Broadcasting has played a significant role in the Social Haunting work, for which Max Munday was commissioned in all three projects. He has collected audio data through recording at the Ghost Labs, public-facing activities, academic conferences as well as conducted interviews with participants, creative practitioners and researchers.
From the position of close, deep listening within the projects, 2 radio documentaries have been produced and then broadcast in the UK and internationally, taking the Social Haunting work to over one hundred thousand people.
A further programme exploring overseas’ listeners’ responses to our research is due to air in the UK in February 2018.
UK COMMUNITY BROADCASTING AS PART OF 'WORKING WITH SOCIAL HAUNTING'
SOCIAL HAUNTING: TALKING TO THE GHOSTS OF OUR PAST
Max Munday: recorded, produced and presented; Liaison with UK community stations.
The first radio documentary was broadcast in January 2016, and was the end result of recordings from the Ghost Labs of Barnsley, Rochdale and Manchester during the ‘Working with Social Haunting’ project.
Stations were chosen in the regions of the research project, Lancashire and South Yorkshire:
l Crescent Community Radio, Rochdale http://www.crescentradio.net/
l Sheffield Live! www.sheffieldlive.org
l Sine FM, Doncaster http://sinefm.com/
Potential reach and estimated listener numbers
Crescent Radio - unknown; 3-5,000
Sheffield Live! - 295,000; 32,000
Sine FM - 116,000; unknown
Online listeners to documentary via SoundCloud: 320
RECORDING AND PRODUCING MEDIA IN THE 'OPENING THE 'UNCLOSED SPACE' PROJECT
During the second project, Max Munday recorded all public-facing events and Ghost Labs: in North Staffordshire and London. Using social media platforms - particularly Facebook and Twitter - channels were established to allow for interaction between the different participating communities and members of the research team and public at the Utopia Fair 2016.
A selection of short films were made by Max Munday for, and after, the Utopia Fair. These can be watched alongside content from the ‘Song Lines’ project by Ribbon Road and Steve Pool here
These brought excerpts of conversation and interviews together from different communities within the current and previous projects, in to a sort-of dialogue, with the hope that this would contribute to both the utopic focus of the project, and its aims to draw together seemingly disparate intergenerational communities.
INTERNATIONAL INTERACTIVE RADIO EXCHANGE AS PART OF ‘SONG LINES TO IMPACT & LEGACY’
'SONGLINES & SOCIAL HAUNTING'
Max Munday: recorded, produced and presented; Co-ordination of international radio partners and individual overseas and UK community stations.
The documentary featured excerpts from Ghost Labs and Ribbon Road’s songs, an explanation of the concept of ‘social haunting’ and of the Ghost Labs, a socio-economic and political background to the communities involved in the UK project, and questions through which to reflect on the work’s resonance in the listeners’ local context.
Considering the process of putting the international work together, Max said, “There were lots of ethical and practical issues involved in making this, in particular around how to balance the need for editorial decisions with losing the rich complexity of the research, or prematurely drawing firm conclusions.
There was the difficult question of how co-production would work across languages, across unknown levels of prior knowledge about our participating communities, and without knowing how (or whether) listeners would respond. Plus, money was involved (a fee to the international station plus extra for translation) and a co-ordinating role for an international NGO, with the status and power imbalance that come with a financial aspect.”
Stations were selected in consultation with World Association of Community Broadcasters and Sheffield Live! our partners in this aspect of the work. Following initial arrangements with radio stations in a variety of countries, some of which were not able to go ahead as planned, the radio documentary was broadcast by the following:
l Bembeke Radio, Dedza, Malawi
l Civil Radio, Budapest, Hungary
l Gombrek FM in Sidokerto-Jombang, East Java, Indonesia
l Radio Dzimwe, Monkey Bay, Malawi
l Radio Student, Ljubljana, Slovenia
l WMMT FM, Whitesburg, Kentucy, USA
Listeners (estimated): 100,000-200,000 in total.
SoundCloud listeners (in addition to the stations’ online listenership): 90
There are not clear figures for all stations and calculating listener numbers is notoriously difficult, but as an example, Civil Radio says it has a potential reach across Budapest to the city’s 2 million population and believes its average daily audience is 20-25,000.
Radio Dzimwe says it has FM coverage over 150km and 3.2 million people in that area.
Civil Radio in Budapest is a well established community radio. They broadcast the ‘Songlines and Social Haunting’ documentary in November 2017, and sought to overcome listener reticence by organising a focus group to reflect on our work. Akos Cserhati, compiled and edited the responses and provided some background:
The radio documentary was broadcast on Gombrek FM in Sidokerto-Jombang, East Java at the end of January 2018 and our exchange was facilitated by Jaringan Radio Komunitas - Demokrasi. The station organised a group of listeners to come together to discuss the programme. In contrast to the decline in industry that frames the UK research, these listeners discuss the industrialisation of their country and significant issues of local people’s relationship to each other and to nature in this context.
Bembeke community radio station is based in Dedza, in southern Malawi. In one programme, a prominent Malawian journalist was interviewed to discuss issues of press freedom, and how that has changed over time, and how it could improve.
Listening clubs are quite common ways in which members of the community in parts of Africa listen and digest community radio programming. In this case, the club was made up of members of different Village Natural Resources Centres who discussed deforestation and environmental damage, and were interviewed by Bembeke FM’s Grace Njoka.
Based in Monkey Bay, Mongachi, in the Southern region of Malawi, Radio Dzimwe and its presenter Tony Gonani were very active partners who found multiple ways to engage the station’s listeners with our work.
Listen to excerpts from the following programmes on Radio Dzimwe: ‘Songlines and Social Haunting’ documentary translated in to Chichewa; phone-in to discuss the documentary; interview with ‘Civil Society Historian’; Listener club.
The following are transcripts from the different methods that were used.
Listener club (credit: Tony Gonani)
Radio Student, Ljubljana
Two pieces of written feedback were received from Radio Student, both of which addressed the contested legacy of state socialism in the former Yugoslavia, and how they conceptualise community.
WMMT FM, Kentucky
The station broadcast the ‘Songlines and Social Haunting’ documentary in January 2018 on the ‘Mountain Talk’ programme with two accompanying interviews: one from project PI Geoff Bright to explain the background and methods of our work, and the other from Dr Wayne Coombs.
You can listen to the whole programme via the presenter Mimi Pickering’s ‘Making Connections News’ site
Dr Wayne Coombs is a psychologist with a specialism in substance abuse, he spoke to Mimi Pickering of WMMT FM, a community radio station that broadcasts from Whitesburg in eastern Kentucky across the tri-state area of this central Appalachian region. Dr Coombs spoke about ‘industrial colonisation’, historical trauma and addiction and what similarities there might be to our research on Social Haunting.
“Knowing that the radio documentary would be being translated in to several different languages and not assuming prior knowledge of our UK communities’ socio-economic and political background among international listeners proved a challenge. However, I was very pleased to hear and read thoughtful responses, covering a wide variety of issues from concerns around deforestation and changing cultural mores in Malawi, to the lingering potential threat (as well as utopian possibilities) from the history of state Socialism in Slovenia.
The way listeners engaged with the programme was also very interesting: individuals at home, work and travelling; a station-organised focus groups; analysis from a range of interested specialists - a psychologist, a campaigning journalist, a ‘civil society historian’; and in Malawi, participants in ‘listening clubs’ who sat together to hear the Chichewa-translated documentary and then discussed the themes in relation to the environmental and social issues their communities faced.” Max Munday
‘International Songlines and Social Haunting’
Max Munday: recorded, produced and presented; with additional voiceovers from Patrick Low and Rachel Taylor.
Broadcast on UK community radio stations, Sheffield Live and Sine FM in May 2018.
This second of two radio documentaries for the 2017 project, ‘International Songlines and Social Haunting’ presents listeners’ responses to our UK research from community radio stations across the world. This follow-up programme aims to complete the international exchange of ‘living knowledge’ and includes contributions from Hungary, Indonesia, Malawi, Slovenia and the United States.
However, the conversations and exchanges continue with listeners notably in Kentucky, Budapest and Ljubljana remaining in contact with the team and keen to engage with the next steps of any future work related to the ‘social haunting’ research.
The international radio aspect relied on effective partnership working with a range of community broadcasters and organisations that promote and support them. Thanks go to our partners: Steve Buckley of Sheffield Live, and Francesco Diasio, Secretary General of the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC).
Special thanks go to the community radio stations, their presenters and staff, and of course, their listeners. I liaised directly with the following and am very grateful for their hard work on this collaboration:
Tony Gonani, Radio Dzimwe;
Grace Njoka, Bembeke FM;
Jernej Kaluza, Radio Student;
Akos Cserhati, Civil Radio;
Mimi Pickering, WMMT/Appalshop.
The teams at Gombrek FM and Jaringan Radio Komunitas - Demokrasi
BANNER IMAGE: LISTENING CLUB (CREDIT CARL JOYCE)