About Paul Riismandel

Hi, I’m Paul Riismandel. mediageek has been my home on the internet since 2000.

I am a co-founder and operations director of Radio Survivor and the Podcasting Evangelist for Midroll Media, the parent company of the Earwolf and Wolfpop podcast networks. My job at Midroll is to help advertisers and the public understand the singular power and potential of podcasting.

Radio and audio are life-long obsessions for me, and have been my primary focus for the last two. From 2000 to 2013 I was an educational technologist specializing in online video and communication, though I always had a hand in radio and podcasting, working in community radio, hosting a weekly syndicated show, and serving as advisor to a large college radio station.

For more professional details, you can check out my LinkedIn profile.


I used to blog at this website quite a bit until about 2009, when I co-founded Radio Survivor. Now most of my writing can be found there and at the Midroll blog.

Since 2007 I have been a contributing editor at Streaming Media Magazine covering the education beat. My “Class Act” column appears every issue, and I write occasional feature articles.

I also write freelance on topics spanning technology, media and education. Drop me a line if you’ve got something for me to tackle.


I co-host and co-produce two podcasts:

  • The Radio Survivor Podcast is the weekly audio companion to Radio Survivor which I produce with Eric Klein. We are driven by the question: What makes great radio? To help answer the question we talk to interesting people about the radio they make, the radio they love, and the radio they’d love to hear.
  • Jenny and Paul Sell Out is founded on the tenet that culture matters and selling out doesn’t. My co-host Jenny Benevento and I also try to help you get your shit together, while we do the same.

I am also the producer of The Wolf Den, which is the original and still only podcast about the business of podcasting, hosted by Midroll Media CEO Adam Sachs. Each week Adam talks to people doing exciting things in podcasting and new media.


I am an avid photographer, with occasional stints in paid work, including portraiture, events and stock. My work has appeared in the Northwestern University School of Communication Magazine and Radio World. I don’t have a good online portfolio, though the stuff I shoot for fun is on flickr.

About Mediageek

The site started as a place for me to write and reflect on the political economy of our media environment, with a particular emphasis on independent media. Like any 14-year project it has evolved, hibernated and changed over time. For better or worse I have done my best to keep the entire archive of the site online with minimal link rot, despite several host and blog platform migrations, along a few redesigns.

I gave the site a much-needed refresh in March 2014 (hello responsive design!), with an eye towards yet another resuscitation in the guise of something more like a personal blog. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode where we find out if Paul actually follows through.

For historical purposes, here is the last About description, published January 4, 2006:

From the original mediageek about page, Februrary, 2000:

A medigeek is someone who, like a computer geek, delves into the inner working of media both to understand it and to hack it. A mediageek doesn’t accept the rules and restrictions of the mainstream media, circumventing and jamming them by doing it him or herself.

This site will serve as a guide for mediageeks, looking at how the media works, both systemically–the political economy of the mainstream, indpendent and underground media–and practically–how you can put media making tools to work.

I also hope that the site can be inspiration and encouragement to become a mediageek, creating, hacking and jamming the media yourself.

This website is an eight-year journey into blogging about grassroots and independent media, and the issues that affect our ability to create and use that media freely. This blog reflects my own idiosyncratic approach to issues like community radio, underground and alternative press, pirate and community radio, videomaking, and, of course, blogging and podcasting.

Independent media is not a self-contained bubble — it has a co-dependent relationship with the dominant media. In turn, our whole media environment is constantly affected by law, legislation, regulations and corporate action. I take a critical look at these things from the standpoint of how they affect us, our everday lives, and how we can make changes in them towards a better, more just world.

The history of mediageek:
Mediageek in its current form started in 2000 as a blog and home for my previous community radio program, Radio Free Conscience. That program was a lot like the current mediageek radioshow, except that it aired only biweekly, was more focused on radio, and was overall less consistent. RFC actually had a webpage of its own going back to 1996, but it was pretty much just a static page with occasional posts to archives of the program.

The mediageek radioshow debuted in 2002 as a weekly program with a broader focus than RFC, more like the blog. In 2003 the mediageek zine debuted, putting mediageek in three different media. The zine only lasted three issues (I swear a fourth is still forthcoming), which is more of a commentary on my own industry than the viability of print.

If there’s one thing this enterprise has taught me, it’s that there’s an audience for critical views on mainstream and independent media, but don’t get your hopes up. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve kept the blog going consistently for nearly eight years — frankly, quite a bit longer than most bloggers.

I started the mediageek blog because I stumbled upon Blogger and thought, “Damn, that would be an easy way to keep this site updated.” That was before your grandma had heard of blogs, and before anyone thought a blog was a way to get famous, popular or rich. In writing mediageek I’ve become none of those things, but I am glad to have created an archive of ideas and viewpoints (not to mention tons of dead links) about my relationship to media.

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