Information, Opinion, Provocation

The Radio Feature of the Nineties
From a lecture, delivered during Radio Forum Day, Prix Italia, June 26th 1996

In the golden radio days of Orson Welles & Co radio still was a mass-medium, good enough to sell "Campbell's Soup", "Lady Esther Face Cream", "Cresta Blanca" wine, "Blue Ribbon" beer or United States Defence Bonds.

During a few years, after "the feature" had been brought to Germany as a gift of our British liberators - and as a means of "re-education" - this genre played a genuine part within the mass medium radio. "Radio feature" was considered to be just "good radio". Nobody outside the broadcasting stations cared for the category "feature" and what it meant to the feature-makers.

Like in the laboratories of nuclear scientists, discoveries and professional revolutions were the daily job of radio makers, immediately to be converted into programmes for his majesty, THE LISTENER. Just take the most important after-war-revolution in the field of the radio feature, initiated and conducted by Peter Leonhard Braun at SENDER FREIES BERLIN, Germany.

As a result of new technologies for the daily use in radio documentary - such as movable stereo recording devices - P. L. Braun not only changed our working techniques but even our whole attitude towards feature making. From now on "in the beginning" there wasn't "the word" - but sound. We used to call it (and still we do) "the emancipation of original sound".

Listeners became ear-witnesses. Sound was put into it's own rights. This wonder happened with some of Braun's famous, then