Saturday At The Movies

Stuck at home like every­one? Pour­ing with rain or snow out­side at the same time? Tune in to Vir­tu­al Com­mu­ni­ty Radio for Sat­ur­day At The Movies, one of our col­lec­tions of Genre Days, each fea­tur­ing a dif­fer­ent genre of music.

Movies are where most peo­ple today hear orches­tral music, and there will be plen­ty of that today. But movie music is a much broad­er field than that, and today you’ll hear music from the movies of many dif­fer­ent kinds, from the very start of the genre (with Camille Saint-Saens) to the lat­est block­busters; from orches­tral music to rock, to Fifties songs. There is a slight bias towards fan­ta­sy and SF movies, but nev­er mind, we all need a bit of an escape these days.…

So… Grab the pop­corn and set­tle down in front of the speak­ers in the best seat in the house — your own.

Pho­to by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Genre Day: Light Classical

Today on VCR, we’re pleased to present a pro­gramme of light clas­si­cal music, in our first live play­out broadcast.

The pro­gramme fea­tures a wide range of both artists and com­posers, some well-known and some, per­haps, who are sel­dom heard of. Lis­ten out for the likes of Tom­lin­son, Ketel­bey, Alwyn, Gun­ning and Addin­sell, for exam­ple, to name but a few, and enjoy a day of tune­ful, often relax­ing orches­tral music.

Pho­to: The Jalis­co Phil­har­mon­ic Orches­tra, by Pedro Sánchez (CC)

Building a Virtual Home

We are cur­rent­ly in the process of build­ing a head­quar­ters loca­tion in Sec­ond Life as a base for our oper­a­tions in-world. The “VCR The­atre” is being brought togeth­er by Hon­ey Heart and will be com­plet­ed soon.

It takes the form of an Art Deco the­atre, with a stage, seat­ing that can be over­laid for danc­ing, and a broad­cast stu­dio. In addi­tion it will house admin­is­tra­tive func­tions like the devices that will han­dle spon­sor­ship pay­ments and renewals to make that oper­a­tion as smooth as possible.

We are also intend­ing to hold live read­ings and oth­er per­for­mances as well as dances and oth­er activ­i­ties in the audi­to­ri­um. Here are a few pic­tures — though bear in mind that the build is not yet finished.

VCR Theatre FoyerThe foy­er of the VCR The­atreVCR Theatre - View of the stage A view of the stage from the back of the audi­to­ri­um VCR Theatre broadcast studio The broad­cast studio

Coming Soon: The Black Mass

The Black Mass

Com­ing short­ly to Vir­tu­al Com­mu­ni­ty Radio is the land­mark radio dra­ma series The Black Mass, cre­at­ed at the Paci­fi­ca radio sta­tion KPFA in Berke­ley, CA, over fifty years ago. In 30 chill­ing tales of mys­tery, imag­i­na­tion and the human mind, The Black Mass brings you some of literature’s most haunt­ing sto­ries, by mas­ters of the craft.

Realised with the min­i­mum of audio equip­ment, the per­for­mances were quite remark­able and trod ground sel­dom cov­ered by radio dra­ma before — or since. Watch this space for details on when the shows will air. There are 30 episodes of up to 30 min­utes each, and each week­ly episode will be broad­cast twice on the same day, once for UK/European lis­ten­ers and the oth­er for those in North America.

John Whit­ing pro­duced most of the episodes, and he writes:

Black Mass was born in 1963, the brain-child of Jack Nes­sel, who was the Dra­ma & Lit­er­a­ture Direc­tor at KPFA in Berke­ley, the first vol­un­tar­i­ly lis­ten­er-spon­sored non-com­mer­cial FM sta­tion in the world. Jack sug­gest­ed the idea to Erik Bauers­feld, who taught aes­thet­ics and phi­los­o­phy at the Cal­i­for­nia School of Fine Art, and had recent­ly begun to do read­ings of clas­sic and mod­ern lit­er­a­ture for the sta­tion. Erik was not wild­ly enthu­si­as­tic, but thought that it might be inter­est­ing to search out some of the best sto­ries of the super­nat­ur­al by first-rate authors who did not nor­mal­ly write with­in that genre. Oblig­a­tion soon became obsession.

“I was the sta­tion’s Pro­duc­tion Direc­tor at the time and had already pro­duced some rather elab­o­rate radio dra­mas. Jack, already a friend before he joined the sta­tion, was aware of my child­hood fond­ness for hor­ror sto­ries and sug­gest­ed that I col­lab­o­rate with Erik. Thus was born one of the most fruit­ful cre­ative rela­tion­ships in my life and, to this day, one of my clos­est friendships.

“A work­ing pat­tern quick­ly evolved which thence­forth nev­er var­ied. Erik would edit the sto­ries to a work­able length and, as resources per­mit­ted, adapt the dia­log to a dra­mat­ic for­mat. I would then record him read­ing the text in the stu­dio, with or with­out oth­er actors, and he would take the tapes away to edit, which he did him­self, often piec­ing them togeth­er word by word from almost infi­nite retakes.

“Once the text was assem­bled, we would reserve a night in the main stu­dio to put the pro­gram togeth­er with music and sound effects. Some­times these were plot­ted in advance in great detail, some­times not. Usu­al­ly I would have a chance to hear the voice track before the pro­duc­tion session.

“Because of extreme demands on stu­dio time, each adap­ta­tion was begun in the ear­ly evening, after the news had gone out, and car­ried on until it was com­plet­ed, usu­al­ly some time in the wee small hours. The most remark­able aspect of this col­lab­o­ra­tion was that we soon dis­cov­ered that, when it came to radio pro­duc­tion, we had a sin­gle brain between us. When Erik made a sug­ges­tion, I imme­di­ate­ly saw that it was the obvi­ous way to pro­ceed; when I sug­gest­ed a son­ic frame­work, Erik would declare that it was exact­ly what he had had in mind. At the end of the ses­sion, we always left the stu­dio with a tape which either of us would have been glad to put his exclu­sive name to. The hap­pi­est moments of all were between about 2 and 4 a.m., when we retired to Eric’s apart­ment in the Berke­ley hills and qui­et­ly drank our way into obliv­ion on Erik’s excel­lent Tan­querey-based gim­lets, know­ing in our hearts that we had pro­duced yet anoth­er masterpiece.”

Erik Bauers­feld passed away in 2016. Many thanks to John Whit­ing for access to the mate­ri­als and for per­mis­sion to broad­cast them.

The Black Mass art­work was pro­duced by Ter­ry Lightfoot.


Get the App!

We are work­ing with Patrick at Kalei­do­scop­ic Cre­ation to devel­op our own mobile apps, but in the meantime…

VCR is host­ed by Live365, and they make iOS and Android mobile apps avail­able so you can lis­ten to mem­ber sta­tions on the go.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly these apps don’t auto­mat­i­cal­ly tune to VCR — you can use them to lis­ten to any Live365 sta­tion — so you need to search for “Vir­tu­al Com­mu­ni­ty Radio” to locate us and start lis­ten­ing. Click the heart icon to label it as a Favourite and off you go!

Due to music licens­ing agree­ments, these apps are avail­able in the UK, US and Cana­da only at this time.

Remem­ber that we are still doing test trans­mis­sions, so the stream may go off the air from time to time and you’ll hear a curi­ous vari­ety of music across the day.

Test Transmissions

We are now prepar­ing to go on the air, and in advance of our offi­cial launch at the start of the year, we’re car­ry­ing out test trans­mis­sions, pri­mar­i­ly fine-tun­ing the play­out sys­tem to give us the right mix of music and oth­er con­tent. As a result you may find that the stream is not always present.

On the air soon!

We’re get­ting things ready for the turn of the year, when we go on the air.

Stay tuned!