Wednesday, February 28, 2007

sound of the times

the public radio world is in a state (or many) of flux right now. ideas about how and what radio should provide for listeners is changing, and theories about how radio will stay relevant in this digital age abound. it's obvious that the internet and other myriad technologies have permanently altered the way we consume information and communicate with others. and there's this hovering concern that Real Live Radio Stations may soon just go away (i get asked, often, if i'm afraid for my job).

but there's also a competing notion gaining ground in public radio, and that, contrary to the trends in global reach and unlimited access to...everywhere, concentrates on developing community, addressing the needs and issues of a particular place, and showcasing local participation.

remember when the phrase 'community radio' conjured sneers and visions of dangling peace signs, bongs in the production studio and ranting hippies on the air? let's just say that things have changed. and you'll begin to see/hear the evidence sooner than later. especially if you live in milwaukee, where 88nine radio milwaukee launched this week with a former top executive of one of the biggest public radio stations in the country at its helm.

in other words, it's an exciting time to be Listening. good things await us. or at least the potential for good things awaits us.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


hey chicagolandians, if you're craving some audio nourishment out in the world (besides the pre-recorded CTA announcement about mechanical troubles, or the one that reveals 'your operator has left the train.') you're in luck. here are two worthwhile events for your near future .

1. geophonobox - sonic surveys of place march 2 - 28 / around the coyote gallery: 1935.5 w. north ave.

Come check out a whole mess of recordings about 'place', made by field recordists, ethnographers, sound artists, composers, and others. highlights include sounds of, or representing, coastal florida and a bombing range in nevada, and each piece also includes a cardboard shipping box with relevant visual references. like sunbleached fish carcasses...

2. third coast festival listening room - brings on radio's freshest voices
february 28 / steppenwolf's garage theater: 1624 n. halsted / email to reserve a seat / $6 or $4 for students

the first TCF listening room of the year's coming up. here's your chance to hear some of the most original and honest work being made by young producers all over the country. i can guarantee there'll be stories of all kinds - funny, disturbing, provocative, and sweet. AND some hot debate about the current state of public radio. and, of course, cookies afterward.

Monday, February 12, 2007

glorious intrusion

i don't mean to project. but...

perhaps the recent deep-freeze winter weather (combined with an inefficient home heating system resembling a plane taking off in volume and a daily commute that regularly includes train delays, broken-down buses, louder than usual ipod noise pollution and regular passenger fistfights) has put you on edge, and you're beginning to consider your daily existence utterly meaningless in such an unkind world?

take ten minutes, then, to comprehend the astonishing musical potential inherent in the mundane, regular tasks that might ordinarily contribute to this pressing ennui. you'll never regard your blender, vacuum cleaner or dental floss the same again.

thanks to nadene, from the mighty new adventues in sound art team norther than here, for pointing out the link.