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Podcasting? Try Pard-casting.


The most fun I ever had doing a Sound of Young America interview was when I talked to Jimmy Pardo. I know, you wouldn't expect much from the former host of a TV show called "National Lampoon's Funny Money," but Jimmy is the funniest extemporaneous speaker I've ever linked up with. He also has a wonderful old-timey quality that makes you think he should be drunk and hosting "The Match Game" with one of those long skinny microphones with the ball at the end. A charming combination.

Anyway, Jimmy's teamed up with Matt Belknap of AST Radio to produce "Never Not Funny," a new podcast. It's as funny as I have come to expect from Pardo, and it's set to feature a sort of rotating panel of comedians alongside him. I added it to my subscription list, which is a pretty exclusive one.

The Website
The Feed

Jimmy Pardo on The Sound of Young America (realaudio link)

Jen Kirkman's Blog

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I pretty much despise all personal blogs. Who cares? And lord knows I avoid MySpace blogs like the plague. Why look at MySpace when you don't have to?

But then I read Jen Kirkman's blog, which is wonderful. It's about her life in Hollywood as a comic and sometime actress... she's got brilliant things to say, and she's fantastically funny. When I was reading her stuff, I thought to myself "Why is Sandra Tsing Loh Sandra Tsing Loh, when Jen Kirkman could be Sandra Tsing Loh?"

Then I remembered that I have a radio show of my own. So I asked Jen if she would be interested in doing some sort of commentaries for The Sound. She's into it. I think we'll be doing it by phone... working title, "Your Friend in Hollywood, Jen Kirkman." I think the intimacy of telephone sound will work great with her personal stories.

Anyway, check it out, let me know what you think.

Oh! And her show, "Dork Days," is running in LA on April 10th:

Monday, April 10th @8PM
Dork Days! *new version*
Laugh and cringe at Jen's failed mission to achieve child stardom in the 1980's before nuclear war hits.
The Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Blvd Hollywood CA 90038
reservations are a must!! call now! (323) 960 5519

The Life Expectancy of a Dwarf (etc)


Ricky Jay has protrayed a Bond villain on celluloid, can kill a man with a thrown playing card in real life, and is magical on the radio.

His radio commentaries for KCRW, entitled "Jay's Journals," are one of the best thing on the internet ever.


TSOYA: "Real vs. Fake" with Ricky Jay and Brian Copeland (MP3 Link)

Funkadelic Live in 1979


This is the New Sincerity perfectly captured in a performance context. If you don't like this, you don't like living life.

Found Magazine's Cavalcade of Thrills


Our beloved pals at Found Magazine just announced another of their world-famous nationwide tours. At each stop, they share and gather found materials... notes, pictures, letters, lists. Here's the text of a found note they shared in their announcement:

BOCCE is good for letting go of your problems. It is a beautiful day, let go of your problems as you let go of your balls. Clutch the balls and really work them over in your palms until you have gathered up all of your negativity and let the balls spread it back into the earth. The earth is there for you to talk to and let go of your balls on.

They're headed to 33 cities in May and June, including San Francisco, LA, NY, Seattle, and 29 places in between.

Also, founder Davy Rothbart is a contributor to This American Life, and his piece on meeting Mr. Rogers re-runs this week on public radio stations across the country. You can hear it online here. The first time I heard it (I didn't know Davy then), I cried. Also the second time.

And I'm no cry-baby.

Davy Rothbart on The Sound of Young America: "Finders Keepers" (MP3 Link)
Two streaming interviews with Davy on The Sound: First one, second one.
Found Magazine online

Keep it up, neckties!

Keep it up, neckties!

A necktie is a great way to make any day a Day Worth Living. Keep it up, Neckties!

Rejected from NPR's "This I Believe"


From McSweeney's:

And that is why I believe I should abandon this essay and go make a sandwich. I believe the best sandwiches are made on toast. I believe they include hummus, and sprouts, and perhaps a tomato. But, above all, I believe the best sandwiches are served with a pickle.


Wired and the Public Radio Podcasting Dilemma


Wired has a very interesting piece on the financial challenges brought up by public radio's embrace of podcasting. It's sort of encapsulated by this quote, one listener's response to a local station pledge drive:

"Why would I sit through all of that if I can get what I like for free online, listen to it on my own time and not be guilted for weeks into giving money?" says Michaels, a real estate agent who says her husband donates to the station on behalf of her family. "I've even found a whole bunch of NPR shows online that aren't on NPR here, which is so great."

Many local NPR stations have basically been run as NPR (and PRI, and APM) conduits for the past ten or fifteen years, and they're now realizing that in the 21st century, radio stations no longer have exclusive license to audio content distribution. No longer does being "Your NPR News Source in the Tri-County Area" mean that listeners must turn to your station if they want interesting and informative news audio.

I'm a big advocate of podcasting, and of public broadcasting (as you might imagine, me being a podcasting public broadcaster). Everything's very much in the air, but this is how I think (hope?) things will shake out:

  • As NPR's non-station audience grows (naturally cannibalizing some local station audience), it must significantly cut the huge fees it charges stations for programming. Its online and sattelite presence will provide lots of underwriting revenue (that's the stuff that's like advertising, but isn't) , and potentially lots of private and public revenue (like the huge Jean Kroc bequest) as well.
  • Radio will remain a vital medium for many years to come, just as newspapers have. It's ubiquity and ease-of-use will not go away, though that advantage will decrease over time.
  • Stations will be forced to develop programming that means something to their audience, then distribute it through all the means at their disposal, if they want the audience to continue to care about them enough to give money.
  • "Audience" may not continue to mean only "local audience," as more stations will undertake the KPIG/KCRW model, by combining local community relevance with strong brands that promote broader (inter)national community relevance.
  • Stations that produce their own high quality programming (like WNYC and KCRW) will thrive.
  • Smaller independent program producers (that's me!) will view the radio audience and radio stations as great promotion for their podcasts, raising money directly from underwriters and listeners. Currently, TSOYA charge a big fat nothing to the stations that carry the show or our specials.

One big question here is where the non-government, non-corporate money will come from and go to. What will people care enough about to make a contribution to?

In our TSOYA Census, about 60% of the respondents said they would be willing to give directly to The Sound of Young America. Consider, though, that only about 200 of the most enthusiastic listeners responded to the census -- it's a self-selecting group.

Personally, I've given directly to Chicago Public Radio to support webstreaming of This American Life before. I've thought recently about giving some to KCRW, since I love The Business and The Treatment so much. But if people do give to content producers, will that keep them from giving to their local stations?

Tod Maffin, a CBC broadcaster, points out that "traditional" public broadcasters (those, like the CBC or BBC, supported by government funding) are in a great position, since the podcasting revolution simply gives them expanded opportunities, with only a modest added financial burden.

Of course, all of this comes at a key juncture for The Sound of Young America, as I leave KZSC (where I was bound by university policy not to have any income from the show), so I'm very interested to hear your thoughts about what kind of listening you've done in the past, what you plan to do in the future, and what you think The Sound should do.

Anyway, this isn't a manifesto, it's more of a first draft, so thoughts are appreciated.

Spike Lee on Weekend Edition

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Here’s a wonderful interview with Spike Lee from NPR’s Morning Edition. He talks a bit about The Inside Man, and is as stand-offish as he often is. He’s such a cool cucumber, he just refuses to be anything but serious and aloof about his work, but he cracks, eventually. He gets to some real answers to tough and interesting questions, like the rape scene in She’s Gotta Have It, which he says is the one scene in his films he regrets. When he’s asked whether he’d cut it out for DVD, he offers an emphatic no: “That would be the punk move.” He compares it to Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, or the Mammy in Gone With the Wind: “It’s done. It’s done.”

He closes with a great plug, "Thank you, and I really feel good about Inside Man, and I hope people come out and see it." He's nothing if not a straight shooter.


All-Star Hedberg Tribute in Minneapolis

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Word on the street is that this is selling out quickly, but there's an all-star tribute to Mitch Hedberg going down in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theater. More information here, and according to the site, "Nick Swardson, Patton Oswalt, Mike Birbiglia, Zach Galifianakis, and Dave Mordal are all on board." Doug Benson tells us via AST that he's in, too. Tickets are a totally reasonable $35, and the money goes to charity, including his memorial foundation. He was a brilliant and broadly loved comedian, and it's nice to see all these brilliant comics turning out to support his family.

Last year, we did a show the day his death became public. My guests were both comics -- Marc Maron shared a manager with Hedberg, and Al Madrigal had just gotten off tour with him a few weeks before. I talked about Hedberg with both, and we played some of his brilliant, brilliant jokes. MP3 Link

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