BBC using computer phone technology to boost quality of radio journalism

MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC is counting on a pocket computer phone is set to revolutionise newsrooms and newsgathering across BBC Local Radio in Britain.

Earlier this year BBC Radio Lincolnshire linked up with the Maastricht-based Technica del Arte to transform a pocket PC phone, the XDA, into a professional recording device capable of sending high quality sound down a mobile phone line or from a wi-fi spot.

After exhaustive testing by Radio Lincolnshire staff for the past six months the pilot scheme has been judged so successful that it is to be rolled out to all BBC radio stations across the UK.

It has also been shortlisted for an international IBC Innovation Award, to be judged at a ceremony in Amsterdam in September.

BBC controller of English Regions Andy Griffee said, "This new technology means that journalists are totally self-contained. They no longer need to waste time travelling to and from base - they can prepare and broadcast quality radio direct from the scene of the story without going anywhere near a studio, ISDN line or mobile transmitter. This has revolutionised newsrooms and newsgathering in Lincolnshire, and will do the same across the country."

The phone can also send pictures for use on web sites and 'first break' video footage for television. The BBC says that the technology means that its journalists now spend less time in the office and more time out in the field producing an average of 50 per cent more audio than using conventional recording devices.

Another benefit is that everyone has a phone with them at all times - therefore there is potentially much quicker/better response and coverage of any major stories which break.

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