Tag Archives: summer

ROS as a Podcast

Good news and bad. Radio Open Source is going on a summer hiatus but it might in fact come back as a “new and improved” podcast.

Open Source » Blog Archive » We Interrupt This Program…

Many of you have told us to forget about conventional public broadcasting and concentrate on producing the best damn podcast on the Internet. So in order to clear our heads, accentuate the positive and focus resolutely on the future, we need to step back for the moment from daily production.

In the past, I haven’t been coy about my opinion of that show. In fact, I’m truly grateful to the staff for letting me know that my comments were read by some of the producers. Despite the tone, mine was a “modest proposal” and I’m quite glad that it has been read.

This ROS summer hiatus puts things in a slightly different perspective. Especially with regards to number-crunching. I tend to be more of a qualitative type but figures matter to a lot of people. In this case, audience numbers and monies.

The crux of the matter for ROS is funding. The radio program just lost a major sponsor. They received a sizable grant and impressive donations but, apparently, these barely covered debt. In the podcasting context, this sounds a bit awkward. Most amateur podcasts run on extremely tight budgets. Radio experts are likely to say that amateur podcasts are also, on average, poorly produced. Yet, as a listener of podcasts produced in both national and home studios, I must honestly say that I barely notice the difference. Radio experts may also say that it costs money to invite the type of guests who make a radio show a success. Yet interviews on amateur podcasts are often as insightful as what I hear on most radio shows, including ROS. I know there are many other costs associated with radio shows but for a podcast listener, it’s really hard to “hear” where the money goes.

The other type of quantative data relevant in this situation: audience numbers. While a few amateur podcasts have impressive audience numbers, it’s quite possible that the ROS audience is wider than the total number of podcast listeners in the United States. I have no idea what the numbers are but though it often sounded as an Eastern Massachusetts show, Radio Open Source is a U.S.-wide broadcast, AFAIK. It’s also a far-reaching show in terms of target audience. Despite the “Web” references, the show is quite wide in scope.  Still, it’s a bit more niche-like than the typical talk show. Which does make it more like an actual podcast.

Don’t have much time right now to go into details but I think this situation makes it plain to see what differences between podcasts and broadcasts are. And I wish there can be an actual podcast produced by the ROS team. The team is great and it’s podcast-friendly. If the blog explosion happened through out-of-work software developers (after the Internet Bubble Burst), there can be a podcast explosion through out-of-work radio producers!

Advertisements

Whereami

 Pics5 I 20060305 5 6 0 5607C201F97C05859C102584D8E129220 Mid
(It’s me, a couple of months ago.)
Was editing some older entries with ecto to add categories and tags. Saw this old one (from late March, 2k5) which was meant as an introduction/blurb. Was teaching at IUSB then. Time for an update or three.
Since then, been teaching in Massachusetts (BSC and Tufts, during the Fall 2005 semester) and Montreal (Concordia during the Winter/Spring 2006 semester). Came back to Tufts to teach during the first summer session. Currently (06-06-14 13:19:34) in Cambridge, at a condo that belongs to some friends who are spending some time in Paris for academic reasons.
So, many of us, in academia, end up moving around quite a bit. Been moving more than twice a year for the last six years. Looking forward to a bit more stability. In fact, because my wife is in Northampton, MA (doing a post-doc at Smith), my time in Massachusetts has typically been divided between the Western part of the state and the Boston area.
Speaking of my brilliant wife, she’s in Montreal right now to defend her dissertation! Can’t go myself, because of my course, but it’ll very likely be an extremely good defence (Catherine knows her stuff in and out!).
Whew! It’s weird to post entries like these but it’s probably what people expect from blogs. Even wanted to start blogging while in Fredericton, NB, in 2003. Kept sending messages to my wife instead (she was in Moncton, NB at that time). Should eventually report back on some places where my semi-nomadic lifestyle has led me in the past (Somerville, Lausanne, Baguinéda, Bloomington, Sienna, Northampton, Kassela, Zinal, Bamako, Fredericton, Mandelieux, Markala, Edimburg, Moncton, South Bend, Brockton, Hyères, Montreal, and, of course, Poggibonsi).


Baptism By Warm Fudge

Last Thursday, June 8, was my first direct encounter with the academic study of food and culture, thanks to the joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS). Was presenting a paper on craft beer and cultural identity that day, before getting a real feel of the conference. Came back psyched, hyped, pleased, happy, energized.
These two academic societies form a very interesting crowd. Been trying to find descriptive terms for that crowd, none is ideal. Welcoming, charitable, nurturing, friendly, warm, thoughtful, insightful, thought-provoking, interested, passionate…

Not only was my positive feeling of the conference strong but it was apparently shared by many attendees. A few hypotheses about this.

  • It's a very interdisciplinary context. As such, people can't assume that you have read so-and-so's work and will in fact help you to find relevant sources for your work.
  • Surprisingly enough, it's a relatively new field, this study of food and society. In fact, many attendees hadn't attended that many conferences. Less bagage than older fields.
  • People come to it from the sidelines. In fact, it's my case, coming as I do as a linguistic anthropologist and ethnomusicologist.
  • Food is associated with passions and it's quite ok to be passionate about food when you work on food and society.
  • Food has an intimate quality that goes well with a nurturing attitude.
  • Perhaps because of prevailing (though semi-hidden) gender roles, a good proportion of conference participants were women, some of them coming with kids in tow or in womb (there were four fregnant women out of 350 participants).
  • The selection of papers for presentation is quite democratic and students are certainly encouraged to present.
  • The conference is happening at a time of year when faculty members and students aren't too caught up in their work.
  • The location, Boston University, was relatively quiet during the conference.
  • Food and society scholars are likely to eat together, which generates a lot of fascinating discussion.
  • Food is a good ice-breaker.
  • Food is universal and particular, like so many other things we study in anthropology.
  • Work on food isn't necessarily part of the primary academic identity of those involved.
  • Though small and growing, food and society has a rather cohesive body of literature.

These may all just be factors in making this food and society conference such a pleasant and powerful experience.