The Daily Show, South Park and Society

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The Daily Show, South Park and Society

photo courtesy of the Berghs School of Communication

The Daily Show and South Park, along with The Colbert Report, are the 1-2 (3) punch of socio-political satire in America and have been for well over a decade. Some dismiss them as childish clowns with limited significance while in fact, they are among the most trusted sources of news and entertainment wielding tremendous power from the reputation they have built as uncompromising provacateurs.

Brian Dunphy is a lecturer at Brooklyn College, a citizen of the world, and a keen observer of satire in all its forms in the United States.  He starts each day with a bowl of cereal and Jon Stewart, and his in-depth research and analysis reveals that there is a lot more happening here than just a bunch of funny impressions and the occasional fart joke.  There is real speaking of truth to power and challenging people to think and look carefully at the actions of the powerful decision makers of this world.  Today on the podcast, Brian gives us a taste of this topic that he has been bringing to audiences in North America and Northern Europe over the past year.

A Living Podcast History

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photo by dolescum on flickr

Most discussions of blogging or podcasting history immediately sound crazy because they all involve an allegedly “long” span of about 12 to 14 years.  As crazy as it may sound, when it comes to the internet, 12 years is an eternity. When it comes to life, however, 12 years goes by in the blink of an eye.

This spring I have rediscovered a podcast I used to listen to regularly, The Overnightscape, hosted by Frank Edward Nora who several times a week takes you along during his commute to work from New Jersey to Manhattan and occasionally invites you to relax at home with him or with a friend as they talk about everything from pop-culture to history and generally, things going on in Frank’s mind. Back in 2004, when podcasting first officially started, Frank’s style of recording would have been called stream of consciousness, which could be one of the greatest examples of what made the voices and style of podcasting so unique.  No radio program would ever have had the nerve and patience to allow a host to just think out loud without a time limit, but the freedom and honestly of podcasting was the perfect place for it.

Though we’re not far from podcasting turning a decade old, strangely many of those podcasts that were so unique and experimental have disappeared. Producers of these programs stopped for a wide range of reasons, among them: the lack of financial resources to continue, the lack of returns in the form of feedback (or perhaps money), the demands of a day job or other offline life requirements, loss of interest, or as Ivan explained on a recent edition of the podcast – some projects need to end.  Among today’s remaining independent podcast programs, there is a mix of specialized topics which often involve interviews and just a few long running monologue (stream of consciousness) type shows. (my favorite being the incomparable Yeast Radio) Many of these have faced their own critical moments where things almost shut down for good but then fortunately made it through and carry on still today.

Yet despite what we still have in terms of audio (and video) creators, many great ones have hung up their spurs and called it quits. There are countless audio and video files who’s hosting accounts ceased to exist and are therefore no longer available online. Time and the internet keep moving forward, things change, and what seems at present so permanent, can disappear so easily.  At the recent gathering of creative minds during Re:publica12 in Berlin there was a group of people looking for like-minded individuals interested in archiving and preserving blogs. The familiar idea- that one day many of us and/or our websites will be gone and the only way to preserve this valuable (or valueless) work is to put it somewhere in such a manner that it will still be accessible well into the future.

With all this in mind I notice wordpress telling me that I will soon reach 2000 posts on citizenreporter.org. 2,000 posts, 420 podcasts and counting- will it all still be accessible in 12 years?  I very much hope so.

Satire and News in Georgia

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Satire and News in Georgia

Every nation needs someone to question, ciriticize, and even make fun of its own society. Even if people don’t always like it, making satire of the news is an essential way to unclog the social and political arteries, to prevent a detrimental heart failure.  In the Republic of Georgia, there is no shortage of humor and rediculousness to be found, but chiti.ge doesn’t just go for the low hanging fruit… they see the value of pushing the so-called limits of what can and cannot be made fun of.  My guest is Saba Lekveishvili, one of the people behind Georgia’s finest fake news program.

Check them out at Chiti.ge

Personal Media Empires Strike Back

by bicyclemark 2 Comments

Photo by Thomas Wagner / Flickr

Personal media empires aren’t a new concept, but with every year that goes by and every advancement that helps individuals produce original content- they rise.  Media commentators used to predict a media revolution or the collapse of traditional media institutions, but recent history shows us that it won’t exactly unfold that way.  Instead, personal media producers like Tim Pritlove are hard at work producing programs, exploring topics, engaging with audiences in ways that a big media outlet could only dream about.  In different parts of the world, using a magnificent range of styles and approaches, personal media empires are on the rise.

Beyond his many podcasts and online work, you can also follow him on twitter.