Oral history of recorded sound

Simms, Eric, Wildlife Recordist, Author and Broadcaster. Oral History of Recorded Sound

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    Simms, Eric, 1921- (male)

  • Abstract

    Bird watching in Sussex. Studying bird migration. Joining RAF. Taking over from Ludwig Koch at the BBC. First recordings on acetate disc, equipment used. Countryside programmes on BBC Light Programme. Ludwig Koch's recordings. Use of parabolic reflectors. Recording migrant birds, use of hydrophones for underwater recordings. Recording insects. Early microphones. Educational use of recordings. Working in the visual media. Recording badgers. Working on his own and with Stanley Unwin, Reg Piddsley and Bob Wade. Favourite recordings and his published work.

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Eric Simms was one of our greatest natural history broadcasters. He began his long career with the BBC in 1950 when he succeeded the legendary Ludwig Koch as wildlife sound recordist, script writer and programme producer for natural history. He made almost 8000 broadcasts including the long running monthly Countryside programme from 1952 to 1990. He also wrote many books and articles on ornithology including ''Voices of the Wild'' and ''Birds of the Air: an autobiography of a naturalist and broadcaster''. Eric and colleagues achieved many firsts in field recording techniques and methodology. To give just one example, his team was the first to record the complete vocabulary of the Stone Curlew, including conversational calls between an unhatched chick and its parent 24 hours before it emerged from the egg.

Posted by Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, British Library on 28/05/2009 11:50:00