedicated to radio programs based on the world's cultural heritage. The annual week-long event takes place on the Adriatic island of Hvar, and this year screened entries from China, Australia, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Macedonia and Canada as well as Newfoundland and host country Croatia.
RUNNING THE GOAT shares the 2006 Prix Maruliç documentary prize with the German docunentary feature "Extraordinary. Stille. Ce soir" by Jean-Claude Kuner.
THE WIRE is an eight-part series exploring the effect of electricity on music. It was coproduced by Battery Radio's Brookes with CBC's Pietropaolo and Taylor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005. Production was trans-continental via internet file transfer between St. John’s, Vancouver and Toronto. The series was first broadcast on CBC Radio One in February and March 2005 with a CBC Radio Two rebroadcast during July and August 2005. It has also been heard throughout Australia on ABC's Concert FM.
The U.S. Peabody Awards were founded in 1940 “to establish a Pulitzer Prize for radio.” Today they recognise programming excellence in both radio and televison. Referring to the series as “ear-opening...audio dynamite”, the Peabody jury said “...this consistently surprising eight-part radio series explores how electricity changed -- and con tinues to change -- how we hear music, how we play it, even what we think it is or can be.”
The Peabody award will be presented June 5 in New York by Jon Stewart, anchor of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
THE WIRE (episode 5) received the Directors Choice award.
The Wire is an 8-part music documentary series coproduced by Battery Radio’s Chris Brookes with Paolo Pietropaolo and Jowi Taylor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The series explores the effect of electricity on music.
The Wire can currently be heard in Canada every Sunday at 4.30 Nfld time until Christmas on CBC Radio Two. Episode 2 of the series, to be heard this Sunday (Oct 30) won the prestigious Prix Italia last month in Milan. The 3rd Coast award-winning episode (#5) will be broadcast November 20th. Check the series website for complete interviews, timelines and background information.
A MAP OF THE SEA, produced by Battery Radio for Homelands Productions USA claimed the second 3rd Coast award.
Written by Chris Brookes and edited by Homelands' Jon Miller, the documentary examines cultural change in Newfoundland resulting from the cod fishery collapse. It was broadcast throughout the United States in January by the program Living on Earth. and is part of the Homelands Worlds of Difference series exploring the effect of global change on societies.
The Third Coast International Audio Festival Competition honors creative and compelling documentary work being produced worldwide.
THE WIRE is an eight-part series exploring the effect of electricity on music. It was coproduced by Battery Radio's Brookes with CBC's Pietropaolo and Taylor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year. Production was trans-continental via internet file transfer between St. John’s, Vancouver and Toronto. The series was first broadcast on CBC Radio One in February and March 2005 with a CBC Radio Two rebroadcast during July and August 2005.
The series episode honoured by the Prix Italia is Part 2: The Change of the Sound.
The Prix Italia has been called"the Booker Prize of radio", and is the world's oldest international radio, television and web competition. Founded by the Italian public radio broadcaster RAI in Capri in 1948, this year's festival is its 57th edition.
In explaining their decision, the Prix Italia jury said:
"The Jury chose this program because it succeeded against all the odds in educating and entertaining the listener in a very lively, engaging and sophisticated way. The production employs specific audio techniques that reflect the very development in the history of sound recording and post production explored in the broadcast. It also applauded a musical plot that embraced everything from Karlheinz Stokhausen to the Beatles."
The documentary has also been selected to receive the United Nations Award, which honours programming that best exemplifies the aims and ideals of the United Nations. The award was presented in New York by UN Public Information Director Raymond Sommereyns.
The 30-minute feature was produced for Radio Netherlands and broadcast last year by Radio Netherlands Vox Humana. It was written and recorded by Chris Brookes. It competed in the global competition which attracted over 500 entries from 32 countries.
TRAVELLING LIGHT examines the incredible 4000-mile journey of the Monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico. The spectacular annual flight of this tiny insect has captured the imagination of poets, scientists and schoolchildren alike, but it is now threatened by environmental destruction in Mexico, United States, and Canada. In the program, scientists discuss the mystery of the butterfly's navigational abilities and stress the ecological and cultural value of the unique migration.
The New York announcement comes on the heels of last month’s success which saw the Newfoundland independent radio production house score three national and international awards. Last month in Hvar, Croatia, a Battery-produced radio feature was named winner of the international Prix Marulic prize. Also in May, the company’s documentaries won the CAJ Canadian Association of Journalists and the AJA Atlantic Journalism awards in Canada.
The CAJ, Canada's only national professional organization for reporters, editors, producers and photographers, announced the winners of the annual CAJ Awards for Investigative Journalism on Saturday at the association's annual national conference in Winnipeg. The CAJ Awards are Canada's only recognition for the best investigative journalism across the country.
THE MAN WHO SANG GOODBYE is a historical detective story which tracks the trail of a musician named Omar Blondahl. Once a star of radio and television with over a dozen record albums to his credit, Omar Blondahl was a household name in Newfoundland and maritime Canada 40 years ago. Folklorists and musicologists today give him credit for rescuing many traditional songs from oblivion and for creating the modern canon of Newfoundland folksong. At the peak of his career he suddenly disappeared. Most people (including his family) had no idea where he went. Beginning with genealogical records in Reykjavik and ending with an old man and a box of mementos in a Vancouver apartment, the documentary explores the performer's music as it tries to solve the riddle of his life.
The 53-minute feature was written by Chris Brookes and broadcast by CBC Radio Newfoundland and Labrador's regional PERFORMANCE HOUR.
The winning program is a 43-minute radio feature that explores the ancient 6th-century Chronicle of St. Brendan in a Newfoundland soundscape, using contemporary sounds and voices. Part whimsy, part serious, it takes the Proustian view that memories are embodied in physical objects and sets out to find traces of St. Brendan’s paradise in present-day reality.
The production features Newfoundland performer Berni Stapleton, writers Wayne Johnston and Tim Severin, and the work of Newfoundland model-maker Peter Picco as well as the voices of Newfoundlanders in St. John's, Ferryland, Paradise and St. Brendan's. It was recorded in Ireland and Newfoundland, and was part of a project assisted by the Ireland-Nfld partnership organisation.
The program was written by Chris Brookes, and broadcast by Radio Telefis-Eirann RTE in Ireland.
The Prix Maruliç is an annual festival dedicated to radio programs based on the world's literary heritage.
The 100-minute historical series marked the 70th anniversary of an unprecedented event in world history. In February 1934 Newfoundland became the only country ever to voluntarily relinquish elective democracy. The national legislature closed for 16 years and never reopened (from then until becoming a Canadian province in 1949 the country was governed by British-appointed bureaucrats). The two-year period 1932-34 in St. John's pre-destined the next quarter-century of Newfoundland's political history. Looking back at those events today is like "reading the tea leaves" for sea-changes which later happened to a people's sovereignty and national character, to how others would come to view them and how they would come to see themselves.
The radio series featured the voices of: historians James Hiller, Peter Neary, Gene Long, and John Fitzgerald; witnesses to the era Helen Whiteway, Bert Sparkes, Bill Coady, Paul O'Neill; and performers: Brian Hennessey, Robert Chafe, Aidan Flynn, and Ivan Morgan. Tne series was written and recorded by Chris Brookes. It received a repeat broadcast on CBC ON THE GO during March 2005.
The 24th annual Atlantic Journalism Awards celebrate excellence in Atlantic Canadian media. Awards were presented in 23 categories. The Battery Radio Not Fot For It series won the Gold Award for Radio Feature Writing.