Sound of a stream is mu­sic to the ears of Dart­moor ra­dio lis­ten­ers

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Tony Diver

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

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