Come on CONCACAF, do a better job!

It is June 24, 2007, and all I want to know is what channel today's Gold Cup final between the U.S. and Mexico. It's on at 3:00, and I know they're showing it at the Shebeen, but I'd rather just watch it at home if I had the option. So, I want to know if it's on ESPN or the Fox Soccer Channel.

So, I go to the CONCACAF website to find out. Of course, the CONCACAF site is not using video very well at all. There's a very small video box on the left hand side of the screen that plays a video announcement of what teams are playing in what divisions. That's all well and good, except it's the final day of the tournament. They've not even updated the video.
What's more annoying is that as you navigate the website, the video plays from the beginning. It's very annoying.

This should be a major tournament, and it could be if they would simply use the web matter. Why are they not selling live streams of the matches? Why are there no archives of the matches?

Men's Soccer is always doomed to be a fifth-tier sport in this country unless it is easier to watch. The U.S. has played in five matches so far, and I would love to have been able to watch. There's almost no coverage of it, and their news release for a YouTube CONCACAF channel.... hey! That works, sort of! But, I think the latest video was shot before the finalists were around. This would have been a great video if I'd known about it Thursday. Still, I'll listen and will see.

But they don't allow embedding, so if you want to see, you'll have to go here:

So, anyone going to the Shebeen today? Looks like that's the only option for those of who refuse to pay $150 a month for one channel.


Video builds the radio guy

I'm watching the tail end of the debut of Max Headroom, one of those shows from the late 80's that seemed so amazingly different, refreshing. The premiere revolves around an advertising conspiracy that's killing people. When I was a kid, this seemed so futuristic and somehow important. A television show was critiquing television practices.

Now, the irony comes in because I'm watching this show on Joost, which is a new service created by the makers of Skype and KaZaa. There's advertising, of course, but it seems so seamless, you hardly notice it. A friend of mine sent me an invite today, and there's a ton of content here that I can watch legally, as often as I want. And, the picture is pretty darned good, full-screen.

Everything is changing, and changing fast. Steve Safran of Lost Remote was recently a guest on Coy Barefoot's show and continued preaching the gospel of convergence, and Joost is so far the best (legal) implementation I've seen. It lacks fresh content, but things begin playing immediately.

We had a meeting of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network think tank yesterday (at Court Square Tavern, of course) and I mentioned how excited I am about adding video to the offerings on Charlottesville Tomorrow. In the past few days, we've posted two features, and we're now purchasing what we need to make sure we can do this on a regular basis. Take a look at the one we did on the sinkhole.

At the end of the Safran show, Coy gives his typical shout-out to the Charlottesville Podcasting Network, and added: "Right now, no video, just audio, for now."

So, can we do it? How do we do it, and for what purpose?

One of my colleagues at CPN said video was too difficult to do on a regular basis - but, I think we have a duty to expand into video as soon as possible. While I don't expect to be in Joost before too long, the audience is coming fast, and they're coming for video. Audio still has its place, but we're a visual culture. I'm amazed at how much there is to learn in terms of how to tell a story visually. But, I learned how to do radio on my own, and now it's great fun using my journalistic skills to think of how to take the "public radio style" and apply it to video.

Other reporters are doing this, too. They're leaving traditional media for new kinds of organizations. Lost Remote recently had a post about something called Storybridge.tv, and I've not really delved into it yet. But, take a look. Isn't it beautiful? How do we build it here for Charlottesville?

To give you a sense of what I want to do, and what I think should be done, I conclude this post with the first line from one of National Public Radio's founding documents:

National Public Radio will serve the individual: it will promote personal growth; it will regard the individual differences among men with respect and joy rather than derision and hate; it will celebrate the human experience as infinitely varied rather than vacuous and banal; it will encourage a sense of active constructive participation, rather than apathetic helplessness.


Reason #62 why Coy Barefoot's show is awesome

As you know, I produce the podcast for Coy Barefoot's show. At the moment, I'm watching the Daily Show, and Jon Stewart has Alan Brandt, the author of Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America.

The cool thing is, Coy had him on his show in early May. He gets so many great guests on WINA's Charlottesville--Right Now, and it's well worth listening to, either on WINA from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, or on the podcast courtesy of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

Now, if I can only find someone to help us produce Coy's show. I have ten files sitting waiting to be produced and uploaded. I'm almost done with a major project producing U.Va's Reunions Weekend 2007 podcasts, so I can hopefully get to some of them. I'm willing to train anyone with an interest in multimedia experience.


And with that, it's back to normal

This is what I've wanted for a year and three months - a draft of Spaten at Court Square Tavern. I'm sitting at the bar, where I've sat many many a time before late at night, and this time I'm just a customer. A paying customer, even!

This doesn't really feel real. The place is mostly the same, though it's completely different. It's certainly not going to win awards with the young hipster crowd, which is probably why it's so enjoyable for me to be here now.

The major difference is that I'm here at night and Bill Curtis, the owner, is here. I never saw him up here ever in the old days, except occasionally late at night, or maybe at the beginning of a shift. Now I have a sense he'll be here an awful lot. And that's not a bad thing at all.

I'm so happy to be here. I've ordered my second Spaten. I think I'm going to really enjoy it here again. It's not like any other Charlottesville bar. I don't know what it is, exactly. I never have entirely known why I was drawn to this place. But, here I am.

This will now become the place where I'll go to have a conversation with people. And, I'll feel proud to bring them in here because there's no smoking. I can also have business meetings with people, because I can show them various things on the Internet thanks to the wi-fi.

I look around here and see all the differences, but none of them matter. I'm sitting at my bar! I'm sitting at a place with a lot of history, both personal and Charlottesville. The same guy has owned this place for 31 years now. I'm in the basement of an old hotel that's now a condo complex.

So, for those of us over 21 in the Charlottesville blog community, let's go grab some pitchers of Spaten!


BlogNetNews goes local - what does it mean?

BlogNetNews is another group that seems to be trying to make some money off of aggregating local content. They're now aggregating the same blogs that cvilleblogs.com collects. But will any of this actually correspond to higher amounts of traffic?

I'm now part of two organizations that use local blogs to reach people. I created the Charlottesville Podcasting Network and now work as program officer for Charlottesville Tomorrow. Both entities would benefit from extra traffic, as it would be good to reach out to new eyes in our attempts to increase public participation in civic and cultural society.

But, I worry about groups that suck up feeds without asking for permission. I hope that it will be easy to determine if this does result in extra eyeballs, or if it will just mean the eyeballs currently engaged are just shifting the way in which they receive the feed.