Say Hi to Tony (Kahn) for Me

I’m lucky enough to have made the acquaintance of Mr. Tony Kahn in the podcast era. I first met him as far back as Bloggercon 3 in Palo Alto, way back in the wild days of 2004 when many of us had only been podcasting a few months. Tony did a lot for podcasting in the early days with his Morning Stories podcast for WGBH in Boston. He told me back then that he wanted WGBH to take a lead in podcasting from public radio as a way of lending whatever credibility they could to the validity of our new medium.

Morning Stories is no more but Tony has taken his body of work over to his new site, Hi Tony. He continues doing his fine work of conversing with people and publishing to us the results. Hi Tony is up for a Webby Award, and I recommend you go here and vote for it. Those familiar with me know my take on these awards and know that I don’t generally care about such things. For Tony, I make an exception. The man wants me to vote, I don’t mess around, I vote.

I invited Tony to be a keynote speaker at our CREATE South conference, now happening this coming Saturday. He wanted to do it but thought he might have a scheduling conflict. Then in the most drastic good new/bad news mail I’ve ever seen he said basically “The good news is I don’t have a scheduling conflict. The bad news is I have cancer and will be getting chemotherapy then.” Holy jumping cats, that’s some bad news. I’d have much rather he had the scheduling conflict. As Tony does, he’s documenting his process on the site with his Chemo Chronicle.

Just today I listened to an archived interview with the late great Studs Terkel. It occurred to me that what Tony does is a direct spiritual descendant of that fine man’s work and I am deeply smitten with both of them and their work. Getting the fascinating stories from ordinary citizens is valuable work and we owe both men a debt of gratitude for using their time and energy to do it.

Tony has been a good friend to me, to podcasting in general, to our conference and to the world. Please do me a favor and repay a tiny pit of that karma. Check out his work on Hi Tony, drop him a note of encouragement, and vote for him in the Webby awards.

Morning Stories at a Crossroads

For those of you who listen to the Morning Stories podcast from WGBH in Boston, you know that show has come to an end. The budget ran out for the program and it is no longer being produced under the aegis of WGBH. However, my friend Tony Kahn has not yet given up, and he has set up an alternative outpost for the Morning Stories body of work at his Hi Tony! site. I’m fortunate enough to be someone Tony calls for advice now and then (and the reverse as well because I am a lucky man). I gave a few suggestions on the project in general and the site in specific. Some of these have been done, some are still working.

I advised him to make the donate mechanism appear prominently on every single page. There is at this point no XML feed for new programs but that should be coming along shortly. My advice to Tony was to try to think in terms of the Doctorovian “macropayments” idea that I’ve been posting about. If you have 10,000 listeners, it would be great to get $5 or $10 a year from each of them, but it will be simpler with less wear and tear if you can find a way for 750 fans to give you $100/year, aka the Kevin Kelly “1000 true fans” thinking.

I’m glad to have any form of Morning Stories back in any fashion. Please listen and help support Tony and spread the word. He’s been a friend of podcasting since the absolute beginning, was the first public radio podcaster and used his influence at WGBH to help legitimize the intersection of radio and new media. The least we can do is help the brother out.