21 July 2005

Publishing and tuning out

Another entry from Sarah Vowell's book Radio On. She's listening to NPR's show "Soundprint" with Gary Covina and Ira Glass (remember, this is 11 years ago):

Ronnie, a listener, calls in. He enthusiastically does out his Web page address, making Gary, Mr. Power to the people, Mr. "Greetings, Fellow Workers," grumpy enough to deliver an irritated indictment.

"Another exhibitionist. Can you believe this?" He asks Ronnie, "Why is your life worth having on the Internet?"

Ira, incredulous, asks Gary, "What are you talking about? You are on the radio every week thinking you have something interesting to tell the forty or fifty people who listen to our program. How is this any different?"

Gary lamely responds, "I took an FCC test in 1974," while Massett pulls up Ronnie's "Cool Stuff" folder, which turns out to be a photograph of a park bench in Chicago.

Even though I confess that I am a bit of a technophobe, I like the idea that this Ronnie thinks he has something to say and puts in it plain view. Listening to the radio and the Internet collide, I can't help but give the Net some due. It's interesting for exactly the reason that this man doesn't need a license to "broadcast." Still, despite what we constantly hear about the fact that we live in a visual culture, I get sick of looking.

And another section, much too lengthy to quote, consisting of a letter from the host of a radio show explaining how recorded music is dead compared to live music. He has an interesting/compelling argument relevant to the premise of the book The Recording Angel (wishlisted and recently b-day gifted by some friends--thanks friends!!). From the letter:

I have some serious reservations about recorded music and mediated experience in general, and have lately been wondering to myself what would happen if I only listened to music in live situations, totally forsaking all recorded music.

He ends with a convincing argument as to why Spanish-language radio is better than American radio.

[ posted by sstrader on 21 July 2005 at 12:18:01 PM in Culture & Society ]