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Opinion: China, the Moon, and the power of radio

China’s weekend landing on the moon of a highly sophisticated rover vehicle was unique in many aspects, not the least of which was the international media coverage of the event. The story lasted on the front burners of major news organizations for about a day, and even in China, the impact of the story faded fast.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) – the grande dame of radio news, was one of the few news organizations outside of China to cover the event live. BBC and RTE (Irish National Radio) veteran Leo Enright provided BBC’s breaking news coverage of the event, and Enright, who began covering aerospace events for the BBC with the Apollo program, didn’t disappoint his listeners.

Enright was huddled in front a monitor carrying a live feed from the Chinese Space Agency, with blurred images from the lunar lander’s cameras and telemetry signals providing Enright with his information. Combining his vast knowledge of spaceflight with the most rudimentary of information being provided to him, Enright was able to describe the successful landing by the Chinese in vivid and effective terms.

Sometimes an old broadcast pro reminds us that the spoken word, together with our imaginations, remains a powerful method to convey news and information.

You can listen to Enright’s dramatic report here:


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