Sunday, August 27, 2006

Have Belkin Cracked the iPod Recorder?

Apple had crippled earlier iPod version so they could only record audio in dictation quality (8k) depite a nice microphone inside the Belkin iTalk. Now the TuneTalk Stereo claims "CD Quality" for 70 bucks. We like the fact that you can connect an external stereo microphone to the TuneTalk as well. Is this going to be of use to journalists desperate for something to replace the MiniDisc?

It seems this device will be launched at the Apple Paris show on September 12th 2006 and find its way into the retail outlets in Europe towards the end of October. Belkin has no samples before that.

Community Radio - 90% community?

Just posted an article (click link on title above) on the corporate website, which updates previous thoughts on the vital role radio is playing in West Africa. Its going wrong in Congo now because the media commission has no power to stop hate broadcasts. Those second round of elections look like turning into living hell....

This the sort of phone bridges you'll find in many local stations in Africa and Asia

  One of the biggest challenges for small stations is putting phone calls on the air, and balancing the voice in the studio with the voice on the phone. This is the way they do it Porto Novo....mike next to the speakerphone. Posted by Picasa

JK Audio

JK Audio is a US company making two versions of a small telephone hybrid. There are many stations in Africa who want to make use of phone calls from listeners, but make do with putting a microphone next to a speakerphone to put the voice of the caller on the air. This would seem to be a solution, although rather pricy at 150 US dollars. Know of similar, cheaper solutions?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Radio's Important Role Post-Disaster

It is simply amazing how quickly we forget. Hours after the Asian Tsunami on December 26th 2004, the global media were full of amateur videos of the devastation caused to millions of lives across the Indian Ocean. Digital photos of those missing were plastered on noticeboards and ebsites. Sadly, too many became notice boards commemorating those who passed away. And many of the websites that covered the event are now frozen. For many, the Tsunami is tragic but over – and unlikely to happen again.

Actually, natural disasters are definitely going to happen again. A new cycle of more destructive hurricanes began in the Caribbean last year. North , Central and South America will certainly need to be better prepared. It is not if, it is simply a matter of when. Earthquakes too, are not going to go away. I have spent the last year editing a special wiki (with help from Andy Sennitt) which examined how broadcasters reacted to the Tsunami. It reveals a lot of brave efforts, but also a lot of missed opportunies for co-operation between those working for media and development.

We are also definitely not prepared for helping radio stations in the next disaster area - and that could be anywhere in the world.

So what to do? A practical suggestion is sitting on my corporate website.