Just finished my first hour-long mediageek on the mighty WNUR. We had some phone system troubles during the first 10 minutes or so. First I couldn’t hear my guest, John, then he couldn’t hear me. But the very able producer/engineer Andrew figured out the glitch and got us up and working for the balance of the hour.
This is the first live show I’ve done since March and it reminds me how much I love live radio. I’m not a perfectionist, so I can roll with the little tech glitches. In fact, I think they remind the listeners that there’s a real human being working in real time behind the mic. Not a patchwork of pre-recorded segments with the occasional live break to give the time, traffic and weather on the eights.
For April through last week I’ve been recording the show podcast style in my home office on my MacBook. And while that provides a little more control, in that environment I find it hard to be inspired, nevermind focused and concise. It’s a matter of personality and preference I’m sure. But I started with live radio in college back in 1989 and that’s pretty much all I’ve ever done since. Certainly many of my interviews are pre-recorded because a lot of guests aren’t easily available during the live show time. But at least with another person on the line it’s a lot more spontaneous and lively.
So while the rise of podcasting and the easy access to high quality recording tools has leveled the playing field for people to produce their own radio-like programming, I am still convinced there is no substitute for a live multi-kilowatt transmitter. Perhaps live webcasting comes close–especially in terms of spontaneity–but the reach of a WNUR in terms of broadcast listenership could bankrupt someone with bandwidth bills on the ‘net.
Despite the minor glitches the WNUR studios are the nicest I’ve had the opportunity to work in and truly blow away most commercial stations aside from the major market leaders. And the staff at WNUR are a great bunch, and I’m having a great time getting to know them. It’s a true student run station–a dying breed, as we discussed on tonight’s show–and the students proudly put on an independent, challenging, independent and interesting set of programming.
And a big thanks must go out to Andrew Gothelf who stepped up and volunteered to assist with mediageek as soon as the show got scheduled one week ago. I’m looking forward to his contributions to the program.