Thursday, December 28, 2006

the time is nigh

maybe over the past few years you've heard about the low-power fm radio movement, but have never really quite gotten the gist of it? well here's a force for good that will not only help you understand more, but may even get you thinking about how you, yes you, can get tangled up in the airwaves. the radio for people coalition is made up of prometheus radio, the national federation of community broadcasters, pacifica radio and public radio capital.

there's an especially good reason to learn more about LPFM right now: the FCC is opening a ONE WEEK LONG licensing window for new public radio stations in early 2007, which it hasn't done since 2000. this is major! this is historical! this means that interested parties will have just one week to submit applications in support of their stations. even if you're not sure about getting directly involved, radio for people can use your help in other ways - with donations, by sending emails to media organizations and other potential allies, and by helping organize an effort already under way near you.

what better way to start off the new year than by helping bring a new radio station on-air?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

she's listening

ok it's seeming like all i had to do was whine a little bit about radio/audio not being taken seriously by the media and the next thing i know, news about sound and radio is popping up all over the place. so be it!

recently the chicago tribune ran an involved feature story about audio zealot jesse seay, and the project she's been organizing over the past few months, which i wrote about a while ago: your favorite chicago sounds.

there's also a flash slide show which scrolls through a few photos of jesse and a variety of noisy creatures she encountered in a day's recording session around chicago, as the actual recordings offer a soundtrack behind the images. it's kind of ironic - the fancy visual accompaniment to the story about an audiophile. but all of the respect and attention paid to jesse and her project is well-deserved, and very satisfying to see so prominently displayed in the tribune.

by the way, if you have a favorite chicago sound to share, or are dying to know which sounds others find so pleasing (as you might imagine there are a lot of mentions of the el, and the ice cream trucks, and lake-related noises, but some less predictable choices too: 'millions of different pronounciations of the word Goethe' and 'the howling man at damen/north/division' ) you can take care of all of these things right here.

progress, already?

apropos to the previous post, it may be that a great leap, or at least small step has been made in the 'radio valued as an art form' category.

united states artists
, a brand new grant-giving organization that impressively and IMPORTANTLY gives monies annually to actual individual artists, announced the recipients of their first ever USA fellows, including two public radio producers. congratulations to dmae roberts and dave isay, who will each receive $50,000 to support their future creative efforts. AND they've been now deemed artists, whether they like it or not. additionally, visual artist nick cave, who builds these amazing sound suits, also received the prize.

this firm and very public recognition of radio as an art form seems a good enough note to end the work day on. it's 10 degrees in chicago.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

watch then listen

we've been talking a lot around TCF HQ about the lamentable lack of media coverage of radio as an artistic medium. in the US radio's not regularly reviewed or critiqued as films and books are, and it's seldom covered, say...on the radio. [when was the last time you heard terry gross interview a radio producer about a radio story? when was the last time you heard her talk to a HBO tv series producer, or film producer? or author? or comedian?]

so we've basically been contemplating how to bring more attention to radio culture. in the meantime, dutch producer wim vandenbussche's hit upon a timely way to do just this, and has undoubtedly drawn thousands of extra ears to a recent production of his that aired on a sunday night on
radio 1.

check out this
youtube video he posted recently, which features a particularly charismatic belgian toilet attendant. be sure to watch until the end, and in case you don't speak dutch here's a tip from Wim: "What you read at the end of the clip is: YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE MORE OF THIS? WELL, THEN LISTEN! and then we lead the viewer to our programme and website. "

not only is the video somewhat disturbing, unforgettable AND brilliant, IT'S AN AD FOR A RADIO DOCUMENTARY!! and while the video's a far cry from a radio review section in the back of
harpers magazine, it makes me realize there there are some new ways to think about how to turn more people on to the great wide world of radio storytelling.

we'll get right on that.
(suggestions welcome)