Radio Documentaries

NO SUCH THING AS A COINCIDENCE: AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT ALCOCK

In 1978, a young pilot from Melbourne, Frederick Valentich, disappeared while flying over the Bass Strait — a stretch of water that separates the island state of Tasmania from the Australian mainland. Just before disappearing, he reported seeing lights around his plane, and despite a lengthy search over the following days, neither he or the plane were ever recovered.

Because of the sensational nature of this story it went all around the world, attracting media speculation about whether his plane had been whisked away by UFOs. This was late in 1978 — the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind had been released in Australia earlier that year and was still fresh in everyone’s minds.

My friend Robert Alcock, who was about eighteen at this time, developed an ongoing interest in this story.

THAT DR WHO SOUND: DESCENDANTS OF THE RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP

That Dr Who Sound was a radio documentary I made in 2013 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the world’s longest running science-fiction series. It was co-produced with ABC Radio National’s Into the Music program.

Interestingly, I had started this project before even realising the anniversary was coming up: I had initially thought of writing an article about how, over the years, I had noticed many electronic musicians who had been influenced by the sound of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the unit within the BBC that made not only music for Doctor Who, but also most of their radio jingles, sound effects, theme songs, and full soundtrack like that for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Thinking about it as a long blog post, I suddenly realised that this would make a perfect radio documentary; I would be talking about something where I could then play examples of what I was talking about. This would be way better than just an article with youtube embeds!

THE SINISTER LOW NOTE OF JOHN CARPENTER AND ALAN HOWARTH

Filmmaker John Carpenter has become famous also for his music scores. He has influenced an entire scene of music makers. But he never worked in isolation. This interview is with his most important musical collaborator, Alan Howarth. More here!