Sound of a stream is music to the ears of Dartmoor radio listeners
A NEW radio station has launched with no big hits, presenters or news – just the sounds of Dartmoor.
Skylark will air a “soundscape” from the area, by mixing together noises of local people and wildlife from the moor and playing them in a random order on the airwaves.
Listeners will hear different sounds as the time of day, weather and seasons change, either pre-recorded in workshops by local schools and community groups, or broadcast live from “listening points” around the national park.
The station plans to establish a number of community studios that local people can visit to record themselves. Output is expected to be divided between musical performances, speech and drama, and “other” sounds, such as a recording of a running river. “A radio station can be an artwork,” Lucinda Guy, the station’s project manager, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We are creating an artwork that is made by everybody in the community. The idea is not just to think about the listeners but to think about how people are involved, which is what community radio is all about.”
Although the clips will be used more than once, Skylark plans to overlap and fade them into each other, mixing the raw noises into new sounds.
A licence, necessary to publicly broadcast in the UK, was granted by Ofcom last month on the basis that “the proposed service would quite clearly broaden radio choice in the area”.
Ofcom said that the “social-gain objectives” of the station, to benefit south Dartmoor’s community, would be aided by partnerships made between the founders and local clubs and societies.
The new station is reminiscent of the “slow TV” phenomenon, originally developed in Norway, which replaces flashy shows with calm scenes and background sounds. Last year, BBC Four picked up nearly a million viewers for All Aboard! The Country Bus, a programme of footage from the front of a local bus in the Yorkshire Dales, without any commentary or music.
Presenters Chris Harris and Eddie Jordan escaped injury after their high-performance sports car burst into flames during filming for the BBC’s Top Gear. Harris was at the wheel of the £50,000 car for the Monte Carlo Rally.
Wild scenery, local people and nature will be the moorland soundscape of Skylark