Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Trevor Baylis - a lifetime of inventions

Trevor Baylis interviewed in 2014 by BBC News
I'm delighted to hear that the British inventor Trevor Baylis has been awarded another New Year's honour for his untiring work to defend entrepreneurs and inventors in the UK. Trevor is still active, helping entrepreneurs from a his latest venture - check out and support the TBB website.

Many of us still remember Trevor and his wind-up radio which first hit the headlines in 1994. I organised a conference for Radio Netherlands at the International Broadcasting Convention IBC between September 11-14th 1995. We decided to celebrate the fact that we were 5 years away from a new Millennium by looking at the technologies that would carry us forward. That included a look at different codings for DAB, a reality check on radio by Sri Lankan broadcaster Victor Goonetilleke and a special performance about the Clockwork Radio from Trevor Baylis, the British inventor who turned up in Amsterdam and charmed the audience with his frank, funny and brilliant introduction to the concept of wind-up radios. 

A few weeks after the conference we produced a special CD for those who took part. This is a copy for those who missed it. It's double the length of a normal Media Network, just over an hour.

Despite the apparent success of Trevor's wind-up radio and several follow-up products employing similar technology including a torch, a mobile phone charger and an MP3 player, Baylis says he received almost none of the profits. Due to the quirks of patent law, the company (Freeplay) he went into business with to manufacture his radios were able to tweak his original design, which used a spring to generate power, so that it charged a battery instead. This caused Trevor to lose control over the product. More about the challenges he faced here.

By the time 1996 started, Diana Janssen was firmly established as the co-host of Media Network. I had enormous fun putting the show together each Wednesday evening. In fact this was one of the few editions where I didn't co-present (on a family holiday). But the programme was in capable hands. Smart Lady.

This edition covers modifications to the Baygen clockwork radio and features an interview with Trevor Baylis. There is also the first airing of Media Race 1996. Radio Vilnius hires a radio transmitter in Juelich, Germany. HCJB and Radio Norway announce expansion and VOA tests its new site in Sao Tome. America 1 signed a joint venture agreement to distribute public radio across Europe - remember this is well before Internet audio is good quality was available to the public. 

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