Archive for the 'podcasts' Category

MSM Ahead of Curve on V.P. Debate

Did you know that streamed live video of last night’s debate, right on the top of its home page? There was a full-screen option, too. Pretty cool stuff – even Gawker was impressed.

Also, check out our V.P. Debatinator – a mashup of video, transcript, and timeline from the debate.

WBUR Podcasts

On PointAsk, and ye shall receive. NPR powerhouse WBUR has started offering it’s programming in Podcast packaging. Now, you can download and listen to On Point and Here and Now, on your iPod.

There are some limitations, however… due to the music licensing cabal, they can’t offer content that contains music licensed for broadcast only – apparently ASCAP and BMI think that people will rip songs out of MP3 Podcasts, and share it with their friends. Not only is this ridiculous on its face, but it also blindly ignores the inherent promotional potential afforded by Podcasting. So, they have to edit out bumper music, and probably skip music shows altogether.

Also, even with this caveat, they aren’t offering the full shows. On Point‘s shows are approximately 20 minutes long, and Here and Now seems to only include 1 main segment (8-10 mins). I’m not sure if this is a bandwidth consideration, callers’ permission, or what. Since they stream on the internet both live and full on-demand archives, I don’t see how either of these could be reason.

Maybe they just want to ensure that you tune in your radio dial…

Yahoo! Podcasts

Look what showed up today, Yahoo! Podcasts.

A couple of things impress me here: first, subscriptions work in iTunes, which would otherwise be a deal breaker for me. I only have room in my life for one media player.

Second, it’s so much easier to search for and link to podcasts, as compared with the iTunes directory. They’ve even implemented a Flickr-like tagging system, with weighted lists.

Tom Coates has a good rundown.

NPR + Podcasts, Part II

A follow up on my NPR + Podcasts post, it seems that NPR is indeed investing in podcasting of its programs. They’ve launched a Podcast Directory, but it is interesting to note that they are not yet providing full-length programs:

This service is our first step in podcasting and we are experimenting with a number of program formats… Podcasting full-length programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered could be extremely expensive. Over the next several months, NPR and its public radio partners will be experimenting with a number of formats and offerings, and we invite your feedback.

And, a lot of the more worthwhile Public Radio content is actually produced at local stations, and syndicated nationally. For instance, WBUR in Boston produces excellent programming, such as On Point, Only a Game, and Here and Now. But, they haven’t yet joined the bandwagon, again because of cost:

Legally we are not allowed to make available for download via mp3 ANY broadcast which contains un-licensed copyrighted material (e.g. music heard throughout shows)… We are currently working on a podcast solution for all of our programming content. Please bear with us.

Similarly, WHYY in Philadelphia produces the highly popular Fresh Air, but they don’t currently offer a podcast of the program.

Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and interesting to note that we likely have Apple iTunes to thank for pushing podcasting into the mainstream.

NPR + Podcasts

I see that NPR is not renewing their Audbile contract:

NPR’s beloved shows like “All Things Considered” and “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” used to be available on Audible, but after what I can assume was a lackluster performance, have since been pulled from Audible’s library.

There is a new poscasts page on the NPR site, however it isn’t yet clear if the local stations that produce content, such as WBUR in Boston, will follow the national plan.

Fly With Me

One of my favorite Podcasts is Fly With Me (iTunes link), by Joe Deon, a pilot for a major US airline. In his podcast, Joe interviews other pilots, flight attendants and passengers about… well, flying.

It’s more interesting than it might sound — it has the same kind of pace and feel as an episode of This American Life. His website is

Ebert & Roeper Podcast

Seems like Apple’s deal with Disney to leverage content into Podcasts is building—I saw today that you can subscribe to the Ebert & Roeper (iTunes link) podcast.

C’mon NPR, let’s get Fresh Air and On Point on board.

What Buffalo Was, and What it Should Be

If you’ve talked with me in the last few months, you know that I’ve taken an interest in Urban Planning, and more specifically those characteristics that make a good neighborhood and city. I don’t know why this subject has peaked my interest, considering I used to be in awe of places like Epcot and I grew up not far from strip-malls. But, I am deeply concerned about that place where I grew up, because the city of Buffalo is rotting at it’s core, while the endless development of pharmacy mini-malls, parking lots, and cul-de-sacs pushes farther out into the countryside.

It used to be that Transit Road was a marker or sorts—suburban development fell off notably in the town of Clarence. But now, Clarence and Lancaster are becoming the newest sprawl suburbs. Housing development is getting less and less dense, taking up more and more land, and as a result, weakening community ties. The goal in the Buffalo area these days, is to earn enough to “get yours”—which means a big house in the middle of nowhere, with lousy architecture, a big front yard, and curving streets that don’t connect to other developments. You can’t walk to a corner store, much less to work or school.

This, of course, means that cars must be used for anything and everything in Buffalo’s suburbs, and increasingly so in these new suburbs. Growing up, I could walk or ride my bike to a corner store, a supermarket, a pizzeria, a k-mart and a bagel shop. For kids growing up in Loch Lea and other developments further out, this is simply not an option—a ride from mom or dad is required, and an (unhealthy) dependence is born. Also, you spend much of your early teenage years looking for older friends, or pining for that 16th birthday, when mom and dad will provide you with a car. There is a sense of entitlement that comes in such a place.

Buffalo, however, wasn’t always so bleak. The Buffalo of my Grandmother’s youth was a vibrant and busy city. Look at some of these photographs… Streetcars zipped up and down major avenues, automobiles co-existed with pedestrians, commercial streets had first-floor storefronts with apartments above, and you knew your neighbor, butcher and neighborhood cop. I don’t want to sentimentalize what was, but I think people understood that there was an art to building neighborhoods—an art that seems to have been lost in post-war, post-industrial Buffalo. The powerful suburban developers like Ciminelli, don’t build permanent places to live. They think that there is no money to be made in traditional (that is to say, mixed-use) neighborhoods. Everything is this set-back-from-the-street, bastardized modernist, flat-roof, single-floor, horizontal monstrosity, with 5 parking spots out front for every 1 customer.

I know I’m taking hyperbolic license here, but I do it only because the prevailing assumptions are so ingrained and accepted that you almost need to shock people to wake them up.

We’ve been living in the age of the automobile. Traffic engineers say we need to widen roads and intersections to decrease traffic and increase traffic volume. Every major study of roadway “improvements” shows that more lanes = more cars. By widening a road like Transit, you are actually creating more traffic in the long-run. Even Robert Moses realized this in 1939, when traffic congestion cropped up on his highways where there was previously no problem. You induce traffic, by building more lanes. And, these wide intersections you see on Transit and other roads, are less safe than narrower, more traditional intersections. Here in Boston, despite our reputation for crazy driving, there are rarely any accidents at all, due to our small blocks, odd intersections and lack of sprawl.

Still, there is hope. I think the economic pressures that 50 years of this kind of development has wrought on Buffalo is starting to change people’s minds about living and working in close proximity. I hope environmental, and economic realities force the city and it’s county of suburbs to draw a line in the sand (and the geography), and say enough is enough. It’s not about Growth vs. anti-Growth. It’s about Smart Growth. Banks, developers and city & town officials need to be shown that it is preferable to ditch this fast-decaying suburban strip-mall way of doing things. If we are going to do this, the state needs to step in and set up stronger regional government. Many people fear this, as being ‘more government’, when in actuality it could save money by eliminating redundant services.

But there is powerful resistance to any kind of regional planning.