Whether it's while walking the dog, running an errand or passing time on a trip, podcast listening is something I'm doing almost every day now. I think podcasts have largely replaced audio books and broadcast radio for me, and listening is one of my favorite ways to challenge my thinking, understand things I'm not familiar with, and spark my own creativity.
I recently started using Overcast to manage and listen to podcasts, and highly recommend it. I was getting really tired of the Apple-built podcast listening features in iTunes and iOS, and Overcast is a breath of fresh air. The Smart Speed feature in particular is pretty amazing.
After a 12-year hiatus since I produced The Richmond News Review, I've also started doing some podcasting again myself at Richmond Matters. It's again about topics of interest to my local community, and while the show is still taking shape you can find the first few interviews under the Richmond Matters Podcast in your favorite podcast directory (for convenience: Apple/iTunes, Google, Stitcher).
In any case, these are some of the podcasts that I'm enjoying on a regular basis:
Continue reading Podcast listening
There are lots of things to be worried about. War, climate change, plaque buildup, unsanitized user inputs. But somewhere near the top of your list should probably be the thousands of nuclear weapons around the world that are one miscommunication or faulty electronics part away from unexpectedly killing many, many people.
I don't usually go looking for such perturbations, I promise, but when I happened upon this recent NPR interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, I was captivated:
Continue reading Always and never: America's nuclear weapons
I took a quick trip to Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend to visit some friends and wander around the area. It's one of my favorite parts of the country, having spent a fair amount of time there as a kid, with my grandparents when they lived in Swannanoa and attending a summer camp for several years in Black Mountain.
But in looking up things to do while I was there this time, I found a whole new great reason to visit, the Moogfest music/art/tech festival.
Continue reading Notes from Moogfest
I've been consuming a lot of information, and I'm here to tell you, briefly, what I've learned:
Book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz: a great little book, a quick read full of wisdom that seems like it should just be common sense. To find happiness, be impeccable with your word, don't take anything personally, don't make assumptions, and always do your best.
Book, Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor: moving reflections on a life devoted to ministry and service, and the unexpected twists and turns in how that was manifested. As someone who has vacillated widely in my relationship with organized religion over time, much of it rang true for me.
Continue reading Various Reviews of Various Things
It's almost, but not quite, embarrassing to admit how much time I spent as a kid playing "Radio DJ" in my room. I had a Fisher Price turntable along with a cassette deck hooked into a surprisingly advanced "be your own DJ" toy mixing device, and I would spin tunes for hours, paying particular attention the cross fades, the track notes announced in between songs, and faux news and weather reports to my non-existent listeners. You create art for yourself regardless of whether someone else gets to view/hear it, right?
Continue reading My radio show on WECI
I love the Sonos multi-room music system. It's a ridiculous luxury to have and I could fill up another blog post apologizing for it, but it's too much a fulfillment of the dreams I had as a kid about what the households of the future could be like to pass it up. "Wait, you mean I can have N-Trance's Set U Free blaring in every room of the house at once, perfectly in sync? OMG!" I used to do this with FM transmitters, spaghetti audio wiring, and various mediocre gadgets - not any more.
But I'm not here to indulge in gadget lust, I'm here to tell you how Sonos, the company, is making great use of Twitter for its public relations and customer service efforts (and, by extension, how Twitter is turning out to be pretty useful for that stuff.)
Thomas Meyer (who is hopefully a real person) is the voice of Sonos on Twitter, and here's all the stuff he does right: Continue reading Good PR via Twitter done right by Sonos
Despite things being fairly quiet with my original podcasting project (the Richmond News Review), I am still working on a few audio production projects. One is a new podcast which I'll be ready to announce in the coming weeks, but the other is a great new oral history project that's moving forward quickly here in Richmond. If you're familiar with StoryCorps, the NPR-affiliated project that gathers compelling personal interviews (mentioned here previously), you know how powerful some of those audio segments can be as they capture the stories of our lives. Fortunately, Girls Inc of Wayne County applied for and received a generous grant from the Wayne County Foundation to bring the StoryCorps folks to Richmond and record some of our stories here.
This is just the first phase of what we hope to be a broader oral history project in the area. You can read all about it on the new project website, WhatIsYourStory.org. If you're a podcast listener or producer, a fan of StoryCorps or oral history projects, want to be trained on interviewing and audio production, or just someone who wants to be involved in this effort, please contact us! We'll find a way to put your talents to work as we try to honor and appreciate those who live in our community, through listening.
This Friday, when you're gathered with friends and family trying to figure out what to do with yourselves after that meal, consider participating in the National Day of Listening. It's an opportunity to hear and record the stories that we all have to share about our lives, our greatest and hardest moments, and the lessons we've learned. (And as some have noted recently in Richmond, the local community could benefit from having a better sense of our own narrative.)
All it takes is some kind of simple audio recording device, a good list of questions to get you started, and some time. And it's a part of the larger oral history project that is StoryCorps, so there are some neat opportunities to share what you capture with a wider audience, if you want.
If you're in the Richmond area and want to send me some of what you record, I'll consider putting it together into an episode of the Richmond News Review podcast.
Tonight I attended a talk by NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, who I've always enjoyed listening to on the radio on lazy Saturday mornings. He talked about the current Presidential election and the role the media play, especially when it comes to their participation as news-makers, such as when media personalities moderate debates.
His comments were interesting and insightful, but not necessarily ground-breaking, and when asked to comment beyond what I took to be his prepared remarks, he had some trouble even being insightful. But, I did really appreciate his perspectives on how deferential and petty many members of the media have become, and his advice to politicians and interested citizens to go against the grain more and shake things up a bit.
Though, when I asked my question of him, he wasn't so into the shaking things up bit: Continue reading Listening to Scott Simon and Dave Isay, NPR greats