1/29/2008

Interview work for the BBC today

Of all of the cool things I get to do in my job and vocation, getting to do the occasional recording work for the BBC ranks up near the top.

Today I got to record Larry Sabato for an upcoming Instant Guide segment on the importance of the Super Tuesday primaries on February 5. I got to go to his Pavilion on the Lawn, and hear him explain to the world listener all of the relevant details behind the primary. Now, I'll be waiting this weekend to hear how the editor will take the raw interview and turn it into a primer for those on Earth who would like to know more about how the U.S. President is chosen.

Radio IQ airs the show at various times throughout the weekend, but there's also a podcast. I just subscribed. It's a neat show which can give you a quick overview of all sorts of things social, scientific and cultural.

1/24/2008

Wanted: Folks who subscribe to the Coy Barefoot show podcast

One of the missing pieces of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network has been the ability to easily split up the feeds of the various shows that are posted through the main site. In order to get the Charlottesville--Right Now feed directly into iTunes without other shows, I have had to manually code an RSS feed. And that has meant I easily fell out of the habit of keeping it up-to-date.

But now, I've switched the system slightly so that I'm posting all of Coy's shows directly to its own Wordpress site first. I've just updated the iTunes feed to reflect this, meaning I've been able to replace my own manual clunkiness.

However, I'm not convinced it has worked. I don't have the best understanding of how many subscribers that individual podcast have, but there certainly is an audience. I'm hoping now that the technology appears to be intact, that audience has a better show at growing if people can actually hear all the shows.

So, if you've got iTunes and you're looking for another podcast, could you check it out and see if it works for you? That would be much appreciated.

1/19/2008

How I wish Feedburner counts were true...

So, that's what I saw when I just looked at my FeedBurner stats. Would it were that this were true! Usually the number is more like 160 or so, but with all the testing I had to do yesterday, obviously something got very, very scrambled.

For two and a half years, everything worked great. Now, things are kind of broken, and I'm kind of enjoying having to put it all together. It's been very liberating in a way to take myself away from the existing stats system and having to build another one from scratch. I feel kind of embarrassed, but I have never claimed to be a decent programmer.

Not computer programming, anyway.

I feel the audio programming on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network is compelling and offers up a great service to the community. And, finally I feel we're on the verge of beginning a new chapter, as I train more people to collect and edit audio to present to the greater community.

For just a minute, I'm going to pretend that I really do have thousands of listeners! Could it happen one day?

And if so, what would you like to hear to convert you to becoming a subscriber, either through RSS or through e-mail? Remember, if you were a fan of the old blog-like interface, you can view us through the classic style. We're working on adding back some of the features that are currently missing, such as a search window! If you have suggestions, please let us know!

CPN feeds appear to be restored

It appears that the podcast feed for the Charlottesville Podcasting Network has been restored, though at this point, I'm not sure. I can iTunes to recognize every new podcast again, but I'm having trouble getting this to work properly in Bloglines, my RSS reader of choice. Please comment here if you're having troubles.

And, it's good as well, because I've just uploaded a presentation by Chief Kenneth Adams of the Upper Mattaponi tribe, made this morning at the Democratic Breakfast sponsored by the local party. It was a very interesting talk, and I encourage anyone to listen to it.

In the future, I hope to grow CPN to a point where we've got editors producing a weekly highlight real. I've always wanted to make that happen, and it appears we will be able to do that in the near future. I recognize that not everyone has the time to listen to hour long lectures, but I want to make sure that we're capturing these for the public's use, in perpetuity. The goal is help expand the public square, as I've been saying now for three years.

In 2008, I'm going to use this blog as a way to describe more about the efforts to grow our community's podcast site in the coming year.

Thanks to Rod Hooper for assisting me today, and thanks to George Loper for letting me use one of his pictures.

Later on today, I have two more volunteers coming over to work on podcasts of a recent Senior Statesmen event, a reading at New Dominion Bookshop, and an educational series put on by the Ivy Creek Foundation. So, it's good to be back podcasting!

1/18/2008

Podcasting woes shall turn to gold

It's not been an easy month or so for the operations of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. But, there's been a lot of great news, as new volunteers come into the fold.

For starters, there have been two big failures in the last month, and I've just discovered I might be in the midst of a third. On Christmas Eve, my database suddenly corrupted for no apparent reason and I couldn't post anything new. I was able to restore a back-up without losing too much data, but it took three days. Last week, my hosting provider switched my account to a new server, and forgot to connect the dots completely. I fixed that one somehow, and ended up upgrading to all new plug-ins.

Somehow, though, that disconnected the actual podcasting component of the site. For whatever reason, I can't get the audio files to get into the enclosure. This means that I'm getting no downloads at all. But, I am searching for ways to solve the problem.

And, in the process of solving this problem (which I'm sure I'll do) I know the site will be better than ever. There will be more content. Last week at Court Square Tavern I had ten people attend a very informal training session. I think it worked out fairly well, and I'll be doing a lot more of these in the near future.

For now, though, the trouble is what to do about the lack of podcasts through the Charlottesville Podcasting Network feed. In the meantime, I can point you all in the direction of the pages for the other podcasts that are CPN affiliates. Keep in mind, these are the feeds. The skin for these feeds, meaning the actual websites, are still being experimented with, so subscribe to the feeds if you'd like to keep up with the podcasts, which are still being posted.

Virginia Podcasting Network: Mostly podcasts about Virginia politics
WINA's "Charlottesville--Right Now!" with Coy Barefoot
WNRN's Sunday Morning Wake Up Call:

I'm almost certain that the vast majority of the CPN audience gets the content through an RSS feed, or through the e-mail subscription. Especially since the redesign, which I think has had the effect of killing off most web traffic. It is hard to tell at a glance what the new content is. We are working to make it better, but again, there's still a big pretty audience for the feed.

I think by the time I finished this e-mail, I got it almost working again. If so, I'll post the feed later. I think I am going to try to post more news about the site here. There's really nowhere on the CPN site itself for me to comment.

1/03/2008

2008: The Year of the Beard

I've not watched much of the traditional late night shows in my adulthood. In my youth, I was obsessed with what came on after I went to bed. One night in the mid-seventies when I was two or three I was sick, throwing up, and I got to stay up to watch Johnny Carson. During the Iranian hostage crisis, I was vaguely aware of this new show called Nightline. But, when I was eight or nine, and Letterman began on NBC, I was so angry I couldn't stay up. Thankfully my brother used to tape them for me, sometimes, and it just seemed so alive.

Of course, at that time, I didn't know that late night television was largely taped. It was on, and it seemed so vital and important.

And now, watching Conan O'Brien flail his way through a show without writers, it feels that way again. First off, he's got a beard. We'll come back to that in a minute. But, he's spinning a penny on national television to see if he can break a record of 41 seconds. It's silly. But, yet, it's 12:50 at night and I'm up watching it for some reason.

The reason I'm still up is David Letterman's beard. Yes, he had one as well, and looked positively maniacal. Of course, he has writers, but kept the beard in solidarity with the writers. I hadn't heard about that before.

Suddenly, I'm struck by how odd it is to see labor issues on television, and it's interesting, because it's very real. And, Conan's pulling it off in a very big way, and why not? He's a professional, and this is just another challenge. He's got talent, and it's interesting, or maybe I'm just interested because, well...

It's a beard.

I have had a beard for most of this decade, and it suits me, though it doesn't seem to have much acceptance. People don't understand the beard, which I can't understand myself. It's incredibly practical. It's warm during the cold months, and, well, I use a lot less water by not shaving every day.

So, I'm wondering what tomorrow's reviews will say about the beards, which I thought were fantastic to see. If the writer's strike goes on, we'll see these guys with beards for a while, and maybe others will take it up as well.

Just think, too: Two of Charlottesville's five City Councilors will have beards when they convene on Monday. And that includes the next Mayor. Correspondingly, 40 percent of the population should be required to grow a beard. We're a union town, right?