Why Audio Never Goes Viral

November 16th, 2014

Why Audio Never Goes Viral:

With a community of creators uncomfortable with the value of virality, an audience content to watch grainy dashcam videos, and platforms that discourage sharing, is a hit-machine for audio possible? And is it something anyone even wants?

A decent overview of why not all content is suited to going viral.

If 'going viral' requires content to be in brief chunks that can be digested by the listener with minimal context I'm not sure that I want the audio content I listen to1 to make the effort. Plenty of the best audio content thrives on length and context, so why try to make it fit a template that won't work to the medium's strengths?

[Via philgyford]

  1. Like most people, I'd imagine: a mix of content originally made for radio, plus some podcasts.

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Good listening

September 1st, 2014

Good advice to listeners on how to get the most from their radio, from 1940's BBC Year Book:

Listen as carefully at home as you do in a theatre or concert hall. You can’t get the best out of a programme if your mind is wandering, or if you playing bridge or reading. Give it your full attention.

[Via Pocket Lint]

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Bing Crosby, Nazis and Silicon Valley

May 13th, 2013

Paul Ford on How Bing Crosby and the Nazis Helped to Create Silicon Valley:

The nineteen-forties Bing Crosby hit "White Christmas" is a key part of the national emotional regression that occurs every Christmas. Between Christmases, Crosby is most often remembered as a sometimes-brutal father, thanks to a memoir by his son Gary. Less remarked upon is Crosby's role as a popularizer of jazz, first with Paul Whiteman's orchestra, and later as a collaborator with, disciple to, and champion of Louis Armstrong. Hardly remarked upon at all is that Crosby, by accident, is a grandfather to the computer hard drive and an angel investor in one of the firms that created Silicon Valley. […]

Ford mentions one other technical innovation in broadcasting that Crosby allegedly inspired, but you'll have to read the article to the end to find out about that one. It's worth it.

[Via kottke.org]

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Neverwhere on Radio 4

November 28th, 2012

It's possible I should have already known about this: BBC Radio 4 are adapting Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. Not a bad cast:

Actor Role
James McAvoy Richard
Natalie Dormer Door
David Harewood Marquis
Sophie Okonedo Hunter
Benedict Cumberbatch Islington
Anthony Head Croup
David Schofield Vandemar
Bernard Cribbins Old Bailey
Romola Garai Jessica
Christopher Lee Earl of Earl's Court

It will be broadcast somewhere in the first 4 months of 2013. And you will be able to listen to it wherever you are in the world, using the BBC's iPlayer.

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Space, the tiny frontier

October 10th, 2012

CubeSats and Earth

For thousands of years the Borg cubes tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across – which happened to be the Earth – where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire Borg battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.

Misquoted from Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

CubeSats and ISS solar panels

The real story is a tad less dramatic, and nobody needs to get assimilated. The cubes are actually amateur radio satellites deployed from the ISS:

NASA have released photographs of the amateur radio CubeSats TechEdSat, F-1 and FITSAT-1 taken by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station (ISS).

[…]

The small satellites were transported to the ISS in the HTV-3 (Kounotori 3) cargo vessel that blasted off on an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center on Saturday, July 21 at 0206 UT.

The cargo vessel arrived at the ISS on July 27 and the ISS Canadarm2 robotic arm was used to install the HTV-3 to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module at 1434 UT. The CubeSats were then unloaded by the Expedition 32 crew.

[Via Bad Astronomy]

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The Rights to Silence

October 9th, 2012

Former BBC Senior Broadcast Journalist Alan Connor, on making a radio programme about John Cage's 4'33" and encountering problems clearing the broadcast rights for the performances he wanted to include:

A lesser journalist might have bypassed some rights or recorded his or her own performance on a smartphone and used that to provide the wordless, note-less soundtrack for the slideshow. Nobody would know. Actually, that may not be true in the case of Frank Zappa's 4'33". I'm sure there are hardcore Zappa fans who would detect in a moment that the room tone was unlike that of any studio Zappa had ever used. But it wasn't the zappaphile's conscience that made me do the right thing. It was my own.

It wasn't even my training: there had been nothing on the Safeguarding Trust course that covered the appropriate attribution of recordings of nothing happening. But in order to demonstrate that each version of 4'33" is unique, the package had to be exactly what it said. So out went the version chosen by Radio 3 regular Ian McMillan for his Desert Island Discs in which Hungarian percussion instruments were not being played, sadly unclearable in the time available.

[Via currybet dot net]

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Learning to Talk

September 23rd, 2012

Learning to Talk by Lauren Daisley:

When a voiceover artist temporarily loses the use of her primary asset, the struggle back to speaking unearths what's gone unsaid for too long.

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Act Two

July 30th, 2012

An especially inspired segment from this week's podcast of This American Life:

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"I was about to get freaky in the most liberal sense of the word."

October 10th, 2011

The Ira Glass Sex Tape:

"Well, from WBEZ Chicago, it's This American Life, I'm Ira Glass. Each week, of course, we pick a theme and bring you a variety of stories on that theme. This week's theme…my sex tape."

F***ing hilarious, and an absolutely spot-on parody to boot!1

[Via The A.V. Club]

  1. It tells you a lot about my podcast-listening habits that I got about 80% of the references to other NPR personalities.

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Un-retiring again

April 10th, 2011

Barring any last-minute interventions by his doctors, Britain's Greatest Living Radio Broadcaster1 is coming back:

With some trepidation I opened my old trunk of showbiz memorabilia that dates my career from my very first TV appearance as the toddler on the Dickie Henderson Show right up to the Good Attendance rosette I received last year from the Gillard Radio Award People for showing up every year at their big night for no apparent reason. Fighting back a tear I was suddenly overwhelmed at just how good this business had been to an old hoofer like me. I saw new perspective on the reviews of my work that I had previously seen as negative: terms like "washed up" "leper of the airwaves" and "over Radio Two's dead body" began to have a new meaning for me. A challenge if you will. Surely at just 61, I had something more to offer than another busted flush like the Cat & Dog Super Bowl and endless days watching "What A Carve Up"?

Therefore I intend to un-retire again. I shall return to BBC London on Monday April 18th at 3pm to give it another go. I realize this will reduce Steve Wright's overall audience figures by more than 300 but it's a tough game we're in Steve. It's just a few vowels from Radio To Rodeo you know.

Fantastic news. Let's hope he's soon back on BBC Radio Five Live too, adding to the gaiety of nations every Saturday morning.

[Via No Rock and Roll Fun]

  1. Previously.

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