Wednesday, May 6, 2009

DIY broadcasting (That's "Do It Yourself", for the non-hip)

For a brief time in my life, I worked in radio. I worked for a small station in Pompton Lakes, NJ. I'll hold off on naming the station, because the sports director decided it wasn't worth calling me back for future assignments, even though I heard nothing but good things about how I did, even from the OWNER OF THE STATION. (People who know me know I have a tendency to hold grudges.)

Anyway, radio was fun. I actually had a lot more exposure to radio when I went to the currently bankrupted Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Yup, my broadcasting alma mater is bankrupt. Of course, that does beg the question-if a school no longer exists, why am I still paying back a school loan? (Note to self-definitely worth looking into.)

While I was at the school, I had a great time with production-being able to work with different types of equipment that play a roll in the radio programming that we've all come to enjoy.

(sound of the brakes of a car screeching!)

Well, what we USED to enjoy.

With radio stations constantly changing formats because of alleged trends that are dictated by demographics and marketing analysis (R.I.P., K-Rock, and briefly, CBS-FM), it's become more and more important that people are aware of other means of audio entertainment. That's assuming, of course, they want to part with listening to radio stations that are essentially operated with multiple Ipod-like devices, and nauseating sports radio shows that are hosted by loud-mouthed ex-jocks, and former writers who apparently have a lot to say about sports that they can't physically play. (Yes, I'm talking about you, Mike Francesa).

That's where Podcasts come in. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, podcasts, are audio programs that can be converted into files that people can download from the internet, and put onto their Ipod (hence the term), or to their MP3 players.

I actually recently set one up. Very cool. Plus, the coolest part is that it was FREE. Yup, I too can put my voice on the World Wide Web, and it costs me absolutely nothing.

I got the information I needed by watching this video. Pretty simple, although you might find yourself pausing during the video a lot, in order to keep up.

Of course, now I've got the creative juices flowing. "What should my podcast be about?" "How can I have others on the podcast?"

One of the great things about this recent experience has been learning how to use Audacity. Really easy to use, and very intuitive, so you learn it pretty quickly.

Now, before this post turns into an advertisement for specfic types of software, let me remind everybody that there are definitely other ways to set up a podcast. I just thought the video I watched, and the software I used, made it pretty simple.

The truth is, entertainment as we know it, is changing. Television and radio, previously considered staples for our entertainment consumption, are being replaced by internet-based resources. People are rethinking the need for cable television, with sites like Hulu making it possible to watch television without actually having to turn on your tv set. (I'll save my newfound love for Hulu for another posting).

And, as I mentioned before, radio stations are becoming more and more homogenized. The studio hosts are going away like the dinosaurs, replaced by Mp3 players. At this point, the only way you'll be able to get any form of a personality on an audio-based broadcast, is to simply "brodcast yourself". (You'll note that I put that phrase in quotes, because that idea is at the heart of YouTube, and is still the key to why it is such a successful site, and tool. And, not to be ignored is Blip TV, an awesome site where you can produce your own online tv show.

The world of entertainment, as we know it, is changing. People are simply moving away from a passive approach to entertainment, to a more proactive approach. Why watch tv, when I can make my own show? Why listen to the radio, when I can create my own podcast?

Believe me when I say that there are many talented people out there who never got that necessary break in tv or radio, who are now boning up on their tech ability, and creating their own projects. Why worry about submitting to a corporation, when you can simply put your own stuff out there. With that in mind, check out Epic Fu. You won't be disappointed.

I'm out.

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