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New Media Evangelism

Years ago, I started a podcast that was more of a rant show than anything else. I considered it both a test to work out any production bugs in my audio setup prior to podcasting ‘Outcast,’ and as a way to blow off steam during a time when awareness was being raised about how entertainment had become less about the audience and more about the money.

I still have a draft somewhere of what my last episode was going to be (no, not my official last episode before fading out), and sadly, it was going to be about reversing the barrel of so-called ‘New Media’ onto ourselves. That is, I was planning a massive call-out on people who liked to ‘raise awareness.’ You’ve seen these people around, waving signs and shouting slogans at gatherings and demonstrations. Hell, the majority of these ‘Occupy [insert city name here] ‘ is just that: displays aimed at raising awareness that there’s something wrong.

Now, I’m all for that. Red flags, whistle-blowing, and pointing out when something is bullshit is never a bad thing, especially when not doing something about the issue can affect any number of people. I guess that kind of philosophy comes from my working in my company’s Health & Safety group. At the end of the day, we all want to go home safely, knowing we did our jobs properly and that no one died on our watch.

But there’s another side to raising awareness. Like the other half of a golf swing, there’s a need for a follow-through, and this is where so many people fail miserably. Sure, anyone can sit at a computer, or stand at a podium with a bullhorn and spew out line after line of what’s pissing them off; that’s what free speech is all about. It’s easy to whip people up into a frenzy of anger and/or contempt…but what then? You’ve just succeeded in generating a metric butt-load of energy, but now what? You’ve pulled the proverbial hammer back…what now?

This was the core of the episode I was working on. I’d been listening to people like Jelo Biafra and Adam Curry at the time, and was growing more and more frustrated at their ability to stand there and bitch about things, but seemed to have no real solution in mind for what was pissing them off. To be fair, maybe they don’t have a solution and they’re looking to inspire someone to do something, but at the time I was just wanting the lot of them to just shut up. I got sick of listening to their constant complaining about how the world sucks and that we’re all heading for the giant corporate nation model of society.

So, what’s caused me to dredge this up again? What’s gotten me to the point where I’m actually putting text to screen on this subject? Three words: Pacific Coast Hellway

The team of Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff and Mike Yusi (From UC Radio) have once again taken to the airwaves to make us laugh, cry, swear, and in some cases ponder…which is what happened on their last episode. See, both Mike & Mark are passionate about music, and have watched as the music industry became more about the industry than it did about the music. On the last PCH, they talked about how today’s music had become ‘disposable.’ That is, many bands don’t care about an entire album anymore, but only in pushing out a couple of hit singles upon which they can rest their laurels. Hey, so long as the money comes in from one or two songs, why do any more?

There was some talk about how there are no more iconic bands anymore, save a precious few, and that without more present-day icons, that spark of inspiration that created most of today’s bands is fast going out. Maybe they’re right. I don’t listen to a lot of radio these days, so I’m not even sure what’s ‘hip’ and ‘hot’ in terms of music. What few snippets I catch though basically screams that mainstream music is on the express lane to Suckville.

I was about to chalk up the PCH episode to another one of those ‘so what are you going to do about it?’ shows that I was planning to take aim at on my own podcast. But then this morning on the way to work, while listening to the latest UC Radio, I had a revelation. Shows like UC Radio are doing something about it…they’re playing music.

I think the age of the mega rock star is fast fading. Having grown up in that age, I’ll be sorry to see it go, but given just what the large record labels out there have done to music, maybe this age has come and gone. We’re in minute 17 of the age, and instead of a quiet admission and exit, the age of the rock star is clinging desperately to what it used to be, only to find that their music no longer matters. In some cases it never did.

If listening to UC Radio has given me one thing, it’s exposure to bands whose music is infinitely better than most of the shit you hear on the radio. I was never a fan of ‘Indy’ music, but after so many years of listening, I’ve come to realize that despite what you might think, there are a lot of musical gems out there that aren’t getting the air play they deserve because of how the ‘industry’ works. The giants of the music world are looking more at their bottom lines, as any business needs to…but when your decisions can mean a gain or loss in the millions of dollars, then I can understand their not wanting to take any risks or rock the boat too much.

This is bad news for independent bands, so it’s up to shows like UC Radio and Saturday Morning Poke to get that music out there. If anything, we need more shows featuring more genres to help spread the word. I really think what’s keeping some bands from becoming icons in the music world is simple exposure. You can’t influence the next generation if no one hears you.

We’re in an age now where anyone with a microphone, a computer, and an Internet connection can have their voice heard around the world. Some may roll their eyes at the thought of podcasts and podcasters, but I honestly believe that keeping the spirit of music alive lies with us. If the industry leaders are working on a safe, enclosed model of what makes them the most money, then it’s up to people like us to become the ad agency. If you want to lose faith in the record companies, that’s fine…just don’t lose faith in the bands. If you like someone’s music, tell someone. Blog about it, podcast it (if you’re able). Know someone with a radio stream? Let them know about it. Know a DJ or two in SecondLife? Shoot them a note about it. The only way a band will get noticed if they can reach as large an audience as possible.

Damn…this almost makes me want to get back into the ranting podcast game again…

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Happy Anniversary…Sorta

If you were to approach and ask 100 podcasters of ANY stripe (author, host, critic, etc.) to name 10 people who inspired them to get behind the microphone and take that plunge into podcasting, I’d bet one name in particular would be among the most common:

Tee Morris.

Admittedly for me, he was maybe number 4 in terms of people I’d heard of, behind JC Hutchins, Scott Sigler, and Mur Lafferty. I’m not sure why, but my first impressions of him were: upstart, arrogant, and full of himself. Of course, I can blame this early impression entirely on Mr. Sigler, who at the time was engaged in some kind of rivalry or something with him.

I’ve been a fan of Tee’s work ever since I first heard Morevi on Podiobooks.com. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword, Morevi Remastered, and have heard him on numerous podcasts since then.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because today, January 21st, 2011, marks the 6-year anniversary of when the first episode of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana aired on Podiobooks.com. Let’s face it…were it not for Tee taking that risk and diving into those uncharted waters, I’d wager very few of us would be here today. Hell, were it not for Morevi, I can name several newspaper-delivering weekends that would have been unbearable.

So Tee, from someone trying to make his mark in this brave new world, I raise my glass to you…trailblazer…pioneer…and inspiration to us all.

Happy anniversary…sorta.

Hello Outcasts. Just a quick update on things here.

First off, as usual, thank you all for your patience and continued support as I work towards the home stretch on ‘Outcast.’ I can finally see the end now…just a little further and it’ll be done. I’ve purposely been a little gun-shy about posting a new episode because it seems that every time I do, something bad happens to me. Yeah, I know it’s probably just a coincidence, but still.

Second, I’m feeling extremely stoked these days…and a little stupid like the title says. I’m stoked because Chris Lester, the creative mind behind the incredible Metamor City Podcast read a fan fiction story I’d sent into him some time ago. The submission was originally for a contest, and should have been read over the summer between seasons 1 and 2 of his podcast. However, as with all things, real life snuck up and well…you know how it is.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little stupid because here it is, April 21st, and I hadn’t updated my iPod for close to 2 weeks. Well, you can imagine my surprise when, as I’m scrolling through my MCP list on my iPod this morning, I see that ‘Rebirth,’ my submission, was on the feed.

Chris did an amazing job narrating the story, and while it felt a little odd hearing my words come from another voice, I still had one hell of a grin on my face for the entire bus trip to work today.

If you’re not already listening to Metamor City, you might want to check it out. It’s one of those full-blown produced shows with voice actors, music, effects, and a storyline that appeals to a wide variety of tastes.

So again, to Chris Lester I raise my glass in thanks and appreciation, and now…back to work.

Metamor City – Rebirth

The Movie the People Made

My podcasting voice has been silent for quite some time owing to different things in my life, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still in the mix of it all. I keep up to date with some of my favourite podcasters and how they’re careers in this wonderful web 2.0 world are going.

One of those podcasters is a gentleman by the name of J.C. Hutchins. (http://www.jchutchins.net), someone whose rise to fame in both the podcasting and print world has been nothing short of meteoric. With a trilogy of podcast novels under his belt and a metric butt-load of PR leg work, JC’s put a lot of us other podcasters to shame WRT getting out there and promoting yourself.

But now he really…REALLY needs help, and no, I don’t mean in a they’re coming to take me away ha ha kind of way.

His first podcast novel, 7th Son: Descent, is set to be released in pulp on October 27, 2009. I, for one, intend to buy that book, as it was the first podcast novel I ever started listening to, and owe it to the guy to help him out. I mean hey, if ‘Outcast’ ever gets published, I can trace that right back to him.

But now here’s the twist and the meaning of this post’s title: Warner Brothers currently holds the option rights to turn 7th Son into a movie. Yeah, folks…it’s THAT…DAMNED…GOOD.

I follow JC on Twitter, and caught him saying that if he does a well enough job on the sales of Descent, it might get the gears going at WB to begin the production process. In short, more book sales = chance at a movie from WB that you actually might want to see.

How can we help? Simple: We’re the left side of the equation. It’s up to us to create that spark that’ll get the big boss bunny’s attention. From podcast to blockbuster movie…shit, this is UNPRECEDENTED, folks. This is history in the making and we can be a part of it.

I’m not forcing this; Descent’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I understand that. However, I’m gonna cast one hell of a net here and snag as many of you as I can. I’ve seen you guys pull together for people in the past, and I think we have the ability to give JC a hand.

So, if I haven’t lost you yet, here’s what I’m asking:

1. Listen to this promo:

2. If you’re interested in it, go to http://www.7thsonnovel.com/7th-son-book-1/ and either subscribe to the podcast or DL the episodes individually.

3. Give yourself the first 5 episodes to see if the book tickles your fancy.

4. If your fancy’s sufficiently tickled, email JC at 7thsonnovel[at]gmail.com and show him some love. Tell him Chris from Outcast sent you 😉

5. Re-post, link to, or re-tweet this journal entry to your followers to spread the diseas…er…message…yeah, that’s it…message 😛

6. On October 27 or any time thereafter, consider buying his book. Amazon’s listing it for $10.00 at the moment.

This is not for me. I’m making nothing off this except the satisfaction that I’m helping one of the podcasters who got me into this whole mess get some kind of reward for all his hard work. And hey, if it boosts my karma, then it’s a win-win.

Thanks for reading…

Outcast – Episode 9

Hello to all you Outcasts out there!

Well, it took some time, but Episode 9 is now live.

In this episode, Dalan begins his new life as a dockworker, as well as a student of his planet’s deadliest martial art. While his hopes try to remain strong, he soon learns that the hatred of the exiles isn’t limited to just the Clans…

PROMOS:

Space Casey by Christiana Ellis

SOBCon

Episode 9

Grrrrr…

Hello all you Outcasts.  Hmmm…maybe not as flashy as junkies or clones, or even snitches.  Anyone out there got any ideas what to call Outcast fans?

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that due to a surgical procedure on the part of my better half, any hopes and dreams of getting a show off last weekend went crashing down in flames.  However, I remain confident that I can get something off this weekend.

Thanks.

Still Alive and Kicking

Hello all you faithful readers and listeners.

Just wanted to let y’all know that I’m currently pounding away mercilessly at my keyboard, trying to tweak up the next episode to have the same quality all you Outcast fans have come to expect. After all, what good a host would I be if I only did things half-assed, hm?

I’ve got a few things happening this week that seem determined to delay this next episode even further, but I’m gonna fight like hell to make sure that doesn’t happen. Other things are happening that are also giving me incentive to keep going with the book, which may someday find itself in print if I can get enough fans.

So keep the faith, folks…more ‘Outcast’ is on its way. Until then…