CBC Radio has comissioned 10 episodes of Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids, based on the tiny little reading series I started back in 2007.
It’s really difficult to explain how excited I am about this.
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Paul Adams, writing about the future of the CBC for iPolitics:
Right now, CBC treats its website as if it were an industrial by-product of the broadcast networks, like a slaughterhouse that sells off the bones for fertilizer and the hooves for glue. It’s an afterthought.
From where I sit, this feels accurate.
After raising a big fuss, I was eventually allowed to bring my bike inside, with the stipulation that it must be kept in a bag. I bought a Brompton cover from our neighbourhood Brompton dealer, Switchback Cyclery, and all has been well since.
Today, Peter sent word that there’s a new BBC series called W1A in which Hugh Bonneville plays the BBC’s Head of Values. I haven’t seen the series yet, but Peter notes that Bonneville’s character is allowed to bring his Brompton into the BBC’s Broadcasting House without a cover.
Years ago, we bought a Tivoli Model One radio for our kitchen.
At first, the tuning was rock-solid. But recently, the radio started drifting. Over time, the tuning knob got very touchy. Even if I was able to successfully tune a station, the LED would glow bright for a moment, then quickly fade. Left long enough, any station would degrade into static. Frustrating, to be sure.
I emailed email@example.com about the problem. Their suggested remedy:
It is pretty common over time for dust to collect in and around analogue tuners. Dust can cause drifting, scratchy noises while tuning, and difficulty finding stations. Regularly exercising your tuner will help to keep it dust free.
To exercise your tuner you will want to turn the radio on and turn the volume all the way down. Turn the tuning knob to the far left and then to the far right. Continue to vigorously turn this knob back and forth for two to three minutes. This will loosen any dirt or dust that may be lodged in your tuner and will recoat it in grease.
Success! After several minutes of vigorous turning, our radio’s tuning problems went away. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
Last week, I was part of a panel discussion at my alma mater (and sometimes employer) Ryerson University, talking about “Radio in a Digital Age” alongside Steve “Dangle” Glynn, Raina Douris, and moderator/former-prof/sometimes-boss Lori Beckstead.
The video’s online now:
Lori sent out a few questions in advance of the panel, and I used them to prepare a few notes (most of which I forgot). So then, for posterity:
Two interesting stories from the world of American public radio last week.
First, the creation of Radiotopia, a new podcast network:
With $200,000 in funding from the Knight Foundation, PRX will attempt to create a new model for what they call “digital-first audio programming.” The seven shows will make up a collective, helping to market one another, providing guidance on technical issues, and sharing lessons on growing audiences. Radiotopia will provide the framework for raising money through grants or Kickstarter campaigns, selling sponsorships across the network, and sharing revenue between the shows.
“Digital-first” is an interesting focus, with the potential to shake up the way stories are told in public radio. There’s a huge difference between “podcasts on the radio” vs. “radio shows that happen to be available as podcasts, too.”
Second, a nice piece by Eric Athas, summarizing NPR’s attempts to make audio “go viral”:
Audio doesn’t translate to the Internet the same way an image, video, or text article does. It’s not produced for the social web, which means it doesn’t have the look and feel of the things we’re used to sharing and seeing on Facebook and Twitter. That’s why NPR and member stations often “webify” radio stories. This process turns an audio story into a text story.
Particularly resonant is NPR’s focus on finding “must-listen” audio. That is, radio stories that contain some sonically interesting element (i.e. not just an interview) that can be excerpted and used as a hook. Examples:
[47:46] Podcasts are a very different kind of medium than most other things on the web. Most “new media” is all about getting this flood of hits, and things “going viral” (or whatever that means), and just getting tons of drive-by hit traffic.
Podcasts don’t work that way. Podcasts are based on loyalty, and getting people subscribed who are going to listen to every episode. So, there’s your core audience of people who you should cater to. That’s what the advertisers pay for. That’s what people tune in for. That core audience is the backbone of the show.
And then there’s the people who will listen to one episode and complain about it. And so you have to prioritize what you do and the way you do things to please that core audience, because they’re the ones who matter a lot more.
If you measure the success of long-form audio content using the same yardstick as a listicle, you’re doing it wrong.
While we’re on the subject, Andrew Kurjata makes some more good points about audio virality in his post on the subject.
As anyone who’s been to Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids probably knows, I’m fascinated by the relationships we have with our former selves. Most often, when a person gets up on stage to read juvenilia at GRTTWaK, there’s a distance. A distance between who they were, and who they are now. At a really basic level, I think that’s the tension that makes a GRTTWaK reading funny, or uncomfortable, or bittersweet.
And it’s a big part of what I love about Chino Otsuka’s photo series Imagine Finding Me. In it, Otsuka takes old family snapshots, and pastes in present-day versions of herself:
I first saw Otsuka’s work in Glenn Fleishman’s Glenn’s Gumbo newsletter.
Speaking of Glenn’s newsletter and nostalgia, here’s a lovely excerpt from earlier this month:
It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.
I don’t know Portuguese, but I wonder if it’s possible to feel saudade for a younger version of yourself. Because deep down, I suspect there’s a fair amount of that blowing around at GRTTWaK, too.