Tuning back in time – My Radio, My Life

A needle spinning between cities, film photos, a wire garland around a photo of a beloved inventor— and between all the frames dripping with nostalgia, the radio, an invention that has joined the antique pile along with modern anachronisms like cassettes and VCR tapes.

The radio is the central hero of the documentary ‘My Radio, My Life’, from Timecap documentaries directed by Makarand Waikar and Bidit Roy, which received its first screening for invitees at the National Film Archives of India on February 13, 2024, a thematically apt presentation for UNESCO’s World Radio Day.

The film, which runs for an hour and eight minutes, is a throwback to a golden age of radio where it was the only form of entertainment — a middle class hero in middle class homes. The theme seems unfortunately apt as India grieves one its most recognisable voices on radio, Ameen Sayani, the much beloved host of Binaca Geetmala, who passed away on February 21, 2024, aged 91.

Nostalgia and heart are at centre of people’s memories with the radio. The research team behind the documentary, headed by Simantinee Bhagwat, sought to tap into this vein, pulling together a set of documentary subjects with three core elements— passion, emotion and nostalgia, seeking not a technical or historical approach, but a people-first one.

This approach befits the radio, a gentle presence in many people’s daily lives. As codirector and producer Makarand Waikar says during the launch “radio doesn’t intrude in your life…no one goes to the doctor saying they are addicted to radio.”

Co-director Bidit Roy calls the documentary an interesting way to look at the relationship between radio and people. His own approach is nostalgic, and he speaks fondly of how his paternal grandfather was so attached to his little transistor radio, he used to throw tantrums if its batteries radio ran out.

The film has notched best documentary awards or nominations at 80 festivals in 35 countries, but was screened last week for the first time for public invitees, and is yet to be released online.

Man on the moon

The documentary starts its meandering path down memory lane with a quote from writer Peggy Noonan— “TV gives everyone an image but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains.”

The first image we are invited to conjure up by the documentary is an exciting one; it opens with Dr. V Nallathambi, and he is a great place to start with, combining twin nostalgias for man’s first landing on the moon and the radio. Dr. Nallathambi is the man who announced news of the 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon to the Tamil world, as part of the Voice of America Tamil Service

Originally a Tamil teacher, his radio journey started off at as an announcer at AIR Trichy. One day, he received a call from the American embassy through his director to join the Voice of America service. He joined the service in March, and shares that there was a build up of six months of programming related to the space mission, before the rocket touched down in July that year. In an interview with The Hindu, he says one of the reasons he was selected was the live running radio commentary he had done of C.N Annadurai’s death in Madras. He also thanks the three other colleagues who were part of the Voice of America Tamil service, who let him the opportunity as a young 30 year old man.

Both in the interview and the launch, Dr. Nallathambi remembers translating word for word that historic line— a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind, into Tamil. Translating other elements was not as easy, he says— who knew how to explain geosynchronous orbits, for example, in French, German or Tamil.

A nostalgic quest

The man who provides the throughline for the entire documentary is Vijay Deodhar, a retired librarian who worked at the National Chemical Labaratory in Pune. He is engaged in a more modest, present-day pursuit— the fixing of the 1964 Bush SW/AM radio that he bought for the princely sum of Rs. 500 with his first salary. It stopped working in 2008, and his regular repair man passed away, so the radio has lived on the loft till it is brought down and dusted off, and Mr. Deodhar sets out on a journey through enthusiast groups on Facebook—like the Vintage Radio Society of India— a newspaper ad and old Pune city to find a way to bring it back to life.

A still from the documentary My Radio, My Life

In conversation with The Hindu, he shares that finding a repair man in Pune was hard, noting that he got responses from places like Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Hyderabad. There were also many more interested in buying the radio than repairing it, he says.

Interwoven with his story are that of other characters— some more recognisable than others. Vividh Bharati aficionados will not need a subtitle to place the two announcers who show up on the screen- Yunus Khan and Mamta Singh, the couple for whom radio has been a part of life since their college days- but as a profession.

Even if you do not know Yunus Khan, the resonant timber of his voice gives him away early on as an announcer for Vividh Bharati, Mumbai. At the launch event, he weaves a spell with his narration of how he got into the world of radio, starting as a teenage boy participating in a youth programme at the local station in Bhopal.

Meanwhile, back in the documentary, Mamta Singh, the host or ‘Radio Sakhi’ of the popular programme Sakhi Saheli, speaks about being fascinated with the voice coming from the Murphy Radio which occupied an antique wooden table in a special room in her childhood home, clad in a cover sewn by her mother

Speaking to The Hindu, Mrs. Singh, says she found her voice through radio. And the connection she found went both ways— listeners wrote in to ask questions about not being able to study further, as their parents didn’t want to educate girls, or they wrote in about love entanglements. And the friendly soothing voice on the radio offered advice— encouraging education, encouraging the postponement of love till careers had blossomed.

Then, in a pleasing feedback loop, the listeners wrote back, thanking her— Mrs. Singh shares that there were at times stacks of letters filling up the room,

It’s HAM Radio Hour

The documentary covers all its bases; along with the professionals, there are the amateurs, and the quasi-amateurs. We are introduced to Bharat Prasad, a Radio HAM from Hyderabad, who says that her only hobby is HAM Radio. Her HAM radio set up goes beyond the receiver familiar to the general public— she also has a transmitter, antenna and power supply as well.

A radio transmission dish aloft her terrace in Hyderabad, V2URBI — Mrs. Prasad’s call name— has established contact in countries over the world; in the documentary, she says she makes 100 contacts in a day. We see her connecting with someone in Malta and a student, Mukesh, in Delhi— she is a HAM trainer as well.

Mrs. Prasad has also gone on expeditions, and in one such expedition in 2004 to the Andaman Nicobar Islands, her HAM radio proved of vital importance. On December 26, 2004, when establishing contact with Indonesia and Thailand, she felt tremors in her room, and saw the sea change colour from “blue to green to black.” This was the Indian Ocean tsunami. In the early days post the tsunami, when there was no way to communicate except HAM radio, even officials communicated via her set.

A new lease of life

The documentary traverses across the country, and across interests. and one of its central figures is Uday Kalbhurgi, a radio restorer in Bangalore

Mr. Kalbhurgi has converted part of his Bangalore home into a short wave radio museum. Often called ‘Radio Man’, Mr. Kalbhurgi has restored more than 185 vintage radios, a far cry from his school days where he stood fascinated in front of a radio repair shop in Nipani for three-four hours a day. He has stories for many of his radios- whether it be an old man remembering his dearly loved wife or a bomber radio he bought off a man on the street.

A still from the documentary My Radio, My Life

A still from the documentary My Radio, My Life

Among his collection we spot a 1963 Grundig Radio, a Chevrolet car radio, a secret Congress radio from World War 2, and an R1155 Marconi radio from a bomber, again from the World war 2 era. Another intriguing contraption on his walls is a little device that places the All India Radio signature tone composed by Walter Kauffman— on loop if you don’t stop it.

In the documentary, we are also transported from time-to-time, almost with a jolt, to more modern setting, the spotless radio studio room for students at the Janaki Devi Public School in Mumbai. Here, enthusiastic teacher Pradnya Kelkar, accompanied by professional radio mentor Shantanu Joshi, is attempting to create a radio programme with a host of kids.

Not only do the children offer a stark contrast to the gentle nostalgia of people who are recounting tales of yore, the programme they are recording is also future-themed— what life be like in 2122. Adding to the nostalgia, one of the kids describes the radio onscreen much like one might describe an object in the museum — a box with lines over it, she says, with a socket and a rectangular thing where you see channel numbers. Another boy is more in touch with the radio— his parents and grandparents listen to it while working, he says, incorporating the rhythm of the radio into their workflow. 

Cast and crew of the documentary My Radio, My Life at a screening held at National Film Archives of India on February 13, 2024.

Cast and crew of the documentary My Radio, My Life at a screening held at National Film Archives of India on February 13, 2024.

Shantanu Joshi shared during the screening of the documentary that he tried to make the radio ‘a hero’ for the kids, selling the experience of talking on the radio. He has done this not just for students in schools— Mr. Joshi has also set up a radio station in jail and a juvenile home in Pune.

As the credits roll we see three people with no professional link to the radio, whose lives have been touched by it— Mr. Waikar’s friends from days of youth. Sunil Shastri speaks of perhaps a universal experience for cricket-enthused GenXers— listening to cricket on the radio. He did it secretly though, with a wire connecting a pocket transistor radio to his ear during school classes, with him furtively signalling runs to classmates when the teacher was not looking. Harimohan Pillai speaks of Amin Sayani and his programme Binaca Geet Mala on Radio Ceylon, which ranked the top songs of the week. So did his family, and comparing these rankings made for a nice Saturday pass time. Mr. Pillai also met and gave Mr. Sayani a sketch of him — a crowning moment in a radio enthusiast’s life. Then there is Arunabha Sen from Kolkata, who recounts the riveting experience of attending a recording for a Bournvita radio quiz competition at the HMV studios in Dum Dum. .  

The documentary ends with a feeling of great nostalgia— a crossword, kids playing cricket, and the people remembering their own glory days with the radio. In between, watercolours by Yogesh Lokhande envision scenes from the story as they are described.

Watching the documentary proves that it is not just nostalgic for an earlier generation. It is also nostalgic for me, reminding me of sleepy afternoons crouched down in front of the radio, scanning for a station that would give me the enthusiasm to finish my homework.

And as I drive home after watching the documentary, I switch off my Spotify playlist and turn on my radio instead.

More details about ‘My radio, My Life’ can be found at https://myradiomylife.com/. The documentary will be released shortly online.

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#Tuning #time #Radio #Life

Here’s everything coming to Amazon’s Prime Video in September 2023

Amazon’s Prime Video has high hopes for its September lineup, which includes the return of “The Wheel of Time” and a spinoff of “The Boys.”

After a two-year layoff, Season 2 of the sprawling fantasy epic “The Wheel of Time” (Sept. 1) picks up with Moraine (Rosamund Pike) and Rand (Josha Stradowski) now scattered and forced to regroup as the Dark One turns out to be far from defeated. Season 1 was one of Prime’s most-watched series ever, and Season 2 will reportedly be darker and more action-packed, spanning the second and third books of Robert Jordan’s series.

The end of the month will bring the premiere of “Gen V” (Sept. 27), set in “The Boys” universe and following a group of students with extraordinary abilities at a prestigious — and extremely competitive — college for superheroes-to-be. It looks every bit as depraved and violent as the massively popular “The Boys,” for better or worse.

Also see: What’s coming in September to Netflix | Hulu


streaming service also has “Kelce” (Sept. 12), a feature documentary about Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce’s 2022-’23 season, which will serve as a prelude to the return of NFL Thursday Night Football (Sept. 14), which kicks off with the Eagles against the Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s the complete list of what else is coming to Prime Video in September (release dates are subject to change):

What’s coming to Prime Video in September 2023

Sept. 1

Spin City S1-6 (1997)
The Wheel of Time Season 2
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1970)
21 Grams (2004)
23:59 (2011)
A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)
A Force of One (1979)
A Man Called Sarge (1990)
A Matter of Time (1976)
A Rage to Live (1965)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
After Midnight (1989)
Alakazam the Great (1961)
Alex Cross (2012)
All About My Mother (2000)
Amazons of Rome (1963)
American Ninja (1985)
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)
American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989)
American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)
Anaconda (1997)
And Your Name Is Jonah (1979)
Angel Eyes (2001)
Apartment 143 (2012)
April Morning (1988)
Arabian Nights (2000)
Are You in the House Alone? (2022)
Army of Darkness (1993)
As Above, So Below (2014)
Back to School (1986)
Bad Education (2020)
Bad News Bears (2005)
Bailout at 43,000 (1957)
Balls Out (2015)
Beer (1985)
Behind the Mask (1999)
Belly of an Architect (1990)
Berlin Tunnel 21 (1981)
Bewitched (2005)
Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Blow (2001)
Body Slam (1987)
Born to Race (2011)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Boy of the Streets (1937)
Breakdown (1997)
Brides of Dracula (1960)
Brigadoon (1954)
Broken Embraces (2010)
Buster (1988)
Calendar Girl Murders (1984)
California Dreaming (1979)
Campus Rhythm (1943)
Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl (1954)
Carpool (1996)
Carry on Columbus (1992)
Carve Her Name With Pride (1958)
Chasing Papi (2003)
Cheerleaders Beach Party (1978)
Children of Men (2007)
Child’s Play (2019)
China Doll (1958)
Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)
Cocaine: One Man’s Seduction (1983)
Committed (2000)
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Condor (1986)
Confidence Girl (1952)
Courage Mountain (1990)
Crossplot (1969)
Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)
Curse of the Undead (1959)
Cycle Savages (1969)
Dagmar’s Hot Pants, Inc. (1971)
Damned River (1989)
Dancers (1987)
Danger in Paradise (1977)
Dangerous Love (1988)
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Defiance (2009)
Deja Vu (2006)
Desert Sands (1955)
Desperado (1995)
Detective Kitty O’Day (1944)
Detective School Dropouts (1986)
Devil (2010)
Devil’s Eight (1969)
Diary of a Bachelor (1964)
Dogs (1977)
Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title (1966)
Double Trouble (1992)
Down the Drain (1990)
Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype (1980)
Dracula (1931)
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Driving Miss Daisy (1990)
Dust 2 Glory (2017)
Edge of Darkness (2010)
Eight Men Out (1988)
Eight on the Lam (1967)
Electra Glide in Blue (1973)
Elephant Tales (2006)
Europa Report (2013)
Evil Dead (2013)
Explosive Generation (1961)
Extraction (2015)
Face/Off (1997)
Fanboys (2009)
Fashion Model (1945)
Fatal Charm (1978)
Fearless Frank (1969)
Finders Keepers (2014)
Flight That Disappeared (1961)
Flight to Hong Kong (1956)
Fools Rush In (1997)
For the Love of Aaron (1994)
For the Love of It (1980)
For Those Who Think Young (1964)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
From Hollywood to Deadwood (1989)
Frontera (2014)
Fury on Wheels (1971)
Gambit (1967)
Ghost Story (1981)
Gigli (2003)
Grace Quigley (1985)
Grievous Bodily Harm (1988)
Hangfire (1991)
Haunted House (2023)
Hawks (1989)
Hell Drivers (1958)
Here Comes the Devil (2012)
Hollywood Harry (1986)
Honeymoon Limited (1935)
Hostile Witness (1969)
Hot Under the Collar (1991)
Hotel Rwanda (2005)
Hugo (2011)
I Am Durán (2019)
I Saw the Devil (2010)
I’m So Excited! (2013)
Inconceivable (2017)
Innocent Lies (1995)
Intimate Strangers (2006)
Invisible Invaders (1959)
It Rains in My Village (1968)
Jarhead (2005)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
Joyride (2022)
Juan of the Dead (2012)
Kalifornia (1993)
Khyber Patrol (1954)
La Bamba (1987)
Labou (2009)
Lady in a Corner (1989)
Ladybird, Ladybird (1995)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003)
Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)
Little Dorrit (Part 1) (1988)
Little Dorrit (Part 2) (1988)
Little Sweetheart (1989)
Lost Battalion (1960)
Mama (2013)
Mandrill (2009)
Masters of the Universe (1987)
Matchless (1967)
Meeting at Midnight (1944)
Men’s Club (1986)
Mfkz (2018)
Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021)
Miss All American Beauty (1982)
Mission of the Shark (1991)
Mixed Company (1974)
Mystery Liner (1934)
National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1983)
New York Minute (2004)
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Night Creatures (1962)
No (2012)
Observe and Report (2009)
Octavia (1984)
October Sky (1999)
Of Mice and Men (1992)
One Man’s Way (1964)
One Summer Love (1976)
Operation Atlantis (1965)
Overkill (1996)
Panga (1990)
Passport to Terror (1989)
Phaedra (1962)
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Portrait of a Stripper (1979)
Powaqqatsi (1988)
Predator: The Quietus (1988)
Private Investigations (1987)
Prophecy (1979)
Pulse (2006)
Quinceanera (1960)
Raiders of the Seven Seas (1953)
Red Dawn (1984)
Red Eye (2005)
Red Riding Hood (1988)
Red River (1948)
Reform School Girls (1969)
Riddick (2013)
Riot in Juvenile Prison (1959)
River of Death (1989)
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rose Garden (1989)
Roxanne (1987)
Rumble Fish (1983)
Runaway Train (1985)
Running Scared (2006)
Safari 3000 (1982)
Season of Fear (1989)
Secret Window (2004)
Sense and Sensibility (1996)
Sergeant Deadhead (1965)
Seven Hours to Judgment (1988)
Sharks’ Treasure (1975)
She’s Out of My League (2010)
She’s the One (1996)
Sin Nombre (2009)
Sinister (2012)
Slamdance (1987)
Snitch (2013)
Son of Dracula (1943)
Space Probe Taurus (1965)
Spanglish (2004)
Spell (1977)
Stardust (2007)
Step Up (2006)
Sticky Fingers (1988)
Stigmata (1999)
Sugar (2009)
Summer Rental (1985)
Surrender (1987)
Sword of the Valiant (1984)
Tangerine (2015)
Tenth Man (1988)
The Adventures of Gerard (1978)
The Adventures of the American Rabbit (1986)
The Assisi Underground (1986)
The Bad News Bears (1976)
The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955)
The Birdcage (1996)
The Black Dahlia (2006)
The Black Tent (1957)
The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
The Break-Up (2006)
The Cat Burglar (1961)
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
The Clown and the Kid (1961)
The Diary of a High School Bride (1959)
The Dictator (2012)
The Evictors (1979)
The Fake (1953)
The Family Stone (2005)
The Final Alliance (1990)
The Finest Hour (1991)
The Frog Prince (1988)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
The Late Great Planet Earth (1979)
The Legend of Zorro (2005)
The Little Vampire (2017)
The Living Ghost (1942)
The Locusts (1997)
The Machinist (2004)
The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
The Misfits (1961)
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
The Mummy (1932)
The Naked Cage (1986)
The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968)
The Possession (2012)
The Prince (2014)
The Program (1993)
The Ring (2002)
The Sacrament (2014)
The Savage Wild (1970)
The Secret in Their Eyes (2010)
The Sharkfighters (1956)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
The Winds of Kitty Hawk (1978)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Young Savages (1961)
Three Came To Kill (1960)
Three Kinds of Heat (1987)
Through Naked Eyes (1983)
Time Limit (1957)
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1987)
Track of Thunder (1967)
Transformations (1991)
Transporter 3 (2008)
Trollhunter (2011)
True Heart (1996)
Underground (1970)
Unholy Rollers (1972)
Unsettled Land (1989)
V/H/S (2012)
War, Italian Style (1967)
Warriors Five (1962)
We Still Kill the Old Way (1968)
When a Stranger Calls (2006)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Where the River Runs Black (1986)
Wild Bill (1995)
Wild Racers (1968)
Wild Things (1998)
Windows (1980)
Woman of Straw (1964)
Young Racers (1963)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Sept. 5
One Shot: Overtime Elite

Sept. 7
Single Moms Club (2014)

Sept. 8
Sitting in Bars with Cake

Sept. 12
Inside (2023)

Sept. 14
Thursday Night Football

Sept. 15
A Million Miles Away


Written in the Stars

Sept. 19
A Thousand and One (2023)

Sept. 22
Cassandro (2023)

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023)

Sept. 26
The Fake Sheikh

Sept. 29
Gen V

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#Heres #coming #Amazons #Prime #Video #September

Lukas Gage’s viral video audition haunts the ‘hot labor summer’ actors’ strike sweeping Hollywood

In November 2020, the actor Lukas Gage was auditioning for a role via video link when he heard the producer make some disparaging remarks about the size of his apartment. 

“These poor people who live in these tiny apartments,” the producer said. “I’m looking at his background and he’s got his TV and …”

Gage, who at that time had had a four-episode arc on HBO’s “Euphoria” among other small roles, interrupted the producer — British director Tristram Shapeero, who later apologized for his remarks — to let him know that he was not muted and that Gage could, in fact, hear him. 

“Yeah, I know it’s a sh—y apartment,” Gage said. “That’s why — give me this job so I can get a better one.”

Shapeero replied, “Oh my god, I am so, so sorry … I am absolutely mortified.”

Putting together an audition tape can often take up an entire day and involve setting up a studio space for sound and lighting.

“Listen, I’m living in a four-by-four box, just give me the job and we’ll be fine,” Gage responded. 

Gage kept his sense of humor, but he also decided to post the video on his Twitter account to show how actors are sometimes treated from the moment they audition for a role — and perhaps to remind people to make sure you’re on mute if you’re trash-talking someone on a Zoom


It’s three years later, and members of the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild are on strike, looking for more pay, better working conditions and stricter rules around things like the use of actors’ images in the age of artificial intelligence and the lack of residuals from streaming networks. 

The perils of the online audition

Meanwhile, Gage’s 2020 online audition is resonating again. 

For a working actor — who, like the majority of SAG-AFTRA members who may not be an A-list star — simply getting in front of a producer as Gage did can be a long and difficult process. And since the start of the pandemic, the nature of auditions has changed dramatically. This has come to symbolize the uphill struggle actors face from the moment they hear about a role. 

In May, Ezra Knight, New York local president of SAG-AFTRA, asked members to authorize strike action, saying contracts needed to be renegotiated to reflect dramatic changes in the industry. Knight cited the need to address artificial intelligence, pay, benefits, reduced residuals in streaming and “unregulated and burdensome self-taped auditions.”

In the days of live auditions, actors would read for a role with a casting director. But several actors told MarketWatch that it’s become harder to make a living in recent years, and that it all starts with the audition tape, which has now become standard in the industry. 

By the time Gage got in front of producers, for instance, he had likely either already delivered a tape and was put on a shortlist to read in front of a producer, or the casting director was already familiar with his work and wanted him to read for the part. 

But an audition tape can often take up an entire day to put together, actors say. When the opportunity to audition arrives, actors typically have to drop everything they’re doing — whether they’re working a side hustle or taking time off or even enjoying a vacation.

Cadden Jones: “All the financial responsibilities have fallen on us. The onus is on us to create our auditions.”

Cadden Jones

They need to arrange good lighting and a clean backdrop — Gage’s TV set became a distraction for the producer during his audition — set up the camera, and scramble to find a “reader” — someone to read the other roles in the scene, preferably another actor. 

Then the actor has to edit the audition to highlight their strongest take and upload it. There are currently no regulations on the amount of pages a casting director can send to a candidate, and actors say there’s often not enough time to properly prepare.

“Unfortunately, it’s been going in this direction for some time now,” said Cadden Jones, an actor based in New York who has credits on shows including Showtime’s

“Billions” and Amazon Prime’s

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” 

“This was the first year I did not qualify for health insurance in decades,” she told MarketWatch. “I just started teaching.”

To put that into perspective: Members of SAG-AFTRA must earn $26,470 in a 12-month base period to qualify for health insurance. The median annual wage in the U.S. hovers at around $57,000, based on the weekly median as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Jones and her partner, Michael Schantz, an actor who works mostly in theater, are starting a communications consulting company to increase their income.

“Most if not all of my actor friends have had to supplement their income since the pandemic,” she said. “We’re in trouble as a community of actors who used to make a good living doing what we do. It’s not like any of us lost our talent overnight. I, for one, am very glad that we’re striking.”

But Jones said that, with the auditioning process taking place mostly online since the onset of the pandemic, casting agents — who work for producers — are able to see more people for a given role, making the competition for roles even more intense.

‘This was the first year I did not qualify for health insurance in decades.’

— Cadden Jones, an actor based in New York

“We don’t go into casting offices anymore,” Jones said. “All the financial responsibilities have fallen on us. The onus is on us to create our auditions. It’s harder to know what they want, and you don’t have the luxury to work with a casting director in a physical space to get adjustments, which was personally my favorite part of the process — that collaboration.”

She added: “Because the audition rate accelerated, the booking rate went down dramatically for everybody. But don’t get me wrong. Once the strike is officially over, I want all the auditions I can get.”

SAG-AFTRA has proposed rules and expectations to address some of the burden and costs actors bear when it comes to casting, including providing a minimum amount of time for actors to send in self-taped auditions; disclosing whether an offer has been made for the role or it has already been cast; and limiting the number of pages for a “first call” or first round of auditions.

Before the negotiations broke down with the actors’ union, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents over 350 television and production companies, said it offered SAG-AFTRA $1 billion in wage increases, pension and health contributions and residual increases as part of a range of proposals related to pay and working conditions.

Those proposals included limitations on requests for audition tapes, including page, time and technology requirements, as well as options for virtual or in-person auditions, AMPTP said. The producers’ group characterized their offer as “the most lucrative deal we have ever negotiated.”

Michael Schantz: “How does the broader culture value storytelling and the people who make stories?”

Michael Schantz

Jones said she doesn’t blame the casting directors. It’s up to the producers, she said, to be more mindful of how the changes in the industry since the advent of streaming, the decline in wages adjusted for inflation, and poor residuals from streaming services have taken a toll on working actors.

Bruce Faulk, who has been a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1992, said that for work on a one-off character part or a recurring role on a network show, he might receive a check for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in residuals. And — crucially — he knows how many times a particular show has aired. 

Residuals are fees paid to actors each time a TV show or film is broadcast on cable or network television. They are based on the size of the role and the budget of the production, among other things. For shows that air on streaming services, however, residuals are far harder to track. 

What’s more, residuals decline over time and can often amount to just a few cents per broadcast. 

Actor Kimiko Glenn, who appeared on episodes of Netflix’s

“Orange Is the New Black,” recently shared a video on TikTok showing $27 in residuals from her work on that show.

Faulk sympathizes. “A lot of checks from HBO

for ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Gossip Girl’ I get are for $33,” he said. “I never know how many people watched me on ‘Gossip Girl’ in the three episodes I’m in. All we know is whatever the streaming services decided to announce as their subscriber numbers.”

Like Jones, Faulk said this will be the first year he won’t qualify for SAG-AFTRA health insurance, which covers him, his wife and his son. This is despite him having worked enough over the past 10 years to qualify for a pension when he turns 67. “Mine is up to $1,000 a month now,” he said, noting that the pension will keep increasing if he keeps getting acting work.

Schantz, who had a three-episode arc on NBC’s

“The Blacklist” in addition to his other TV, film and theater credits, finds the recent shifts in the landscape for actors somewhat difficult to reconcile with the way people turned to TV and film during the loneliest days of the pandemic.

“One of the most concerning things I can think of right now is the conversation around value. How does the broader culture value storytelling and the people who make stories?” he said. “The arts always tend to fall to the wayside in many ways, but it was striking during the pandemic that so much of our attention went to watching movies and television. There’s obviously something inside of us that feels like we’re part of the human story.”

Actors battle other technology

While big companies like Disney
HBO, Apple
Amazon and Netflix make millions of dollars from films and TV series that are watched again and again, Schantz said that actors are unable to make a living. “No one wants to go on strike,” he said. 

Those five companies have not responded to requests for comment from MarketWatch on these issues.

Since his audition tape went viral, Gage has booked regular work, and he found even greater fame when he went on to star in Season 1 of HBO’s “White Lotus.” In 2023, he will star in nine episodes of “You,” now streaming on Netflix, and in the latest season of FX’s “Fargo.” 

Earlier this year, he told the New York Times: “I had never judged my apartment until that day.” He added, “I remember having this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach afterward, like, why am I judging where I’m at in my 20s, at the beginning of my career?”

‘There’s enough Bruce out there where you could take my likeness and my voice and put me in the scene.’

— Bruce Falk, a member of SAG-AFTRA since 1992

But advances in technology are not just hurting actors in the audition process. A debate is raging over the use of AI and whether actors should be expected to sign away the rights to their image in perpetuity, especially when they might only be getting paid for half a day’s work.

“AI is the next big thing,” Falk said. The industry is concerned about companies taking actors’ likenesses and using AI to generate crowd scenes. 

“Even an actor at my level — that guy on that show — there’s enough Bruce out there where you could take my likeness and my voice and put me in the scene: the lieutenant who gives you the overview of what happened to the dead body,” he said. “At this point, I could be technically replaced. We have to get down on paper, in very clear terms, that that can’t be done.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers also said it agrees with SAG-AFTRA and had proposed — before the actors’ strike — “that use of a performer’s likeness to generate a new performance requires consent and compensation.” The AMPTP said that would mean no digital version of a performer should be created without the performer’s written consent and a description of the intended use in the film, and that later digital replicas without that performer’s consent would be prohibited.  

“Companies that are publicly traded obviously have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, and whatever they can use, they will use it — and they are using AI,” Schantz said. “Yes, there are some immediate concerns. Whether or not the technology is advanced enough to fully replace actors is an open question, but some people think it’s an inevitability now.

“To let companies have free rein with these technologies is obviously creating a problem,” he added. “I can’t go show up, do a day’s work, have my performance be captured, and have that content create revenue for a company unless I’m being property compensated for it.”

Schantz said he believes there’s still time to address these technological issues before they become a widespread problem that makes all auditions — however cumbersome — obsolete. 

“We haven’t crossed this bridge as a society, but God only knows how far along they are in their plans,” he said. “All I know is it has to be a choice for the actors. There has to be a contract, and we have to be protected. Otherwise, actors will no longer be able to make a living doing this work.”

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FM Radios to Pay Music Royalties to Creators Now: Here’s All You Need to Know

Now, every time you hear a song on the radio, the FM broadcaster will have to pay royalties to the creators of the music.

The Bombay High Court recently upheld the rights of the Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), a music copyright society, to acquire royalties from private FM radio broadcasters.

What does it mean for the FM radio industry? What are radio royalties? And what makes it a landmark decision for the music creators? Here’s a breakdown:

The Judgment

Justice Manish Pitale of the Bombay High Court, on 28 April, pronounced his judgment on the cases titled IPRS vs Rajasthan Patrika Pvt Ltd and IPRS vs Music Broadcast Limited, agreeing with the contentions of the IPRS.

What is IPRS? It’s a society registered under the Copyright Act, 1957, which legitimises the use of copyrighted music by music users; for instance, FM radio broadcasters.

  • It issues licences to music users and collects royalties from them on behalf of IPRS members, such as authors, composers, and publishers of music.

  • Authors and composers are better known as lyricists or writers of music.

  • Publishers are the music companies or those who hold publishing rights of the musical and literary works.

  • IPRS distributes the collected royalty among its members after deducting up to 15 per cent of the administrative costs of the society.

As per the judgment, the applicant IPRS members, who were earlier deprived of their rightful claims due to a 2012 amendment in the Copyright Act, are now entitled to acquire royalties from the defendant companies, Music Broadcast India and Rajasthan Patrika Pvt Ltd, who engage in the business of operating FM radio broadcast channels.

  • Every time a sound recording is communicated to the public through FM radio stations, the authors are entitled to claim royalties for their underlying literary and musical works.

  • The defendants have been directed to pay royalties to the IPRS within a period of six weeks, or they will be restrained from broadcasting the songs.

  • The landmark judgment was first announced on 31 December 2020, by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

The Legal Tussles of the IPRS 

The IPRS has been fighting for the rights of the underlying authors of music for years now. Before we go ahead, it’s important to understand the meaning of copyright in context with IPRS:

The official logo of the IPRS.

In simple words, a copyright is the intellectual property of the copyright holder, which grants them an exclusive right to use their creations or grant permission to others to do so in accordance with a set of norms. In the context of IPRS, this intellectual property can be the literary or musical works of the holders.

  • Before the 2012 amendment of the Copyright Act of 1957, the original authors were not entitled to claim royalty once their original works became part of a film.

  • The 2012 amendment added provisos (clauses) to sections 17 (first owner of copyright) and 18 (assignment of copyright), and two subclauses to section 19 (mode of assignment) of the act.

  • The IPRS claimed that, as per the new amendment, the authors are now entitled to claim royalty on their original work.

  • The defendants argued that since sections 13 (works in which copyright exists) and 14 (meaning of copyright) of the act weren’t amended, just provisos cannot grant a substantive right to the authors.

IPRS Vs East India Motion Pictures Association (1977): This case focused on the copyright dispute between music authors and the producers of cinematograph films.

  • Prior to the case, the authors were only entitled to claim royalty from film producers for their songs when they were performed in public.

  • Music authors always complained that they were deprived of earning the profits of their work, while film producers were enjoying those benefits.

  • The judgment settled the dispute between the two parties.

  • However, following the judgment, technological advancements like ringtones and caller tunes came as a hardship for the music authors, which led to the 2012 amendment of the Copyright Act.

IPRS Vs Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL): In 2006, IPRS filed a case against ENIL, which owns Radio Mirchi, with the following allegations:

  • IPRS claimed that ENIL had entered into agreements with the society for the broadcast of music in seven cities in India.

  • However, ENIL began broadcasting in three new cities in India without obtaining the licence from IPRS.

  • This amounted to an infringement of the public performance rights of IPRS.

  • However, the Delhi High Court on 4 January 2021, altered the momentum of IPAB’s 2020 decision in its judgment, favouring ENIL.

The Bombay High Court further pronounced in its judgment on 28 April 2023:

  • The court rejected the claim that the right to collect royalties cannot be recognised as copyright under the law.

  • It was rather asserted that the right to royalty emanates from the copyright held by the authors in their original works.

  • The court announced that the 2012 amendment substantially altered how the rights of original creators were treated.

What Are Radio Royalties? Why Are They Paid?

Although ‘royalty’ has not been defined under the Copyright Act 1957, the Income Tax Act 1961 defines royalty as the consideration (including lump sum payment) for the transfer of all or any rights, including the granting of a licence in respect of an invention, patent, secret formula, process, trademark, model, design, literary, artistic, or scientific work.

  • In simple words, royalties are payments to the copyright owners made by the user in exchange for the right to use, broadcast, or communicate (in this case) their music to the public.

  • These royalties are administered by numerous copyright societies like the IPRS, the Indian Singer Rights Association (ISRA), Novex, and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL).

  • Not all artistes are part of a copyright society; however, most artists prefer to be a part of one since individual administration to acquire royalties is quite complex.

The IPRS follows a distribution plan for the collection and administration of royalty payments.

  • It collects royalties from a variety of sources, and the amount collected varies depending on the mode of broadcast.

  • Distributions for the revenues earned in the previous fiscal year are typically made quarterly (four times a year): in June, September, December, and March.

How does IPRS calculate royalties? The royalty or licence charges, which are usually payable annually in advance, are calculated by IPRS under a series of tariffs depending on the several categories of premises and classes of entertainment.

  • IPRS collects royalties on a per-play basis.

  • It grants a blanket licence to the radio stations, which gives them access to the copyright holder’s entire musical catalogue for a predetermined period of time.

  • Music is licensed to radio broadcasters on a per-station basis.

  • The licence fee differs depending on the type of city, which is typically divided into five categories depending on the population.

  • An A+ city refers to metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai, whose licence fee will be higher than a D-category city, which is a small town.

The minimum annual royalty fee structure.

  • The annual minimum royalty charge for an A+ category city amounts to Rs 17,00,000.

  • The gross revenue of a radio channel in a metro city is Rs 3,50,000, as declared to the Government of India.

  • The licence fee is based on the applicable rate of 5 percent of the gross revenue of a radio channel.

A Win For the Underlying Authors of Music

The Bombay High Court’s decision has turned out to be a landmark judgement for the underlying authors of music, who were earlier deprived of their right to royalty. Music lyricists, composers, and authors celebrated the new judgment across social media platforms.

Members of the IPRS.

Javed Akhtar, Chairman of IPRS, shared in a media statement, “I am delighted that the honourable Bombay High Court has seen fit to uphold and protect the rights of authors and composers whose creations have enthralled and inspired Indians and the world for decades. This is long due especially since Indian music has reverberated across the world including ‘Naatu Naatu’ composed by M M Keeravaani and authored by Kanukuntla Subhash Chandrabose.”

“All the authors and composer members of IPRS thank the Bombay High Court for this landmark judgement and its well-reasoned analysis recognising the change in the law since 2012. This forward-looking and exemplary judgement places the creator back at the heart of copyright creation which will serve as a great incentive for artistes, the music industry and for the creation of copyright in India,” Akhtar added.

Here are some other reactions from the music industry:

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Thanksgiving Road Trip – Making a Difference by Tumble Science Podcast for Kids

In this special bonus episode, some of our favorite guest scientists answer listener questions! It’s like a Tumble reunion! Learn about the bugs you can find near your home, how ants let each other know about food finds, and if bats fly at night so they can eat more bugs. Thanks to Paloma, Liesel, and Bella for your questions!

We still have a few “encore shows” left to play while we get ready for the new season. You might have noticed we’ve had listeners introduce their favorite shows. Next week, that could be you! Send us a recording telling us your favorite episode and why you like it, to [email protected]. Or upload your recording to the “Contact” form on our website at www.sciencepodcastforkids.com.

Tumble has a few holiday shopping tips for you. First, don’t procrastinate. Second, don’t go to the mall. It is crazy there. Instead, go to seedling.com and order their fantastic activity kits, then use the code TUMBLE at checkout for $10 off a $30 purchase! So much better than going to the mall. Third, get a brand new Tumble tee, sent to you by Marshall’s mom, at our website for only $19.50! sciencepodcastforkids.com/shop

As always, we appreciate reviews on iTunes and emails! We read and respond to every single one. Lastly, we need your help with an audience survey for our partner, Wondery! Go to wondery.com/survey and answer a couple quick questions about your listening habits. We’ll be forever grateful to your anonymous contribution!

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The Tomb of the Animal Mummies by Tumble Science Podcast for Kids

In this special bonus episode, some of our favorite guest scientists answer listener questions! It’s like a Tumble reunion! Learn about the bugs you can find near your home, how ants let each other know about food finds, and if bats fly at night so they can eat more bugs. Thanks to Paloma, Liesel, and Bella for your questions!

We still have a few “encore shows” left to play while we get ready for the new season. You might have noticed we’ve had listeners introduce their favorite shows. Next week, that could be you! Send us a recording telling us your favorite episode and why you like it, to [email protected]. Or upload your recording to the “Contact” form on our website at www.sciencepodcastforkids.com.

Tumble has a few holiday shopping tips for you. First, don’t procrastinate. Second, don’t go to the mall. It is crazy there. Instead, go to seedling.com and order their fantastic activity kits, then use the code TUMBLE at checkout for $10 off a $30 purchase! So much better than going to the mall. Third, get a brand new Tumble tee, sent to you by Marshall’s mom, at our website for only $19.50! sciencepodcastforkids.com/shop

As always, we appreciate reviews on iTunes and emails! We read and respond to every single one. Lastly, we need your help with an audience survey for our partner, Wondery! Go to wondery.com/survey and answer a couple quick questions about your listening habits. We’ll be forever grateful to your anonymous contribution!

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