Online broadcasting is becoming popular in Ukraine, where people listen with pleasure to informative programs on the Internet. In particular, audio blogging has been developing actively in Ukraine. Olha Vesnianka, a human rights activist, independent coach who cooperates with Deutsche Welle, is running an audio blog on the Channel of Civic Podcasting (cpod.co). Olha used amazing practical examples to explain how to create an audio blog and how can it be useful for the society.
What did your audio blogging start with?
“Radio is something native to me, because I have been working with radio since 1998. Every day you go to interesting events, have some actual information, but you don’t always know how to use it. Making money is not what I’m speaking about; I simply want to share important information. All the more so, in an audio blog you can express your own opinion, broach the topic which is not attractive for traditional media. Personally I take interest in human rights, in particular, the rights of minorities, ecology, and change of climate.
“Actually, my audio blog became active during the Maidan events. The events were developing at an extremely quick pace, which was suitable for an information agency. I didn’t have time to establish necessary contacts, stopped working as a journalist, but I was always carrying a recorder with me, sometimes met interesting friends and recorded conversations with them. For example, Kostiantyn Reutsky a human rights activist and blogger from Luhansk: together we were patrolling the streets, and after that talked under the arc, and I had to cover the recorder with my hand, because there was strong humming.
“Or Maryna Tsapok, a human rights activist who controls the way the human rights are kept at the law-enforcement bodies. Together we went to the tent of Zaporizhia, the activists treated us to sandwiches, and we talked about conscript soldiers and security guards. It was convenient to work during the Maidan events. Now I have a lot of interesting audios, but I lack time to edit them.”
How do you process the materials for your podcast? What technical base does audio blogging require?
“A phone with a possibility of recording or a simplest recorder will be enough; you will also have to edit the files on the computer. Professional audio engineers may have plenty of remarks, but people who listen to podcasts on laptops and phones pay less attention to the quality of sound. I use quite an old editing program, but now you can find many new tools that are simple to operate.
“I process the recordings very little. I have an interview with civic activist Oleksandr Solontai, with whom we talked in Hrushevsky Street soon after the conflict started to escalate, and on the recording one can hear us coughing because of the tear gas. At such moments you don’t know what information will become historical and provide moral support to someone.”
Who usually listens to audio blogs?
“Many people have a habit of listening to the radio, although an Internet podcast sounds in a new way. At the moment the popularity of Hromadske radio is growing, there is a project of Hromadske podcasting. The choice is scarce at the moment, but online radio is extremely convenient, because you can save the files and listen to them again.
“The civic podcasting channel has an audience of its own and it appreciates it. To comment on something, you have to be registered, and people do this, although the procedure is time-consuming. That is how a circle of regular listeners is formed. However, practically everyone has an opportunity to express their opinion owing to audio platforms, and you can hear the voice and the intonation of the author. As for me, audio blogs are a promising thing, because the audience receives a more complete picture of the events. I think the number of audio blogs will increase, because people in Ukraine are becoming socially active. And namely an audio blog is a way to show care and be useful to the society.”
How is the role of the radio changing in Ukrainian society?
“It would be pleasant to think that the radio is becoming all the more popular, but I cannot say for sure. In various regions of Ukraine there are various needs for radio: it is very important in the villages with limited access to television. We have people who want radio journalism to survive. These are well-known journalists, like Natalka Sokolenko and Iryna Slavinska, who have an audience of their own and work on Hromadske radio. Incidentally, many talented and famous people come from the commercial radio stations of the 1990s and worked as DJs in their youth. It is simple to create an online radio, and various similar music and socially oriented projects are developing now. I want to believe that radio will be developing more rapidly. But there will be a demand if it is useful for people, not only entertains them.”