Analogue days

On air and on the move: radio stories

Yasemin Bağcı (opens in new window) (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision)

Radio was the first form of media to be used as a worldwide communication network for the masses. Today, despite TV and the internet, radio remains ever-present in daily life. Rob, Dennis and Martin, volunteers at Sound & Vision and passionate radio-makers, tell us about the craft and art of radio during its analogue years.

Early radio: tuning into the world

The beginnings of radio can be seen as a precursor of social media and the ‘Do It Yourself’ movement. In fact, the earliest radios were made by a group of innovation enthusiasts in their homes or other informal settings. It enabled sharing news, information, and stories thereby becoming one the first social networks with an ever growing number of followers. Radio was not only bringing news told by human voices to homes, crossing cities and borders. It also brought people together, either as listeners or as builders and modifiers of radios themselves. Rob de Bie, volunteer at Sound & Vision, talks about how early radios were made and why they were so popular among the masses.

Radio: an emotional experience

Did you know that radio engineers were the ears deciding how the masses would hear the news? Not only were they available 24/7 for the most pressing stories, but they also added flavour to how we received and perceived soundwaves on a daily basis. They controlled the sound quality of the programmes and the emotions generated by the sonic atmosphere. Martin Schuurmans is a retired radio engineer and a volunteer at Sound & Vision. In our video interview, he shares his stories and snippets from his personal archive about radio-making, the passion of a lifetime. Explore why sound engineering is technical and artistic at the same time.

Preserving radio heritage and history

Mixing tables are the heart of radio broadcasting. This is where all the different sources including live recordings, CDs or jingles were mixed to produce one programme. Until the 1980s, mixing tables were custom-made in house by the Dutch broadcasting agencies. In our video, Dennis van Benthem, volunteer at Sound & Vision and technical service manager talks about one of his favourite objects in the collection. It is the earliest disc jockey mixing table made by a factory. It was purchased by the first commercial radio stations in the Netherlands and instantly became a hit in the radio world. Dennis is one of the few people who knows how to operate and preserve this extraordinary piece of equipment. To know more about this special DJ mixing table, watch the episode below.

This blog was written as part of the CRAFTED project, which aimed to enrich and promote traditional and contemporary crafts.