Contested Ground: Producing Documentaries for 'Local' Radio
Stories matter to people and make up our everyday life – they are inherent to what we are. Radio documentaries capture and amplify stories through the medium of sound; a medium which excels at intimacy, venerating the ‘grain’ of the voice. This PhD by Prior Publication contextualises and critically reflects upon a decade of thematically coherent radio production outputs – documentaries that tell stories of intense locality. It examines them in both contexts of production and scheduling tensions, interrogating the methodology of creative practice, in an environment characterised by changes in modes of production. The thesis further examines the editorial and production challenges facing the producer in realising a vision, taking forward the craft skills from the days of analogue into the refined digital tools of the present. The thesis sets out to argue that a decline in local documentaries risks deepening the marginalisation of local voices, proposing instead a new paradigm of distribution; one that problematises the idea of 'the local' and which caters for existing and new communities.
Pat Hannon is a Lecturer in Radio in the School of Media. His creative practice focuses on short features and documentary work for national and local radio. The production outputs associated with his PhD are set in the context of ‘Sea Stories – Lives Touched by the Sea’. Specific productions are about the people and the sea while others are about the people from the town of Bray and communities living close to the sea. His research interests include public service media, podcasting and the challenges for audiences as radio and audio undergo dynamic change. He is the recipient of two national radio awards and in 2014 I was awarded a National Teaching Hero Awards by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.