Tag Archive for 'podcasts'

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 flywithjoe.com

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.