A pocket computer phone is set to revolutionise newsrooms and newsgathering across BBC Local Radio.
Earlier this year BBC Radio Lincolnshire linked up with the Maastricht-based Technica del Arte to transform a pocket PC phone, the XDA, into a professional recording device capable of sending high quality sound down a mobile phone line or from a wi-fi spot.
After exhaustive testing by Radio Lincolnshire staff for the past six months the pilot scheme has been judged so successful that it is to be rolled out to all BBC radio stations across the UK.
It has also been shortlisted for an international IBC Innovation Award, to be judged at a ceremony in Amsterdam in September. Andy Griffee, BBC Controller of English Regions, said: “This new technology means that journalists are totally self-contained.
“They no longer need to waste time travelling to and from base – they can prepare and broadcast quality radio direct from the scene of the story without going anywhere near a studio, isdn line or mobile transmitter.
“This has revolutionised newsrooms and newsgathering in Lincolnshire, and will do the same across the country.”
The phone can also send pictures for use on web sites and ‘first break’ video footage for television.
Charlie Partridge, Managing Editor, Radio Lincolnshire, said one of the station’s Senior Broadcast Journalists, Andy Roche, first noticed the possibilities of the phone and worked with the company plus Station Engineer Adam Keen and Assistant Editor Andy Farrant to put together the package and develop the software. Charlie said: “This means our journalists now spend less time in the office and more time out in the field producing an average of 50% more audio than using conventional recording devices. “It really has revolutionised newsgathering at the station.
“Another benefit is that everyone has a phone with them at all times – therefore there is potentially much quicker/better response and coverage of any major stories which break.”
Radio Lincolnshire has also provided selected members of the public with the technology, enabling the community to get more involved with the station.
And the technology has been tested by the world famous RAF aerobatic team ? the Red Arrows ? who recorded and sent back more than 30 items for Radio Lincolnshire from pre-season training in mainland Greece and Cyprus and early season displays in the Middle East.