|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
|Industry||Cultural, museums, tourist attractions|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Products||audio and multimedia tours|
Antenna International (formerly Antenna Audio) produces audio tours and multimedia interpretation for many museums, art galleries, heritage sites and visitor attractions around the world. Antenna is the largest company in the industry, with 550 clients, serving 63 million people across the world each year and a million downloads of their apps.
Antenna Theater and the early 1980s
Antenna International originated as the experimental theater group Antenna Theater group, in California during the early 1980s. Founded and led by Artistic Director Chris Hardman, Antenna’s purpose was to explore ways of changing the relationship between theater and its audiences by incorporating a variety of artistic disciplines and new technologies into the experience. The scripts were based on interviews conducted by the artistic staff and then edited into a cohesive narrative and soundtrack. Audience members (known as “audients”) donned earphones, and then walked through theatrical environments, often becoming actors in the drama they heard unfolding on the recording. The performances included electronic media, oversized masks, puppets, sculptures and site-specific sound designs. Chris Hardman developed Walkmanology for the Antenna Theater's first public production, High School, which premiered at Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley, California, in 1981.
Interpretive Audio Tours and the late 1980s - 1990s
Antenna Theater redirected the company’s focus and established a division to produce interpretive audio tours for other non-profits throughout the country. Building on their experience in sound design and creative scriptwriting, Antenna Audio Tours was established in 1984. Using the oral histories, interviews, original music, and sound effects that were the hallmark of Antenna Theater’s live performances, Antenna Audio Tours created audio environments in historical and cultural institutions. The first production was the Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour at Alcatraz Island penitentiary in San Francisco bay, for the National Park Service, which is still being used today.
Antenna Audio and the late 1990s – 2000s
At the same time that Antenna Audio Tour was developing, Iain Burton’s London based Arts Communications and Technology Ltd (ACT) was developing the concept of using an audio portable CD_ROM to provide audio commentary at visitor attractions. With funding by Andy Hill, to make a prototype, Burton presented his new device to Neil MacGregor of The National Gallery in London who signed a contract for what became the “Gallery Guide”. The Gallery Guide expanded to Australia and the United States in 1994 and through Europe in 1995. The company expanded in with various logistical departments based in London and agents throughout the world. In 1998, Antenna Audio Tours was acquired by ACT, then the leading audio tour company outside of the United States. The acquisition was after successfully working with Antenna Audio Tours for three years prior to the merger, and the companies became Antenna Audio.
Antenna Audio was acquired by Discovery Communications in 2006, who on March 29, 2007 announced their intent to sell Antenna Audio to Cox Communications as part of a multi-billion dollar transaction. "Travel Media’s ownership of Antenna Audio was initially part of the deal, but was later excluded by mutual agreement of the two parties."
Antenna Audio was acquired by The Wicks Group of Companies L.L.C. in October 2010 and subsequently changed the company's name to Antenna International. Antenna International currently has an in-house teams of producers, writers, music and sound engineers, linguists, operations, sales and marketing staffers.
- Antenna Lab was formed in 2013 as the company's digital think tank. Members of the Digital Media and Technology teams perform research on rapid prototyping, digital innovation and emerging platforms. The Lab also delivers consultancy and training about mobile technology.
Notable Narrators and Interviewees
- Pierce Allman, Reporter who filed live report of US President John F. Kennedy's assassination
- Angélica Aragón, Mexican Telenovelas actress
- Hamish Bowles, editor-at-large for US Vogue
- Dakota Fanning, American Child and young adult actress
- Andy Garcia, Cuban American Actor
- David HockneyEnglish painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer
- Steve Martin, American actor, comedian, musician, author, screenwriter, film producer and voice over artist
- Sarah Jessica Parker, American actress, model, singer and producer. Most well known as Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw
- Diana Widmaier Picasso, granddaughter of Pablo Picasso
- John Richardson, Biographer of Picasso
- Omar SharifEgyptian actor best known for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl
- Meryl Streep, American Actress, nominated for 18 Academy Awards (winner of 3)
- John Waters, American film director, screenwriter, actor, comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector
The company has won multiple awards in the cultural and interpretation sector.
- American Alliance of Museums MUSE Awards; Most recently in 2014 for the "Access Tour" of the USS Midway Museum
- D&AD, Design and Art Direction (UK)
- Museum and Heritage Awards for Excellence
Regional offices are in the following locations:
- United Kingdom - London,EMEA HQ
- United States - Norwalk, Connecticut, America HQ
- Germany - Berlin
- France - Paris
- Netherlands - Amsterdam
- Italy - Rome
- Spain - Barcelona
- Poland - Warszawa
- Thailand - Bangkok
- Taiwan - Taipei
- Antenna International: About us
- Archived reviews at antenna-theater.org.
- NPS.gov information.
- PRnewswire.com information.
- Sec.gov information
- List of Awards
- MUSE Awards 2009
- Museums & Heritage Awards 2010
- BAFTA Awards 2002