This week, we were tasked with bringing in our own radio documentaries. I brought in Radio 4’s Cricket Cabaret and Dave brought in Radio 6 Music’s First Time with Trent Reznor for us to listen to.
Radio 4: Cricket Cabaret
Cricket Cabaret took a rather unique and experimental approach in how it uses sound and music. The fifteen minute documentary is composed electronically using the natural sounds of crickets, sound effects and human voices. As a result, there was quite a performative and poetic feel to the piece, especially through the use of human voices echoing the sounds of the crickets.
The noise of the crickets is ever present, yet without being irritating. Perhaps this is in some part due to how backed with the sounds of string instruments, giving it an orchestral quality.
This ‘music’ of the crickets is intercut with interviews. Split idents are once again used to introduce interviewees, and the interviewees bring a light-hearted and humorous approach to the subject matter.
One again, the audience are blind to visuals. But as Starkey and Crisell (2009, p.103) suggest, “a disadvantage becomes an advantage” as what cannot be seen must be imagined, a “pleasurably private and idiosyncratic activity.” So, sound is used to paint a picture that the audience can visualise in their minds. For example, when they describe the mole crickets, it is not so much an accurate and anatomically correct description, but in a way that we can more easily imagine what they must look like, and when they talk of crickets leaping into the air, the music seems to echo this.
Radio 6 Music: Matt Everitt’s The First Time with Trent Reznor
This particular documentary is very music centric, using both music clips and full music tracks, something music audiences would be familiar with and would expect. The music intercuts an in-depth interview with Trent Rezor by Matt Everitt, where they discuss Trent’s ‘firsts’, and has a relaxed and conversational style, giving it the feel of a magazine feature. The musical tracks selected build on and illustrate issues raised in the interview, as well as being very evocative of that musical era.
Starkey, G., and Crisell, A., 2009. Radio Journalism. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.