Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the sounds of delay

bleh. i'm ready to get this listening room tour thingee going, but it's rainy and windy and everything's delayed out of o'hare today, including my flight to oklahoma city. the sounds of the airport are predictable, and relentless:

- CNN headline news / how BOUT that boy scout-saving dog gandolf?!
- the dept. of homeland security still has a thing for orange
- beep. beep. (higher tone) beep. beep. (low tone) beep.
- ringtones. could post an entire essay about cell phone ringtones. but am not about to.
- in case you haven't been paying attention lately, smoking's prohibited in the airport. this is a very popular announcement.
- the phone at gate G3's check-in counter keeps ringing, with news of further delay, i'm sure.

and can't quite hear it, but the SENSE of frustration and defeat amongst fellow travelers is palpable. everyone's gloomy, and i can already hear the collective groan that the next flight status update announcement will inspire.

(after typing that, while looking for an eye-catching 'flight delay' image, a flight to nashville was cancelled, at which point the expected collective groan was replaced with a collective gasp of disbelief.)

time to wander...apparently there's an art gallery in here somewhere...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

portable listening room

i've just replaced my trusted old grey duffel bag, ordered from an l.l.bean catalogue (?!) fifteen years ago, with a rolly suitcase [somewhere between rust and orange - the color of my childhood bedroom actually - my dear parents tried to approximate a horse stable as best they could] that will fit in the overhead compartment on a plane. for some unfathomable reason i'd held out all this time, despite the fact that i probably fly with carry-on luggage 8-10 times a year. after sprinting the entire length of o'hare a couple weekends ago clutching that duffel bag in a clumsy, strained bear hug, i'd decided it was time for wheels.

so i found the above-mentioned fine item at a discount luggage store just in time for next week's adventures in the southwest. the third coast festival listening room is touring! which means from march 21-24 i'll be presenting a bunch of our favorite radio stories to a room full (we hope) of radio producers, audio fans, people just like YOU, in three cities - oklahoma city (march 21), austin (march 22) and houston (march 23 and 24). this is the rock band tour i never got to take Back In The Day, complete with merch to sell, sound checks and radio documentary encores.

ok, i'm not really anticipating any encores demanded. but i DO like the sound of 'radio documentary encores.' and will be armed with a few appropriate audio gems, just in case.

hey, if you happen to live in any of those places, hope you'll consider coming out for the show, or if you know someone living in any of those places, hope you'll pass this information along. it's going to be fun, i swear.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

sea lions and tortoises and flightless cormorants, oh my

the national geographic channel is about to broadcast a tv documentary about the galapagos islands, and to pre-promote the special they've built a small website with a basic overview of the geology, flora and wildlife found in the region. in addition to stunning photos (no surprise there) they've also posted field recordings by the venerable chris watson, which you should listen to with a good set of headphones.

here's the basic link - once you get there click on "launch site." i recommend you skip the opening video and get right in there. you can control the audio at the bottom right of your screen.

as you might have suspected, the animal above is NOT a giant tortoise from the galapagos islands, but rather a picture i took of peter, my sister's very charismatic pet turtle, when i was visiting her in philadelphia a few weeks ago. i'm enjoying listening to watson's recordings and pretending the tortoise grunts are coming from peter.

Friday, March 09, 2007

voice of smanda

the last i heard from john pederson, he was working on a public radio story about beekeeping, up in minnesota somewhere. cut to earlier today, many months (a few years?) later, when i fished an email from him out of my spam filter, and found out he's in indonesia on a fulbright scholarship and just helped a high school in sekayu launch a community radio station - the first of its kind in the country.

suara smanda, or the voice of smanda is totally inspiring, and worth checking out. and john's keeping a blog and another blog about his experiences in indonesia, if you want to read more / see some beautiful photos.

it's nice to observe someone else's trajectory over time, and cheer from the sidelines...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

get your capes on

further evidence that things are changing in the world of public radio...

the public radio exchange, with the help of a grant from the corporation for public broadcasting, has just launched the public radio talent quest - an american idol-esque contest that hopes to flush out the next radio rock star from the millions of listeners Out There who just might have what it takes. think you've got a shot? then get busy refining your 'hostiness' capabilites, and give it a go.

if the thought of speaking into a microphone terrifies you, or if you're generally opinionated about what you like and dislike, you can instead help decide who's got the chops to become the next radio rock star. Sign up to help judge the submissions.

p.s. what's up with 'get your capes on?' every time i hear the word quest i think of capes. mine would be orange.

disclaimer: i'm a judge for this thing.