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Martin the Tailor

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Martin the Tailor from Ed David on Vimeo.

Lovely short doc on Martin Greenfield of Greenfield Clothiers, one of the longest-standing and most-respected made to measure tailors in the United States.

Via one of my favorite clothes blogs, A Suitable Wardrobe.

Snookles

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I used to go to Spike & Mike's Festival of Animation every year as a kid, at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. This was without a doubt my all-time number one favorite. 8-year-old Jesse laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Thanks to Chris Hardwick for reminding me of it.

Podcast: Camp Camp author Roger Bennett

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Show: 
Bullseye


Roger Bennett is co-author of "Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies." It's a collection of summer camp reminiscences and ephemera from people who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s. Contributors include AJ Jacobs, David Wain, Paul Feig and Sloane Crosley.

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Are you a Drupal template master?

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With the able help of project manager Ben Durbin, graphic designer Stefan Lawrence and interface designer Andrew Wilkinson, I am in the midst creating an all-new MaximumFun.org.

I often get offers from folks with web skills for help redesigning our (admittedly pretty awful) site. Now, I can actually use some.

Specifically, we are looking for someone who's good with Drupal themes, and can help us translate some designs into Drupal templates. (Hopefully that makes sense, because I have no idea what any of that means). You would be volunteering your time, though I can trade some exposure on the site, and potentially even some underwriting time on the show(s) if you're in business doing this. I don't think it's a huge project, but I'd love to do it with a listener who's good at doing what they say they'll do and wants to feel warm and fuzzy whenever they visit the site, knowing that they templated it (or whatever you call it).

If you can help, we need the help soonest. Email me directly at jesse at maximumfun.org.

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My mom sent me this email:

"put up NAS on colbert"

Who am I to question?

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Vaudville!

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Show: 
Bullseye

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

There we were on the back end of the '05 holiday season. You've just broken out the last Christmas cracker and...wow! A paper crown. Wait, what's this? Oh! It's author Trav S.D. talking about his vaudville book "No Applause-Just Throw Money". H. John Benjamin shares a few warm-hearted thoughts of Christmas. Listen close and you'll hear a clip of Aziz Ansari live and so much more! Sit down, put your feet up, and say goodbye to 2005 (again).

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Sound of Young America Paraphanalia

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The best way to support The Sound of Young America is to donate. But what if you're looking for crap to consume? Well, we can help you with that, too. Here's what we have to offer...

My abysmal photography skills can't do justice to our stunning new Sound of Young America art print posters. As you can see, they depict a wild carnival scene, with a young couple and their adorable child enjoying some midway maximum fun. Looks like the gentleman has already won the lady a handsome teddy bear.

Each poster is individually hand-numbered in a limited edition of 100, and signed by yours truly. Every 14"x22" poster features unique variances in printing -- these are printed by a real carnival advertising company, who still run their shop like it was 1962. The posters are printed on heavy card stock, and are most certainly suitable for framing.

Each poster is shipped in its own stay-flat box for only $15, shipping included.

SOLD OUT!


Not only are these handsome TSOYA t-shirts printed on high-quality American Apparel t's, they're also only $18, including shipping!

And what's more, they GLOW IN THE DARK!

These are some of the finest t-shirts available today. You should buy yourself one. Seriously.

Shirts are now available only at some live shows and via donation!

If you're already a MaxFun Donor, and want/need to buy a shirt, email and we'll make it happen.

Support The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye


Thank you for choosing to support the production of The Sound of Young America and MaximumFun.org!

Simply chose the level at which you'd like to subscribe below, and go through the brief and secure checkout process. Your credit card or Paypal account will be charged monthly. In the case of a $2 per month subscription, we will charge quarterly to reduce our credit card processing costs. You can cancel your subscription at any time. We ask for donation subscriptions, but if you'd rather not subscribe, you can also make a one-time donation below.

Give us your address with your donation, and you'll get thank-you gifts! Donations of $5 or more per month get a free (and awesome) glow-in-the-dark TSOYA t-shirt, and all donations get a letterpress-printed Maximum Fun Club membership card and more cool stuff!

Your donation directly supports MaximumFun.org. It's what allows me to continue to produce our shows.

Many thanks,
Jesse

PS: Please be sure your PayPal shipping address is up to date, so we can get you your stuff.


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If you have an exisiting subscription, and would like to cancel it, click here. Please note that MaximumFun.org is *not* a non-profit organization (that's super complicated), so your donation isn't tax-deductible.

The Whipmaster

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If you don't love The Whipmaster, you're probably an asshole.

Bryant Park Project & Fair Game: My Long-Winded Opinions

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LOTS of people have been emailing me for my thoughts on some recent events in the public radio world, so here are some preliminary ramblings on the subject:

National Public Radio recently canceled The Bryant Park Project, their experiment in attracting younger listeners to public radio. Not long ago, Public Radio International did the same with Fair Game. I was distressed at both cancellations, not least because The Sound came into the public radio fold on the coat-tails of the development of those two shows. I was worried: what if I'm next? Then I remembered that I own my show, and only I could cancel it... but I was still worried about fallout.

So, what went wrong? I'm not really a public radio insider, (though I did go to a public radio conference last year and I do subscribe to The New Yorker), but here's what I can see from my vantage point, and how the changing landscape will affect The Sound.

* Both BPP and Fair Game were extremely expensive. Bryant Park Project had a reported budget of two million dollars. I don't know how much Fair Game cost, but they had a sizable staff. When you're spending a lot of money, the stakes get high very quickly. I'm producing a lot less radio than either of those shows was, but my total budget is around $50K, of which $10K or so comes from stations via PRI. Most of it comes from underwriting and podcast donations. Given that all PRI is spending on my is a little overhead to have someone check in with me once a month and maybe copy some CDs for stations once in a while, the stakes here are low.

* Targeting entertainment at young people is a very dicey proposition. A commenter on Metafilter wrote scathingly that BPP was NPR's Poochie. If the reference means nothing to you, well, maybe you're out of the key demo ;). Poochie was a Homer-voiced skateboarding hip-hop dog added to Itchy & Scratchy on an episode of The Simpsons. He's also the ultimate expression of inauthentic pandering to youth. Frankly, I don't completely agree about BPP, but the allegation illustrates an important principle: when your brand has such a strong fuddy-duddy rep, even a slight whiff in inauthenticity will set your target audience off. You must guard assiduously against pretending to be anything you're not.

* There was no reason to target young people in the first place. This may sound odd coming from a guy who has a show called "The Sound of Young America," but remember: my show's title is a joke :). Getting younger listeners isn't about creating shows for younger listeners any more than getting African-American listeners is about creating shows for African-American listeners. It's about creating great shows that have diverse perspectives and are inclusive. Public radio has done a good job of the former, but a mediocre to lousy job of the latter. It's telling to me that there's a category click-box on the Public Radio Satellite System website for bluegrass, but not one for hip-hop. Public radio's perspective is monolithic, and the correction has to be systemic, it can't be ghetto-ized to a few programs.

* HD Radio isn't anything. Especially in the case of BPP, a big part of the plan for these two shows was the proliferation of outlets created by HD Radio. No one has HD Radio, and there is zero indication that anyone ever will. I say this as a guy whose station carriage is about 30 or 40% HD channels :).

* Stations aren't address duplicative programming. Both BPP and PRI's new morning show, The Takeaway, relied on the idea that stations wanted alternatives to Morning Edition, especially in places where multiple stations were playing the show at the same time. It turns out, they don't. They're happy to squabble over the Morning Edition audience. NPR could have made ME (and their other shows, for that matter) exclusive to one station per market, but they didn't.

* Podcast monetization is just coming around now, but not really for PRI and NPR. Fair Game and especially BPP were designed for a multi-platform future that's in its earliest stages. Despite speculation to the contrary, both were building very strong podcast audiences. That said, both PRI and NPR are organizations that can't afford to alienate stations, and that means they can't really go directly to listeners for money. So the only real option available to them to monetize those online audiences is underwriting, and that's a pretty modest revenue stream right now. So while both shows were relatively good at online stuff, they weren't getting much money out of it. Certainly not millions of dollars. The only long-term solution I can see to this is charging stations less money for shows, but that's a big change that is against my interests, so, uhm, pretend I never said that.

* Neither show was that great. Both shows had a lot going for them. Faith Salie is really funny and has a killer voice. Mike Pesca is my #1 superstar choice for the future of public radio. There was some great writing on Fair Game. BPP got some amazing guests (Sigur Ros, anyone?). But at the end of that first year, neither show was exceptional or remarkable or amazing. That isn't surprising -- doing something new is unbelievably hard -- but if either of these shows were This American Life, they wouldn't have gotten cancelled. This American Life almost died several times, too, but when a show wins a Peabody its first year out, you kind of gotta give it some slack. Both shows had promise, but neither show made such a compelling case that they couldn't be cancelled.

Given all of that, though, I want to be clear: neither of these shows were failures. There were problems with both, but I think now is the key moment for public radio. Does the funding of these shows generate a rush of new ideas and entrepreneurship, or does the cancellation of these shows drop the curtain on new audiences? Was this just a cover, a way to say, "well, we tried that, and it didn't work," or is it the dawn of a new era, where public radio creates more than one new show every ten years?

Anyway, here's some good news: I'm still here, and I'm not going anywhere. You guys who support this show have shown me that while I love public radio and want to continue to be a part of it, and am often optimistic about my part in it, there is a future for this operation no matter what. I don't need any gatekeepers permission to do this show -- you are the gatekeepers, and you seem very resolute in your support. So: thank you.

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