This week Fiona Morgan wrote a great article about radio and podcasting in the Durham, NC based Independent Weekly. In the rest of this entry I add some important details to the story of podcasting and my part in it.
Fiona says that “big bully” radio is taking a beating by two powerful competitors: satellite radio and podcasting. Satellite radio may be competing with the big bully for dollars but podcasting (at least here at Audio Activism.org) is working for true democracy. Let me elaborate by addressing some key parts of her article. [This is part of the two way conversation I mention bellow. Much respect and thanks.]
Is Radio Dying?
Radio the medium isn’t really dying, it’s the old concept of radio that is passing. Instead of a one-way medium that “pushes content” take it or leave it, we can participate in a two-way conversation with each other. The concept of producer and consumer is disappearing. The idea of a content creator delivering you stuff to passively consume is being taken over by a global discussion that is inherently more democratic. Writing a letter to the editor is no longer enough audience participation. This is real interactivity and the embodiment of decentralized networks with billions of nodes at each human.
Impossible to Control?
I do not attempt to taunt those who want control. I am only pointing out the power of decentralized asymmetrical networks, of which I am but one tiny part. As an individual I am very controllable. There are many strings connected to me than can be pulled. But the force of many individuals spread out around the planet is beyond quick control. When horizontally organized groups, like corporations or governments, try to spread out vertically they just become too slow.
Legal and Free
Podcasting at Audio Activism is legal and free because I created my own audio and in some cases combined it with legally licensed audio. Because this media is my intellectual property I decided to retain the United States copyright and to clearly state permissions on how others can use it. This was done with the Creative Commons license called Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. There are many reasons to do this. One is to set an example of how creative people can protect themselves and their work. Another is to show that the Internet and computer technology can be used for means other than piracy. It is clear that big media companies are so afraid that they are willing to destroy creative tools in order to control creative people. We need more examples of legal creation of multimedia and software to demonstrate its cultural value.
Resistance to Corporate Manipulation
Our best immunization against the exploitation of creativity and technology are values. I value the act and product of creativity over the process of making money. This is not to suggest that all corporations or people associated with them are amoral. Only to say that beauty is more valuable to humanity than the most highly valued currency. When we decide to share our creativity with one another we provide mental nourishment that sustains our minds and propels human existence. It is not the modest act of selling our creative work for money that is bad; it’s the unbalanced greed that does injustice to us all. If you’re reading this far you might be thinking how unpractical and naively idealistic these words are. But my ideas are not so new or radical. I’m only suggesting balance and restraint. Put these values into action by making something and sharing it with someone. Ask for nothing in return and hope that others to do the same.
Change Hurts but is Good for Us
Podcasting is just another example of serious growing pains for global communications in flux. Let’s hope podcasters learn from the history of webcasting and use the law to protect themselves. If not we’ll end up another fad. Even worse Howard Stern will start podcasting and make lots of money at it. We are all citizen journalists! Make your own media now!