Sue MacGregor at the Edinburgh Book Festival -
When I started on Radio 4's Today programme in the 1980s (we still typed the scripts on ancient typewriters - with a carbon copy for the producer), getting hold of anyone abroad, be they correspondent or foreign politician, in what was called "quality" mode, involved a series of complicated international telephone connections - with no guarantee that the end result would be audible. Or even that the contributor would be there at all, and not have popped out of the studio for a cup of tea, fed up with waiting.
Now, though, satellite phone connections are generally so crystal clear that "abroad" doesn't sound exotic any more. Correspondents from Delhi to Djibouti, from Afghanistan to Antartica, might as well be sitting in the studio in London (and perhaps sometimes wish they were). Even bog-standard mobile phone connections can be in pretty impressive quality. On Any Questions on a Friday night, you might hear a politician airing his or her views from a parked car near a motorway if they've misjudged the traffic jams. Before mobiles they never made it on air.
Full story at The Guardian