All around the world, we are at a pivotal stage in broadcasting history. Potentially, we are on the cusp of a Renaissance of broadcasting and a period characterised by the efflorescence of dynamism and creativity and the accelerating cross-fertilisation of ideas. The world is, effectively, our broadcasting oyster.
One of the central areas of future development lies in the relationship between traditional, centralised and consolidated mainstream broadcasting organisations on the one hand and the decentralised, fragmented, vibrant and often underground broadcasting that has proliferated through the internet on the other. A healthy dialogue and flow between the two will help ensure the creation of content that is progressive and that responds to deeper social and cultural transitions and is also backed by significant enough resources to be of first-class quality.
Marshall McLuhan wrote that when people come to a new road, there is a tendency to look back in the rear-view mirror. This is in some ways necessary, although it must be balanced effectively with an awareness of the topography of the new road ahead in order for the perspective to be a healthy, productive and active one. The dangers of merely looking backwards are nostalgia and anachronism. The dangers of merely looking forward are superficiality and lack of substance and lack of awareness of the depths of experience provided by our broadcasting heritage. In the middle of these two there lies an equilibrium point and aversion of the golden mean.
The Forebroadcast Project is, therefore, launched on the basis of this dual approach. In particular, our focus is upon looking back at the broadcasting of the previous decade and looking ahead at how it will change and develop in the next decade. Just as the ancient Roman god Janus was often depicted facing in two opposite directions simultaneously (hence the month of January), so the Forebroadcast project will be composed of a series of interviews with people in broadcasting, the media and the arts, to say goodbye to the past era and usher and welcome in the new one. We hope to predict future trajectories and lay down pathways that will crystallise in the coming years. As well as this dual approach, we aim as well to concoct a healthy balance of voices from those who are already well established in the fields of broadcasting, media and the arts and also those whose voices and careers are currently emerging and will flower and flourish over the course of the next decade and beyond.
One of the major questions that has arisen as a result of the explosion of content that has accompanied the mass dissemination of the internet has been that of concentration spans. The way that the Forebroadcast project will be structured is that it will feature two different versions of interviews. The first version will be the longer one, featuring interviews of approximately one hour in length. These will then be condensed and edited down to alternative five minute versions that pick out the central elements of the interview. As the project progresses, these different versions will both be available online. There will also be space for discussion and for interaction. Those who engage with the project will, therefore, be free to choose at what level of depth they participate and at what level of activity.
Forebroadcast is the first major project of the newly formed Devereux & Onians Productions, created in Cambridge, Great Britain, 2010. The emphasis in the project is not upon our own personal views but upon those of our interviewees. In terms of interviewing technique, one of our exemplars is an interview such as the 1982 Las Vegas interview with Orson Welles for the BBC "Arena" arts programme, which placed the emphasis firmly upon Orson Welles as the interviewee and his opinions rather than that of the interviewers. Another inspiration comes from the stellar interviewing style of Bazooka Joe at the Small World Podcast. Another exemplar is, of course, Michael Parkinson.