With: Bridgeport Above Ground Festival; Doors: 12PM; Show: 4PM; free; all ages
%28TED LEO SOLO%29; Doors: 7PM; $12; all ages
New York, NY
South Street Seaport
w DC Snipers. Free. All Ages.
Hi Tone Cafe
All Ages 9pm. $10/$12. Tickets at www.hitonememphis.com
New Orleans, LA
House of Blues - The Parish
18+ 9 pm. $11/$13. Tickets at http://www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/neworleans/
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS FESTIVAL - w Ray Lamontagne, Gomez, Stars. On Heineken Stage. All Ages. $115 3 day pass. More info at http://www.aclfestival.com
All Ages 8 pm. $10/$12. Tickets at www.superunison.com
There's a fascinating article in today's Time Out Chicago about "Secret Radio Project," a new initiative by Chicago Public Radio. CPR controls three stations -- WBEZ, WBEW, and WBEQ. Right now, WBEZ is the primary signal, while the latter two stations simulcast BEZ programming.
Recently, CPR got permission to dramatically boost the wattage of WBEW, from 7,000 watts to 50,000. With that permission came an opportunity -- what service could this new powerhouse station provide to Chicago that WBEZ didn't already offer?
In a lot of markets (here in LA, for example), two carbon-copy NPR news & information stations battle at the bottom of the dial, offering the same key programs (All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air), often at the same times. The audience for this programming is so big that this kind of move works out OK financially for both stations, but it certainly doesn't benefit the public.
Much to their credit, CPR decided to use this new frequency to target new, younger, more urban listeners. Their plan is still brewing a bit, but here's what they came up with:
“You won’t hear typical hour-long programs,” says Josh Andrews, a producer for CPR and team captain of what’s about to happen to 89.5 FM. As far as Andrews is concerned, we won’t hear typical anything. No one really knows what you’ll hear on 89.5 FM come April 2007 (if everything goes according to schedule, which is a big if). Here’s their plan: Hosts will be in charge of two-hour blocks of radio time, and they’ll be free to play whatever strikes their fancy that day. Maybe a host is still thinking about last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model, so he cues up a field report from a recent casting call for the show. Next might come a slam poet’s musings on commercial beauty, then three of the fiercest songs off of a local band’s new LP, followed by a spoof remix of James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” then an interview with a fashion photographer. Or maybe a bunch of music, or a lot of commentary. The point is, pretty much anything goes.
But—and here’s the major innovation—there’s a communal element, too. 89.5 FM will also rely on content listeners create and upload themselves to the station’s website, YouTube-style: a track off their band’s new EP, a poem, a story, a mash-up, a skit, a dog barking, a ridiculous phone message or anything else . Hosts will weave their own content with the best and most relevant user-generated segments.
Will it work? Hard to know. Part of the problem with this sort of programming strategy is that the online world is deeply fragmented, while radio is entirely linear. Will the same listener want to hear that phone message that wants to hear that dog barking? Does anyone want to hear a dog barking? Also: again with the fucking mash-ups.
OK, sorry, got off track there for a second.
Their vision is a peer-reviewed system ala digg, but even digg is hardly all general interest all the time.
Still, they've got a great commitment to the future of public media here, and an amazing platform. Talented people are involved, and I have high hopes.
Here's the the public radio of tommorow!
Last year, they created a pilot for a Daily-Show-like radio program, based on news and current affairs, with a comedy angle. A lot of folks from the NY UCB Theater were involved, as I understand it. As far as everyone I know knew, it didn't "go," and that was the end of the story.
If you're looking for some guidance in how to Be More Awesome, it would be tough to find a better starting point than eminent physicist Richard Feynman's memoir "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character."
Feynman was one of the most important physicists of the 20th century -- he was a key part of the Manhattan Project, his Feynman Diagrams are still an important part of physics, and he did some other physics-y stuff that I will never understand.
This book, however, is more concerned with things like his roles in various musical theater productions at MIT... while he was a professor. And taking time out of his busy schedule as The Nation's #1 Physicist to play with plates in the cafeteria. In short, the man was an unrepentant goof -- but one who was as committed to his goofing as he was to his Serious Endeavours. In fact, the plate spinning lead to some of his most important work.
He writes about much of this in the book, which is one of the most entertaining I've ever read.
And get a load of this: you can get a copy used on Amazon for a buck and a quarter.
I'd like to have transcripts of the show to offer on the website as an added service, more quickly readable, more quickly scannable, more searchable.
I don't have the money to use a commercial transcription service, which typically cost like a dollar a minute. I just posted the most recent show on Amazon's Mechanical Turk, with a pricetag of $9 (it would be a bit more, but for weird Amazon reasons, it has to be $9 or less for the moment). If you're interested in doing it for that much money, you can go to the Turk, sign up, transcribe away, and get $9.
If you have any other bright ideas, please let me know.
The Human Giant are a comedy group you'll be hearing much more from in the next year. The group is composed of UCB improvisers Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel, standup comic Aziz Ansari, and filmmaker and TSOYA pal Jason Woliner. They're up to their necks in development deals and the like, and they've already produced one of the young 21st century's great masterpieces. Today they let loose this little indie rock joke film, which is quite enjoyable.
Here's to you, "Human Giant."
Brian Williams on The Daily Show
Charles Grodin on Letterman ~1988 Pt. 1
Charles Grodin on Letterman ~1988 Pt. 2
Answer: Dunno, but it is Very Awesome.
The guys from the Kasper Hauser Skit Club have a book coming out in six or eight weeks. As you may know, I think they're the greatest thing in the world, and after a chat about my ideas for how they should market the thing they ended up hiring me to help them develop some strategy, particularly on the internet. They're paying me a lot less than they would pay a "real" consultant, but they've done a lot for the show and for Prank the Dean for free, I think the book is HILARIOUS, and it's a great excuse for me to spend a lot of time producing the upcoming Kasper Hauser podcast. So please bear in mind that while I posted a lot about Kasper Hauser when I wasn't an employee of theirs, and technically I'm not even an employee of theirs yet, I will be starting in a month or so.
Anyway, we finally got them on MySpace (what is this, 2004?). They're still adding stuff right now to the page (look for some multimedia soon), but in the meantime, why don't you visit them, and add them, put them in your top 8, tell your friends about them, all that stuff.
Now that I'm here in LA, I've been thinking about how Sound of Young America listeners could connect in real life -- with each other and with me. I've been to a few San Francisco Podcasters meetups, and they were really great. I thought folks might be interested in having meetups, at the least here in LA, and perhaps in the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, and beyond.
Anyone have any experience doing this kind of thing? I was checking out meetup.com, and I was annoyed by the cost and by the fact that you can't create a new topic (in other words, TSOYA meetups would have to be "comedy" meetups), but maybe it's worth it.
Anyone have any bright ideas?