Coy Barefoot to interview World Without Us author

Alan Weisman's book The World Without Us imagines the world without human beings. Not exactly the funniest of topics, but Weisman recently appeared on the Daily Show.

I've already related in this space how Coy Barefoot has interviewed many people who have gone on to appear on the Daily Show. Well, this time it's the other way around. Weisman will be Coy's guest on tomorrow's episode of WINA's "Charlottesville--Right Now!" so tune in if you want to ask him a question. You can dial in at 977-1070. Coy tells me Weisman will be on the show Tuesday, August 28 at 5:00 PM. WINA Newsradio 1070! Tune in.

Drop in Nielsen ratings due to drop in television usage - not methodology

Well, the revolution really is here, if by revolution you mean the end of televised entertainment as we know it. Everything is changing, and fast. Here's a report from MediaPost:

IN AN EFFORT TO ADDRESS client concerns over declines in TV usage this year, Nielsen has issued a report concluding the drop most likely is due to real changes in TV viewing behavior and is not due to TV ratings methods, or new technologies like DVD players, video game systems or digital video recorders (DVRs). But while concluding that "no single factor played a predominant role" in the declines, the Nielsen report found that the biggest impact was felt among TV's heaviest viewing households.

Of course, I read this on a night when I am watching reruns of Heroes live on Channel 29.

I certainly don't watch television like I used to. People are watching shows rather than networks. We're not dumb anymore. Now, I can't wait until we can pay for the channels we want, without the rest, delivered online. Or, heck, just offer it all up for free with ads!


We're number #181!

The new Nielsen market rankings are out (link from Lost Remote), and Charlottesville has moved up one spot to #181. That's based on there being 85,520 "TV homes" in our market. That population is an increase from 83,850 last year. Harrisonburg moved up three slots, to #178. I didn't know that Harrisonburg they were larger than Charlottesville.

Other Virginia markets saw changes as well. Roanoke-Lynchburg climbed one to 67. I find it strange that those two areas are twinned together in the same market.

Bristol also went up one, with 328,970 "TV homes" in the Tri-Cities area (which, to be fair, does include some Tennessee homes).

However, Norfolk/Portsmouth/Newport News stayed steady at #42. That's despite an increase of 5,000 new homes to 717,440.


British producer John LLoyd on Coy Barefoot show

Coy Barefoot gets some great guests, but last week he spoke with John Lloyd, a writer and producer who actually co-wrote two episodes of the first series of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He was on to talk about his new book, The Book of General Ignorance.

Pretty neat, I'd have to say. I've produced five of the shows tonight, after a day spent working on the three remaining Voices of Poverty podcasts. I've also finished some podcasts for the U.Va Housing Division.

What are you listening to these days?

Here's a YouTube link to a QI episode that has Mark Steel in it.

A British perspective of soccer sports writing

One of the best things about David Beckham playing in the MLS is that each match is getting write-ups in British newspapers. That's a lot more attention the league could never have gotten, and it seems that the level of play seems to go up when Beckham plays. Witness last night's 5-4 victory by the New York Red Bulls over the Los Angeles Galaxy. I was not able to watch it live, thanks to it being on Fox Soccer Channel, but it was a lot of fun to watch the highlights this morning.

But, check out this paragraph from Times Online

The first goal came from an in-swinging Beckham corner kick, which Pavon met at the near post with a header that beat Red Bulls goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus and slipped inside the far post. Beckham’s left ankle continued to bother him but, despite his obvious discomfort, he picked out Pavon again with a 30-yard free kick and another crisply-despatched header put Galaxy ahead. Suddenly, they had the initiative and the interplay between Beckham and Landon Donovan became pivotal, for when they combined intelligently and incisively the visitors were at their most effective.

Somehow I can imagine George Plimpton reading that aloud somewhere.


Wacky British television thanks to YouTube

I had heard that the BBC was going to be putting up a channel on YouTube, but I had forgotten all about it. Today, I stumbled upon it by accident and watched a few clips. There isn't very much at all on there, but there seem to be more clips of a program called Shooting Stars then any others. It seems like an odd way to treat celebrities, and seems much more like a wacky game show than a contrived reality show. I can't embed the clip, but the link to one episode is here.

I wish that I could get more meaningful content from the BBC, either free or paid. I believe they do not have the right to post full content to anywhere other than the UK, and they are currently launching an online video player for the British islands, but not for anywhere else. I think this is a mistake. I would be willing to directly pay the BBC the equivalency of the license fee for the right to live stream their video signal. I can get an audio stream from the BBC. Why not video, especially if I am willing to pay?

I want more than BBC Worldwide. Much more.

Update: It doesn't even have a proper RSS feed! What good is that? I guess there's no potential for ads in that?


Watching the match thanks to the Internet

MLS is selling a subscription to watch all of its game live over the Internet, and right now, they're charging $15 for the rest of the year. So, I decided to go ahead and purchase one in time for tonight's match between DC United and the LA Galaxy. I wanted to see Beckham play.

And, I'm glad I did, considering that he scored a goal on his first free kick. It was very amazing to watch, and I'm glad I can follow him as he tries to lead the Galaxy to a title. I've never really paid attention to an MLS season before, but this time it could be a lot more interesting. I'm also intrigued by how tonight's match is a Superliga match, and not an MLS one.

(stopped writing because the match was on)

This woman had a really bad experience last Thursday trying to fly from Cincinatti to Washington to meet her father so they could see Beckham play at RFK.


BBC to air Dirk Gently radio programme

Before I start, I love when I write about BBC shows, because I get to say "programme" instead of "program" which makes my twice-yearly trips to England seem a little more cost-effective.

Thanks to the Internet, though, I don't have to be on the island to listen to Radio 4. So, this October, I can listen to Dirk Maggs' interpretation of Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently and the Holistic Detective Agency, a book I know I've read but I can't remember anything about. Maggs' was the man entrusted with finishing up the radio versions of the last three books in the Hitchhiker series. They were absolutely fantastic, and a tremendous love letter to radio and to Adams himself.

Featuring a star-studded cast with Harry Enfield in the lead role, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency will be produced by the same award-winning team that made the conclusion to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Harry is joined by Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd, Fawlty Towers' Andrew Sachs, The Golden Compass' Jim Carter and Peepshow's Olivia Colman.

Dirk Gently has an unshakeable belief in the interconnectedness of all things but his Holistic Detective Agency's only success seems to be tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely, and he is drawn into a four-billion year old mystery that must be solved if the human race is to avoid immediate extinction.

So, something to look forward to in October!


David Beckham begins MLS career

I tuned in to the second half of the DC United-LA Galaxy game tonight on ESPN2. I had originally planned to go up to RFK to see this match, because I wanted to see David Beckham. Since joining the Galaxy last month, he has yet to play a match in a league game, due to injuries he sustained playing for England in June. So, there's not really been too much to watch.

I seldom watch MLS play. There doesn't seem to be anything of stake, and the quality of coverage usually isn't that good. There's also no one in the crowd, or at least, there's not enough to make it seem like an event.

Tonight when I tuned in, they had a packed house, with something like 47,000 people there. That's pretty impressive. There were that many people there when I went with my dad in 1998 to see the U.S. national team in their last friendly before the World Cup.

You hear time and time and time again how much no one cares about soccer in this country. So, it's nice to see a packed house. And, it was nice in my cozy house to sit and watch the second half unfold, with DC up one-nil. Beckham was not in yet, but he was warming up on the side. It began to pour with rain, and the commentators (four of them) remarked that the storm did not bode well for him to be sent on.

But, then, he switched from the warmup jersey to a game jersey, and all of a sudden, David Beckham takes the field. The same David Beckham who got sent off versus Argentina in the round of 16 back in 1998? The same one who helped Manchester United win the treble? The same one who got incredibly sick during last year's World Cup?

All of a sudden, the game took on a lot more meaning. All of this history, contemporary history, and it's continuing in the MLS, a league that has really not ever gotten me too excited, except when I lived in DC. Beckham playing on the same team as Landon Donovan. Just absolutely amazing, and all of a sudden, the game became something I couldn't take my eyes off of.

I'm really a very casual fan of this stuff. But, the English Premiership is about to begin again, and I want to pay attention this year. I'm helped out more now by the knowledge that there are some amazing podcasts out there that can help out. There's a guy in Charlottesville who sends in e-mails all the time, so I know there's more people out there who watch this stuff. But where?

To all of you who say the sport is a joke, that's fine. But, there really is a lot of merit to following it, at least to some extent. If Beckham plays at his best, the matches with LA will be truly amazing. There's a great story line, a sports story line, if you can get past all the celebrity stuff. Beckham's just amazing to watch, and in watching, you'll start noticing that the game is really beautiful.

So, yes, him coming here works for me, and has gotten me interested again. Anyone else?


What kind of a commenter are you?

I'm a journalist who covers government meetings, but one of the RSS feeds I check frequently in Bloglines is TVSquad. I don't watch that much television, but I am fascinated by the business of the medium. TVSquad keeps me up to date on the creative side, and I am a frequent commenter.

So, I'm curious to know exactly where I fit on their list of the kinds of people who comment on the site. This post is written by Jay Black in response to the Simpsons movie, and the countless people who commented on every single related post by saying that "The Simpsons haven't been funny in years" and so on.

So, click over there, and weigh in on who you are.