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Podcast This.

I'd forgotten that before I was engaged in what I may do now, I used to podcast...that is, with audio.

I ran three podcasts: LeftCast, The Blather and LatinRadical. This last one I later partnered with Warrick Fry after setting it up initially as an on-the-spot reportage from Venezuela.

I later established  an online audio/video project under the banner Education for Socialists.

Sony MinDisc
But my audio activism kind of petered out despite my intense engagement and the skill set I worked so hard to attain. I started shooting video in sync with  rising frustrated with the recording rigs I was using.

I had been using  Sony minidisc recording setups and while they offered great sound, these devices weren't digital friendly and while they were cumbersome to use with Windows operating system,  the Sony minidisc doesn't talk at all to a Mac. So when I changed over to a Mac desktop,  that was it. I  had locked myself out my portable recording options.

So I started doing video for a time....Then the online storage site I used,  changed its guarantees and  arrangements ...and unilaterally deleted ALL MY UPLOADED VIDEOS!
Telling them to 'get fucked' did not help. It was a dot com takeover, you see.
Bud Fox: Why do you need to wreck this company?
Gordon Gekko: Because it's WRECKABLE, all right?
Back in that day -- 2005/2006/2008 -- out and about, you either recorded audio on minidiscs or an iRiver IFP  Mp3 player.Flash recorders were coming in but they were too expensive for a pauper like me.

So I thought the whole multimedia thing had run its course with me...until  I  got called back to --at least reminded of -- the podcasting lark only recently. 

I thought: 
Hey! I loved doing that! Why did I ever give it up? 
So I went back over the online archive at the various sites, only to be impressed with what I'd produced. A lot of it has been lost to the ethers. The storage conundrum again. But it's a thrill to go back and revisit those moments through the earphones.
I guess another reason for my drift away from audio recording was my circle of comrades and friends were juiced up with  YouTubery and that seemed to be where online multimedia was at.
A lot of what I produced is rough..but as I skilled up the quality and focus of my output improved. I was working with a couple of radio stations (here and overseas)  who'd air my stuff  and doing radio panel training at a third. Unfortunately the radio instruction was at an analogue station (at the time) so it was archaic instrumentation we were taught to master.

But then... the principles are the same: gain, mic types....impedance and stuff. En route you learn to respect the disc jockeys of the past because queuing so much vinyl would have been exhausting work for but 2 hands.

Before mice were invented...

The Here and Now.


So after going back I started to look forward...and began to renovate one of my old podcasts  -- The Blather. 

Everything still works.It still occupies its space on iTunes.Even the channel/station pop ups work! 

After 6 years! 

Some shows have been lost. 
I did keep the original recordings  but...
But aside from the fact I don't have a portable recording device to  cart out and about, I'm tooled up.
FYI: Most podcasts are recorded in house -- in some sort of desktop studio -- with microphone direct into computer. Chat and stuff. Whereas I preferred to use a portable device and loved to go out and about recording stuff.Even for delivering monologues I preferred mobility to sitting down and speaking into  LCD screen space. Radio teaches you tricks for this but talking to nothing else -- least ways nothing alive -- is real hard yakker. Makes one very self conscious.
Zoom H1
But on that point of devices the news is good. After a bit of Googling I located a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder at an obscenely cheap price. This is a flash recorder  for $85...and it's Mac friendly.

So really, nothing can stop me now....

Podcasting Perspectives


I'm over a lot of the initial excitement of years back and I guess I'm much more confident and able. Nonetheless, truth to tell, I don't have any set game plan. I think I'll throw a mixed bag of audio at The Blather recorded from various contexts. Some of it will be scripted and a lot of it will be out-and-about (such as at protest marches and other political events).

So what you do is walk around with your recorder in tow, grabbing sound bytes ...interviewing...soundscaping.

I guess my bag -- my preferences -- my media dispositions -- today are very clear to me:
  • comics -- making graphics by using collage techniques(rather than relying on Photoshoppery) -- with the option to do more stop motion animations
  • taking photographs (rather than shooting video)
  • recording audio (on-the-run rather than sedentarily) 
Indeed I can see where I can combine this media online. I do that with the photographs and comics now...so why not 'add' audio?

Later on I'll write a little something -- in McLuhanist mode -- about the difference between  videotaping an event and audio recording it. I'd also ponder the dichotomy between a photo essay and a video report of the same occasion. It's  not that I'm against video -- I watch heaps of the stuff! -- but it's a very 'cool' medium. 
For Marshall McLuhan ‘cool’ visual mediums are video and  cartoons which are extensions of a physical sense in “low-definition.” These forms  require from the audience a higher degree of participation.‘Hot’ medium, on the other hand, is an extension of a physical sense that is dense with information. For instance, McLuhan gives the examples of the image and text as ‘hot’ visual mediums. They are ‘hot’ because they provide an abundance of visual data to the eyes and leave little room for interpretation and further thought on the part of the audience.

The Conundrum of Online Storage

Since the dot com universe is very fluid -- what with cowboy  raids and start ups a plenty -- securing reliable free storage for your audio file has proven difficult.
Ironic when you consider the small sizes of  audio files compared to all the huge video files that get taken up, gratis, by YouTube...
I had been well served by Radio4All  but that was often 'down'. I also used archive.org which was more reliable but a pain to use. Initially I had used ODEO -- which offered a great DIY interface and widgets -- but the ODEO folks kinda lost interest in audio and went on to found a little something called Twitter...
At the time I thought: who would ever want to 'tweet'?  
This time around I'm exploring the use of Google Drive. I appreciate that option because I'm in control without having to play up to funny bugger protocols and upload hierarchies. The process  of publishing your audio --sharing the file --is simplisimo. Very nice 'hack' it is.

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