About the geek behind the ‘geek

My name is Paul Riismandel, and I have been the mediageek since Feb. 2000. But I’ve been Paul since before then. (And I’ve decided to write this bio in first person, since I’m actually writing it).

I’ve been making media ever since I could hold a pen or work a tape recorder. But I’ve been making something closer to mass media for nearly twenty years. Starting with college radio at WTSR-FM at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey), I really caught the media-making bug and also was introduced to more alternative and underground media.

After college I moved to Champaign-Urbana, IL for graduate school, where I stayed for more than fourteen years. I hung around this Central Illinois college town because I got involved in community radio WEFT, which immersed me in community radio and the world of alternative and independent media that surrounds it. In fourteen years of involvement at WEFT I hosted three different shows, chaired the station’s programming committee and coordinated several pledge drives.

WEFT is the birthplace of the mediageek radioshow, which I’ve been producing since March, 2002. The radioshow gives me an audio outlet for the issues I blog about here, in addition to an excuse to interview interesting people who are out there making their own media.

The 1999 WTO ministerial that became the Battle in Seattle convinced me that there was greater power to be captured in the nexus of the internet with existing alternative media. Along with a group of about 20 other local media activists, in 2000 I helped organize the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, which opened its first physical storefront location on the day of George W. Bush’s first inauguration in Jan. 2001. The U-C IMC now owns the historic post office in downtown Urbana, IL.

In April, 2008 I left Champaign for the more urban environs of Chicago to take a position as the Director of Curriculum Support for the School of Communication at Northwestern University. One of the great benefits of this job is that I am also the adviser to the student radio station WNUR. I now also have the privilege of producing the mediageek radioshow from WNUR, bringing it to an even wider audience.

mediageek is an outgrowth of my studies and my lifelong passion for media that lies outside and opposes the mainstream.


4 responses to “About the geek behind the ‘geek”

  1. Paul Scrabo Avatar

    Enjoyed your “Flipping Burgers” article in “Streaming Media”

  2. Craig Koslofsky Avatar
    Craig Koslofsky

    Thanks for a great run of The Mediageek!

    See you around Chicago!


  3. Francine Silverman Avatar

    Paul – I am offering e-books in conjunction with my book, Talk Radio Wants You: An Intimate Guide to 700 Shows and How to Get Invited, McFarland & Co. 2009 (a National “Best Books 2009” Awards Winner in the Business: Reference category).

    Having discovered some wonderful shows – like yours – after the book went into production, I decided to follow the categories in my book.

    If you welcome guests and are interested in being part of the e-book, please fill in the blanks below and return it to me as soon as possible.

    All the best, Fran

    Title of Show:

    Name of Host:


    Where Aired: (call letters of station or website)

    Guest Profile (type of guest you prefer):




    Best Method of Contact: (Snail mail, email and/or phone):

  4. Ian Fletcher Avatar


    I am an economist and author of the new book Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why.

    I am available for interviews; you can hear a clip of me speaking at http://www.freetradedoesntwork.com/video.htm.

    Take a look at my website (www.freetradedoesntwork.com), and if it piques your interest, please let me know.

    I’m also happy to send you a free copy on request.

    Best Regards,
    Ian Fletcher

    Adjunct Fellow
    US Business & Industry Council
    California Office
    225 Bush St., 16th Fl.
    San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
    415.439.8377 | 415.358.4320 (fax) | 415.238.8145 (cell)

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