Listening notes: current podcasts

Listening notes: current podcasts

I’m a big fan of podcasts, and have been listening for a while — the oldest ones in my iTunes library date to the summer of 2005, when CBC Radio 3 launched its Canadian indie music podcast and my locked-out colleagues created CBC Unplugged. That must have been the first podcast explosion, because “podcast” was the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2005, I recently learned on a podcast. Podcast. My friends, many of them radio fiends, often trade notes on what’s a good listen right now, so I thought I’d jot a few down for anyone taking suggestions. And I am always looking for new shows, so please note your faves in the comments.   Tapestries vs. talk Broadly speaking, I split podcasts in two camps: the highly-produced audio tapestry, and the smart-people-sitting-in-a-room-and-talking shows. I like both, depending on the moment. Much respect to the Radiolabs and Serials (both tapestries) but sometimes smart people in a room are just lovely company on a crowded bus or long walk. So here are my current podcast habits, with the big ones you’ll hear about everywhere at the bottom. New listens History on Fire: Crazy long episodes, no production, wonderful storytelling. Italian-born history professor Daniele Bolelli talks for two hours at a time about things you didn’t even know you wanted to know about. Great for a roadtrip. I’m not equally interested in all the history lessons, but I highly recommend the Iceman episode, where Bolelli reconstructs the life and possible murder of a well-preserved man who lived 5000 years ago. It’s an hour and forty-four minutes. Slack Variety Pack: The debate continues on “branded”...
What TV news can learn from Jimmy Fallon

What TV news can learn from Jimmy Fallon

…or, how the internet picked the new Tonight Show host We cut cable years ago, with the idea that would make us watch less TV. Instead, I’ve become expert at finding the shows I like streaming online. It’s free and legal which is great, but the user experience ranges from meh to terrible. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was an exception. The show’s team was masterful at making it easy to watch and share their videos. The New York Times has written about Fallon’s internet success, his millions of followers on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, but noted: “it is unclear whether the videos provide a net gain by building awareness of shows, or a new loss, because viewers know they can see what they like online.” But I don’t think he’d be moving up to The Tonight Show without it. For example, I was a fan and never stayed up until 12:35 a.m. to watch. Fallon himself poked fun at his time slot in a recent sketch with the guys from Full House; Bob Saget as Danny Tanner told him no one was still awake at 12:37. Remarkably, even the show’s main landing page didn’t mention when it aired. Online, it didn’t matter. Lessons for news? We know that audiences are increasingly going online for news, and while TV is still the dominant news source (according to U.S. data from the the Pew Research Center) audiences have been shrinking. “TV” news—which I increasingly think of video storytelling, delivered however—is/will be looking to capture the eyeballs of cable-cutters like me. I’m not suggesting newsrooms set their sights on the kind of...
Making audio and video more interactive online (?)

Making audio and video more interactive online (?)

I spent an interesting day at a Digital Storytelling Unconference last weekend, out at the Network Hub in New Westminster’s impressive River Market. [Thanks to Raul and Denim and Steel for the ticket.] One of the most surprising things for me was how many different professions it brought together — game designers, educators, urban planners, etc. — all with their own cultures and skills around storytelling. So, concepts like detail and tension in narrative that are well-trod in journalism were being explored with new eyes and vocabulary. Meanwhile, I got my mind a little blown by things I know very little about but find fascinating — like storytelling and interactive dialogue in videogames (in talks by Todd and Deirdra, respectively). In all, it felt like the beginning of many more conversations to come. Interactive audio + video? I was lucky enough to facilitate a discussion about interactive video and audio online; what works and where it might go. This is something I’m currently thinking about at work, on two fronts. First, we create a lot of audio and video every day (for radio and TV, of course) and only a fraction of it ends up on our site in a way that it can be found, shared and discussed, because of the effort it takes to translate the radio and TV into text-based stories. For me, when I report a story and it doesn’t end up online, it feels as though it never happened. So how could we post more, well? Second, I wonder whether the audio and video we do post could be more interactive, or evolve somehow...
Digital Playground #2: Soundcloud as annotated audio

Digital Playground #2: Soundcloud as annotated audio

Continuing to play with digital storytelling tools… This time, SoundCloud. It’s designed for sharing music, and that’s how I encountered it. But I’ve been thinking about other uses for the timed commenting feature, which lets you link your comment to any second of the track you choose. Many comments on tracks are pretty, well, boring: “sick beats!” “nice one m8” etc. But I wonder about the potential of the timed comment as a storytelling tool. A type of annotation for audio on the web, where the online audio isn’t just delivered differently from old-school radio but also has an added interactive or explanatory dimension. Some possibilities: tag an interview clip, with a link to the person’s website, or the raw interview tag dated information with a link to updated information if the service supported it, tag a verbal description to a picture or map So I gave it a go, uploading one of my recent stories (albeit a longish one, 7+ minutes) about crowd-sourcing money for scientific research in the recent #SciFund Challenge. I added some comments with updates on how much money the projects received, and links to learn more. Does it work? I’d love to hear from you. As a radio addict, I’m not sure it does. I usually listen when I’m on the go (not at the screen) so I’m not sure I’d get much out of my favourite shows annotating their stuff. Maybe I’d want to see it on shorter pieces? On a topic I’m researching? Something educational? Hmm…. Don’t get me wrong, I have huge appreciation for the power and intimacy of radio (in whatever delivery...
Digital Playground: Storifying Hot Dog Day

Digital Playground: Storifying Hot Dog Day

I’m going to experiment with some new-to-me digital storytelling tools, and post the results. Experiment number one is a learning exercise with Storify—a tool that Openfile, CBC Community and many others use well all the time. I’d never tried it, so wanted to practice on something low-key before trying it on breaking news. Happy to report it’s very easy. So here, curated tweets from CBC Vancouver’s Hot Dog Day. Which many, without irony, call the best day of the year at CBC. [View the story “Hot Dog Day, and the fans go wild.” on Storify] Hot Dog Day, and the fans go wild. Every June, volunteers at CBC Vancouver entice employees away from our cubicles for free hotdogs, chips, veggies and conversation. Even those who generally eschew processed meat learn to love CBC’s Hot Dog Day. Storified by Lisa Johnson · Sat, Jun 23 2012 11:38:46 The anticipation builds… Hot Dog Day this Wednesday! @daveshumkaLisa Christiansen Best day on #CBC calendar RT @LisachristCBC: Hot Dog Day this Wednesday! @daveshumkaKaren Tankard …until the big day. This may not fit what you imagine about public broadcasters, but CBCers get really excited about hot dog day. It’s today.Lisa Johnson IT’S FREE HOT DOG DAY AT WORK! #NotaEuphemism http://pic.twitter.com/goJ07yWXAndree Lau Hoping my colleagues here at CBC take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Hot Dog DayRoss Bragg I saw a man with 3 hot dogs! #hotdogdayAndree Lau It’s true. Hot dog day has made us giddy around here.Stephen Quinn It’s not all joy, though. Gravity and mustard can be a tricky combination.  Eating hot dogs around coworkers is awkward enough, I...