On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to head over to the BBC’s Bush House to watch the live broadcast of World Service’s technology show, Click. Our Imperial tutor, Gareth Mitchell, presents the show, and it was good to finally see him in his element after all of our radio classes!
The topic was a particularly interesting one, and looked at whether access to the internet is a human right. My gut instinct, on hearing that claim, was a simple ‘no, don’t be silly’. However, there is a fairly compelling case to be made that the internet is now a crucial communication channel and that curtailing its access for an individual cuts off a major portion of their right to free speech. The consensus seemed to be that there needs to be a due process and strong justification to take away the internet access of a person or group – a situation that doesn’t currently exist in UK legislature.
More entertaining was watching the mix of professionalism and casualness of those involved. There was a sense of urgency and strong awareness of getting everything done on time, but also a comfortable familiarity with the process. It was all a little disrupted by the presence of the Click TV team, there to record some material about podcasting! They were acting a bit fishy, I must say, but Gareth kept them well in plaice.
The most remarkable aspect of the show is the to-the-second perfection of the timing. The script is practiced in advance, but there are still unscripted sections with studio guests and Gareth and Bill manage to stick almost perfectly to tightly-placed cue points throughout the show. At times there’d be five seconds before a nominated cue point and I thought there was no way to tie up the discussion adequately, then in a flurry of very appropriate words, the show had moved on! Live radio: you need a good team, a good voice, a good story and a perfect appreciation of how long it takes to say things!