Public Radio v Podcasting: Prelude Step, Normalization

Before I write up my piece responding to Stephen Hill’s thing about public radio and podcating, I’m going to do an experiment. If it works, I’ll always do this before tackling any of this “Thing X” vs “Thing Y” written by someone who has a dog in the fight (whether or not I’m rooting on that dog.) I’m calling it either “Stacked Deck Normalization” or “Straw Man MRI”. The idea being, let’s get a sense of where the sympathies lie in as succinct a manner as possible.

In order to do this, I’m going to go through his piece and extract out only the adjectives or adjectival phrases that are applied to the generality of either the public radio/old media or podcasting/citizen media/new media spaces. My theory is that this will be illustrative. I got a sense of the deck being stacked while reading it, and by stripping out everything but these couple of words I think we can go straight to the sympathies.

Public Radio/ Old Media:

slow, polite, idealistic, chronically underfunded, niche content, small audiences, donation business models, descending spiral of pandering to audiences, endless lifestyle fundraising specials, pathetic subversion of the original mission, high production value, high quality, high performance standards, greater experience and resources, incumbent program brands, production expertise

Podcasting/ New Media:

brutal techno-Darwinism-on-crystal-meth, “truth” (yes, in quotes) relevance, creativity, amateurish, casual, creative, offbeat, inconsistent, self-indugent, libertarian values, open standards, transparency, interactive ethics, superior distribution  technology, smutty charms, unique talents

That was harder than it seemed like it would be. I tried to only use the terms applied to the whole of the fields, not to specific things. I also tried scrupulously not to cherry pick and to take both positive and negatives used on either side. Still, taken as a whole don’t those two lists tell quite a story? Even though Stephen Hill might think he’s being even-handed, and it reads like he wants to be, his underlying assumptions still shine through. I mean, who in their right mind would want the “brutal techno-Darwinism-on-crystal meth world of smutty charms” over the “high production values and high quality?” Well, besides me, that is.

To be continued.

5 Replies to “Public Radio v Podcasting: Prelude Step, Normalization”

  1. I would add to New Media – Edgy. It has an edge. A disturbing edge. Like what art is suppose to do..

  2. Public radio has a lot more overhead because they have to pay for brick and mortar FM stations. They insist on the NPR web stream that FM radio is their primary focus. This was true in the past but I fail to see why it always has to be true in the future. The proclamation angers me. A reason for this stubborn attitude could be the fact that people who work at the affiliate stations dearly love their jobs. They are part of the bloat holding back NPR. Like an enormous government, NPR is severely hindered by it’s own bureaucracy . You would think they exist to serve their listeners but sometimes it seems the mission is to employ people. I listen to 3 local NPR stations and I have never once been asked what programs I would like to have them play. One stations does a lot of local programming about things I don’t care about and then runs those shows twice a day. In total the locally produced shows run for 8 hours a day when there are only 24 hours in a day with many superior shows available.

  3. “Smutty Charms” found in the cereal aisle next to “Trix”.

    Seriously, Dave this is an excellent exercise in cutting through the heat and getting to the light. I think the results you posted make it abundantly clear which way Stephen Hill is really leaning in this article.

    Thanks for taking the time to point it out to us, and to do the dissection.

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