Tuesday 12 December 2017

Horns of a dilemma for RTE as complaints flood in from viewers

Michael McHale

RTE last night lodged a complaint to world football body FIFA over the noise that's driving soccer fans crazy.

RTE confirmed that it had received numerous complaints from irate viewers tuning into the World Cup since it began on Friday. And they all have one thing on their mind -- the deafening din being created by thousands of vuvuzelas in packed South African stadia.

"The sound emanating from a ground is part of the signal received by every broadcaster," a spokeswoman for RTE said.

"We are currently working with our sound department to try and reduce the incoming levels in favour of our commentary teams but that will only make a small difference."

While RTE and other broadcasters are hoping for FIFA to act, one Irish academic claims to have come up with an answer.

DCU engineering lecturer Sean Marlow claims to have perfected a way to reduce the noise of the vuvuzelas on a television, without missing out on the insightful remarks of pitchside commentators such as George Hamilton and Ray Houghton.

"I was with my colleagues over lunch and we got talking about the vuvuzelas," he said yesterday. "The type of work we do at the school of engineering here includes noise reduction, so I tried to find some information about the horns to see what I could do.

"I downloaded the noise of the vuvuzela from the internet and figured out the frequency. Then it was just a matter of putting it through a computer application -- many can be downloaded for free from the internet -- and immediately the noise can be reduced without losing out on the commentary."


Mr Marlow has already informed RTE about his eureka moment, but has yet to hear back about whether the broadcaster will take his idea on board. The lecturer insists he has no intention on cashing in on his words of wisdom. "I'm just a football fan so I'll be happy to watch the World Cup in peace."

Some are welcoming the introduction of the vuvuzelas into public consciousness -- for African shops in Ireland, it has led to an unexpected boom.

"We got in 100 vuvuzelas last week and we've just five left now," said Siobhan Magnus, manager of the Jabula store in Dublin. "Our shop in Cork has already sold out. We've just ordered in more directly from South Africa so they should be delivered to us by freight in the next couple of days."

Irish Independent

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