Dennis Haarsager's rolling environmental scan for electronic media. "Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." --Jerry Garcia "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." --Bob Seger
Wondering what KCET in Los Angeles is planning to program now that it’s severing its PBS membership? Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times and Kevin Roderick in LA Observed provide some early information. Thanks to @tomwhiteindc for the tip. --Dennis
Verne G. Kopytoff writes of the pretty intense and growing competition for streaming rights to fresh film and television product. He writes:
… The weakness of the streaming service is movie selection. Netflix’s catalog of 20,000 streaming movies does not include many recent Hollywood hits because Netflix has been unable to negotiate rights from all the studios. Netflix has about five times as many titles in its DVD catalog. ¶ Many of the company’s studio deals require it to delay making titles available — either on DVD or online — until they have been on store shelves for 28 days. …
Liz Gannes reports on a study of 90 children age 3-12 in the U.S. and Israel by Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group of a wide variety of children's websites, including PBS Kids. The study concludes that, unlike adults, children are more app oriented than search oriented. Interesting reading. Link: GigaOM. --Dennis
I’ll not comment on it because I work at NPR, but Staci Kramer has a lengthy article describing the live launch today (9/8) of a local journalism effort among NPR and partner public radio stations built around content verticals. Check it out. Link: paidContent.org. --Dennis
That in turn enabled me to find and listen to lots of his material on the web, including quite a few on YouTube. My favorite so far is the one on Fibonacci numbers. If you’re under 40 and have never heard of him or if you’re a radio professional (and especially if you’re a radio professional under 40), you owe it to yourself to spend some time with these.
Mr. Nordine turned 90 this spring, but check out this video interview by Andrew Gill of WBEZ in Chicago. It shows that his brain and awesome pipes are nowhere near 90. Link: WBEZ.org.
His Word Jazz radio program is available as a podcast. It’s still running as a radio series on WBEZ 91.5 in Chicago at midnight Monday mornings Central Time. --Dennis
I was born on the leading age of the baby boom and FM radio was non-existent in our part of the country when I was growing up. So my introduction to radio was on my family’s Coronado console radio with “magic eye tuning” back when soap operas, evening dramas and westerns, and variety shows still were popular on radio. When I started one-room country school in 1953, our teacher would play a story lady program from KUSD in Vermillion, South Dakota for those of us in the younger grades, so what we now call public radio on AM was one of my earliest media sources.
In my early teenage years, I collected QSL (verification) cards from AM stations all over the country, and KUSD’s towers could be seen blinking at night from where we lived 15 miles away. AM radio had a sort of romantic pull, best memorialized in the 1973 movie, American Graffiti, where Wolfman Jack spun records in the shack under a tower. My first electronic gadget was a 6-transistor AM radio, bought circa 1962 for $21 ($149 today by CPI), and on it I listened to all the top 40 music I could find on KAAY, KOMA and, of course, Dick Biondi on WLS.
When I got out of the Air Force in 1969 and needed a job to help pay for college, KUSD seemed to be a good place to look, and I landed one there. I was now sitting in the shack under the tower as a weekend transmitter operator, but rather than spinning records, all I had to do was get out of my chair every half hour and read the meters. A few years later, I did the engineering to drop in an FM station for KUSD and, quite some time after I left, they shut down the AM station and took down the towers. It’s starting to look like that will be the fate of other public radio AMs.
In the August 9 issue of the public broadcasting industry newspaper, Current, Karen Everhart has what is, therefore, for me a sad recounting of the difficulty of building an audience for public radio news programming on the AM band. She writes:
… Decisions about audience service priorities have never been easy for public radio stations that broadcast both news and music programming, but they’re especially confounding for those with AM stations. AM’s low audio fidelity and interference problems make the frequencies more suitable for news/talk than music, but listeners’ habits of scanning the left end of the FM dial for public radio are so deeply ingrained that building a loyal audience on AM would be a Sisyphean labor. …
Yes, it is difficult to build audiences there. When I took over as GM of KWSU(AM) in 1978, 70% of listening in the market was to AM, but by the mid-80s, that ratio had flipped. The AM band has been greatly compromised as ably described in Karen’s article, and that’s led to it becoming a sort of remainder store for all manner of programming that can’t make it on FM. Public radio alone won’t make a difference there because the AM band is such a rundown neighborhood. The neighborhood determines in large part the value of your property. Even if HD takes hold on the AM band, unless the band is used again for something other than political and religious screamers, cellar-dwelling baseball teams, and the like, the fidelity improvement alone won’t make a difference. --Dennis
first iteration of online video was about silly pet tricks on YouTube,
the next wave will be about professionally produced full-length content
such as TV shows, movies and live sports,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer
senior analyst. “This shift will be propelled by a combination of
technology integration, demographics and a growing comfort level with
the idea of watching video hosted on Websites.”
Public and noncom media is the focus of the next FCC "Future of Media" workshop Friday in Washington, D.C. Subjects include: Potential for greater collaboration among public broadcasters, PEG channels, noncommercial web-based outlets, and other new media entities; infrastructure needs and assets of public and other noncommercial media; and possibilities for new kinds of noncommercial media networks and associated funding models. … There'll be a streaming video feed of the event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m [Eastern time].
Kevin Kelly has a good post introducing what he calls “The Shirky Principle.” Clay Shirky states:
Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are a solution.
Shirky made his quote in a recent talk, a bit from his upcoming book Cognitive Surplus. Shirky also referred to a similar idea in a recent blog posting about the ways in which media companies and the media industry are often constitutionally incapable of changing because they are still solving the last problem.
… In the future, at least some methods of producing video for the web will become as complex, with as many details to attend to, as television has today, and people will doubtless make pots of money on those forms of production. It’s tempting, at least for the people benefitting from the old complexity, to imagine that if things used to be complex, and they’re going to be complex, then everything can just stay complex in the meantime. That’s not how it works, however. … ¶ … Some video still has to be complex to be valuable, but the logic of the old media ecoystem, where video had to be complex simply to be video, is broken. Expensive bits of video made in complex ways now compete with cheap bits made in simple ways. … ¶ When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. …
It's nice to see that CPB is still investing in PBCore, the public media metadata standard. Today, it announced a 2.0 development project. The press release:
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting today announced the launch of the PBCore 2.0 Development Project. ¶ The PBCore 2.0 Development Project will expand the existing PBCore metadata standard to increase the ability, on one hand, of content producers and distributors using digital media to classify and describe public media content (audio and video) and, on the other, of audiences to find public media content on a variety of digital media and mobile platforms. ¶ The PBCore 2.0 Development Project will also work to enhance the PBCore standard to ensure that it will be able to satisfy the demands of multiplatform digital content as well as an evolving World Wide Web. Since PBCore’s development in 2005, it has become not only one of the most widely-used metadata standards in the world, but also the basis of other metadata standards. At the same time, in the last five years, the number of digital media applications that would benefit from PBCore has grown significantly. An updated PBCore will benefit not only public broadcasters, but all users of metadata standards based on PBCore. ¶ PBCore 2.0 will be managed by WGBH, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions and Digital Dawn. For more information on the PBCore 2.0 Development Project, please go to www.pbcore.org.