“Open Source” Radio?

Blogarithms: The Future of Public Radio
An insightful piece on challenges facing public radios. Well, insightful to one who has been thinking some of the same thoughts. Been meaning to send some ramblings on podcasting so this is as good a time as any.
Was pretty much raised with «CBF Bonjour», the “morning show” on the AM station for Radio-Canada (CBC). All the same, have never been a big fan of radio. Recently started to listen to podcasts with iTunes 4.9. Been observing some trends. And in fact listened to several episodes of “podcasted public radio.”
One thing public radio does that podcasting cannot do is to receive live calls from the audience. For instance, Open Source, the program mentioned by this blog entry, gets calls from both guests and audience members. One thing that’s really easy to notice, though, is that those live shows are very directly controlled, including the calls. Not necessarily for content, though there’s some responsibility in the host’s reaction to calls, but certainly in timing. As can be expected, this often means that no actual conversation can take place because the show is constantly “running out of time” (especially with all those “breaks” which, thankfully, aren’t included in the podcast version).
With podcast versions of live shows, there’s no way to interact with the guests directly. In the case of Open Source, most calls come from Massachusetts (for practical reasons). So we end up with static content controlled by a small group of people. As recording engineers know, “live” rarely translates into good recordings.
Where’s the community here? The local community for the specific station? Not quite as these shows are supposed to be made available to a wider audience. Those whose views correspond to those of the host? Maybe, but angles aren’t typically acknowledged.
Thing is, podcasting do encourage conversations. Some of them live (thanks to Skype, among other things) but many of them “time-shifted” which permits reflection, preparation. Those do encourage community building.

Author: enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast.

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