Named after the producer of the famous series of Radio Ballads, the Charles Parker Day takes place each year in a different city and on Friday 7 April 2017 we were in Sheffield, at Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Union.
In 2017 we celebrated 50 years of Local Radio with Michael Barton, the first manager of BBC Radio Sheffield (the second station to come on air) – he went on to become Controller of BBC Local Radio – who was in conversation with BBC Radio Sheffield’s Rony Robinson. We heard about features and documentaries from the early days of Local Radio including features made about the city of Sheffield with producers Sarah Blunt from the BBC Natural History Unit, Clare Jenkins and Frances Byrne.
Professor Sean Street, the founder of the Charles Parker Day, reflected on the importance of sound in making us who we are as humans; producer John Leonard and musicians John Tams and Barry Coope demonstrated the making of their original BBC Radio 2 Radio Ballad ‘The Song of Steel’ – reconstructing part of the programme before our very eyes and ears; and Nina Garthwaite (In The Dark Radio) advocated for collective radio listening.
We also celebrated the work of student feature makers throughout the UK when Simon Elmes announced the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards for the Charles Parker Prize 2017.
The Charles Parker Day 2017 was supported by: