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Listening and learning: The BBC and social history in Northern Ireland

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This article explores the capacity of BBC radio to re-mediate its own output from the past and form part of a wider social history. It takes Northern Ireland as a case study, considering the history of its regional/national institutional, public service status and how this influences production practices for archive-based factual radio. The article focuses on the vision behind, the archive-research and pre-production problems encountered, the editorial thinking during production and reception of 80 Listening Years, an eight-part open slot series made for Radio Ulster in 2004. Written by the series producer, the article also discusses two other significant talk-based radio series, Your Place or Mine? (1989) and Legacy (1999) exemplifying the particular role that such programmes can play in a relatively small, post-conflict society.

Keywords: BBC; Northern Ireland; broadcasting; public service; radio; social history

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jmpr.7.3.187_2

Affiliations: BBC Northern Ireland.

Publication date: March 16, 2007

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  • The Journal of Media Practice is a peer-reviewed publication addressing practical work in media teaching and research. To this end, the editorial board and consultative panels comprise prominent academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines committed to the achievement of academic and professional ends through means centred on practical work.
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