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EBS radio to be reborn as national book reader

2012/01/28 | 211 views |  | Permalink | Source

By Noh Hyun-gi

Korea's Education Broadcasting System, EBS, is completely restructuring its programs to become a national book reader.

Starting on Feb. 27, EBS FM will allocate all programs from Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to book readings of various genres.

Original English works will be recited from Monday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Sundays, a program titled "EBS Audio Book" will recite literary works from 10 a.m. straight through 8 p.m.

"There's only so much that visual media can do to reach an audience; we need to touch their hearts", said EBS President Kwak Duk-hoon at a press conference held at the Korea Press Center in Seoul, Thursday.

"Many radio broadcasters have included only a nominal amount of book readings in their programming because most consider it boring and it is difficult to achieve high ratings", said Kim Jun-bum, a producer for EBS radio. "But I think of this as a social responsibility of the media".

It definitely isn't an easy task both theoretically and logistically as Kim explained that the broadcaster is contacting numerous publishers and authors. "But I do think that (eventually) many writers may even donate their works in support of EBS' effort to read for the country's citizens".

The radio station will touch upon many genres. "EBS Fantasia" during the afternoon will air science fiction, suspense and fantasy novels, which will be followed by "Reading Classics" that will introduce works that have withstood the test of time.

The long lost tradition of radio drama is coming back to life through EBS. For starters, a program titled "EBS Book Cafe;" will dramatize the international tearjerker "Please Look After my Mom" by Shin Kyung-sook.

Another noteworthy feature is the radio station's attempt to revive the tradition of newspaper series through narrators' voices. Famed writer, Eun Hee-kyung who authored "Beauty Despises Me", will start off with a series titled "A Calm Life".

EBS will not rely on trained narrators or actors to read the stories. It has asked people to volunteer to read for others through the programs as "book narrators" and more than 2,000 people have already applied.

Globally, British broadcaster the BBC's Radio 4 is the leading audio media in book reading. The station has been airing programs such as "Afternoon Reading" and "Book at Bedtime", which feature short stories and abridged books, as well as "Poetry Please".

The book reading radio programs are part of the educational broadcasting institute's comprehensive reform for 2012. It will also enhance its TV channels EBS Plus 1, EBS Plus 2 and EBS English to serve as an educational digital content bank by producing visual content that can be used as an educational reference.

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