Bill McQuay is an audio producer with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For fifteen years McQuay was an NPR sound engineer and technical director for NPR programs including Morning Edition, Weekend Saturday and Sunday, Performance Today and NPR's Radio Expeditions. Radio Expeditions is where McQuay began his long time collaboration with NPR science correspondent Christopher Joyce, a creative relationship that continues today.
McQuay led NPR's early surround-sound recording effort and was its first technical director. Many of these surround-sound recordings were featured in Radio Expeditions Presents, a public event sponsored by NPR and its member stations throughout the country. In 2007, McQuay, along with a team from NPR and the National Geographic Society, presented a ' Concert of Animal Sounds' in the Forbidden City Concert Hall Beijing, China featuring the surround sound recordings from Radio Expeditions. McQuay was also the mastering engineer for NPR Classics CD's.
In addition to his recent work with Christopher Joyce heard on Morning Edition, McQuay has recently collaborated with NPR Senior Interactive Designer Wes Lindamood to create a series of 'made for headphone listening' soundscapes available on NPR's Sound Cloud.
McQuay's work with NPR has received a variety of awards including a Grammy for the NPR recording of the Benjamin Britten War Requiem in 2000, a 2001 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Journalism award with the Radio Expeditions reporting and editing team, and a 2002 individual artist award from the Maryland State Arts Council. In 2016 McQuay shared in the Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine for the NPR series Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound.
The National Park Service is racing to record soundscapes of each park that capture nature for the ear. "If we start to lose sounds of wilderness, we start to lose a piece of us," one scientist says.