It’s that time of year. December and the run into the end of the year. Time to re-think and review. It’s been a dramatic year for the country and we’re all still in shock from the ramifications of the economic meltdown. That combined with the early winter freeze gave us a hard landing for 2010. For us here at Athena Media it has been a busy year with lots happening in both radio and television as well as online. In January we launched our online audio podcast and microsite project www.joycesdublin.ie for UCD’s online archive IVRLA. Joyces Dublin was shortlisted for a Spider Award in November and it’s been used across the world as a learning tool for James Joyce as well as providing an entertaining asset for literary tourists visiting Dublin. We designed and built the website as well as producing the audio podcast series which is presented by Barry McGovern. That project led to another online content project for the IVRLA which we have just launched. This time it is a series of videocasts which you can enjoy on vimeo and which showcase some of the digital objects from the UCD archives which are online on the IVRLA.
On radio one of our early series this year was Field of Dreams for Newstalk (a BAI supported project) which presented three inspiring sports stories and all three episodes went out on the national holiday St Patricks Day. Our latest series for RTÉ Lyric fm ‘An Opera for Carlow’ went into production in April – again supported by the BAI Sound and Vision Scheme and we have been producing monthly episodes for the station’s In Tempo programme building up to the final documentary and the staging of the new community based opera in Visual, Carlow, next May. You can follow the series via the podcasts and the next episode goes out on December 13th.
In the summer we began working for a new series called Home Grown which was a 13 part series presented by Ella McSweeney in Today with Pat Kenny, RTÉ Radio 1. The series told stories from across the country about organic and traditional farming skills and it was extremely popular, both on air and via our facebook life which remains live today so follow the series and our output via audioboo, twitter and facebook.
In television we did just one feature for RTÉ Capital D – the Jobs Club in April. The feature tells the story of the jobs club based here at the Digital Hub which meets every Friday and which was set up by the enterprising Aaron Downes. You can still catch it on www.vimeo.com/athenamedia
But our main television work was the continued production and post production of our three part documentary series Pat Falvey: My Private Everest which goes out on Setanta Sports soon. The documentary series tells the story of Irish adventurer Pat Falvey and how he went from being a self-made millionaire by 21 to losing it all by 29. A chance meeting took him hill-walking and from there he determined to get to Mt Everest and since then he has stood on the summit of Everest twice as well as climbed the highest peaks in the world twice over. His amazing story will one day make an incredible movie script but we’ll share the transmission dates for the series as soon as we get them ourselves.
Our other key filming activity was the continued filming of a school in Belmayne which we began in mid 2009 and which we will edit in early 2011. It is a unique story and one we’re looking forward to presenting.
On radio the year ended with a new opportunity. The latest round of funding for Sound and Vision BAI brought success for one of our submission ‘Roddy’s Fighting Words’ and in the new year we will begin preparations on this radio documentary for RTÉ Lyric fm. We’ve been volunteering at Fighting Words, the creative writing centre for children and young people, in Dublin’s inner city, for some time now and this is an opportunity to tell the story behind the centre and why author Roddy Doyle has committed his energies to building a place where words are jewels to be shared. It is an inspiring place to be around so check it out on www.fightingwords.ie and see for yourself why its worth volunteering your time if you have some to spare. That documentary won’t go out until next autumn but we’ll begin recording by February 2011.
Besides production work in radio, television and online our year has also been dominated by training and consultancy. Across the summer, following a successful tender, Athena Media conducted an economic landscaping of Irish broadcasting for the BAI – the broadcasting regulator. The detailed report was submitted to the BAI in September and formed part of the background to the BAI’s new strategic statement which has recently been launched. The work brought home how much has changed for Irish media with the Internet taking as much, if not more advertisement revenue in this year than the radio market. The economic model for media is transforming and the key is online and mobile access.
Our training schedule and work expanded to providing bespoke workshops for organisations including the Derry/Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship. We now run regular one day workshops in social media and online content for business (next one Jan 20th) and also for podcasting (audio and video) (next one Jan 28th) and both one day workshops are extremely competitively priced and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from clients who are using their new digital skills in work.
During the year we also presented a free workshop with Audioboo, an easy to use podcasting tool and we provided several free and voluntary workshops for community and action groups. Keep in touch we what we do via our Athena Media facebook page and on twitter we are @athenamediaie.
Next year (we hope) promises more great content from us. So amid this daily wave of change and adjustment that’s one thing we hope will stay very much the same.
Online keep in touch with us via www.podcastingireland.ie which remains our home for all things podcasting.
So a busy year amid the battering and here’s hoping for all of us 2011 will provide some positive respite where we can see the potential above the negative chant which currently dominates.