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This American Life Podcasting Free


Speak of the devil and he shall appear, huh?

This American Life has announced they are now offering a free weekly podcast of the show. The podcast will not have an archive, however, which means that you will only be able to download a show in the week it is broadcast, before it is replaced by the next week's program. The income from Audible and iTunes is important to TAL (as it would be to me, if it existed), so I'd hate to begrudge them that.

Here's the iTunes link
Here's the Podcast feed:


Two voices on public media worth hearing out.


I'm not a huge fan of Tavis Smiley's on-air work, but I genuinely respect the fact that five years after he came into the field he's still goosing public broadcasters into considering issues of public service, diversity and style.

Here's something he wrote in an editorial in the public broadcasting industry rag Current:

I know about the research, I know all about the baby boomers and the big donors and the ratings and cume. But I honestly believe public broadcasting can do more to get out of its comfort zone and welcome new people to the club. That means trying new things, taking risks, speaking new languages. We stream, we podcast, we simulcast; there are more ways than ever to reach the members of our global society. But are we really reaching the public and not just the select few?

It's worth checking out the whole piece. Whatever you think of the man personally, or of his program, he's making a compelling case for broadening the scope of public media beyond its highly-educated, white, upper middle class, Saab-driving bubble.

Another guy who's tirelessly worked to promote diversity (particularly stylistic and tonal diversity) in public radio is Ira Glass, producer and host of This American Life. I think TAL is easily the best program on radio, and still sounds revolutionary 11 years later (even if they're only making one show a month anymore). It's certainly what inspired me to go into public broadcasting, and I think a survey of public radio employees under 30 would find that to be a general case. Since This American Life got off the ground, Glass has been an active supporter of new ideas in public radio -- at a time when everyone else was focusing on honing the old ideas.

He spoke at the recent Public Radio Program Directors' conference award ceremony, and focused his remarks on a topic near & dear to my heart -- FUN. Open this MP3 stream, and skip to the 7:00 minute mark to hear his remarks, which run about half an hour and are funny, insightful and not very inside-baseball.

One of the things that's special about public radio has been it's respect for fun. Whether it's Garrison Keillor's horrible, horrible jokes (that I hate) or Click & Clack's horrible, horrible jokes (that I love), or the flagship news shows' willingness to fit a funny piece into every hour, this is one of our core strengths.

But what both Ira and Tavis are wondering is: where's the next generation coming from? How can we continue to expand this? Where are the new voices, and the innovations? And those are damn good questions.

Randy Newman was on Colbert, and nobody told me?


Get on it people. Jesse doesn't have cable, he needs HEADS UPS when important sh*t is going down.

Anyway, Colbert reads some lyrics from one of my favorite Newman songs, "My Life is Good." Here's Newman performing that song in 1983:

PBS on iTunes?


Damn. You know what this means, right? I can hate those blond twins from The Antiques Roadshow WHENEVER I WANT. It'll only cost me $1.99.

Plus we can watch that episode of Scientific America Frontiers where Alan Alda learns how to live forever. I love that one.

Bi-Coastal Action


Cool event LA... plus our pals at Mortified are roaming the country, and don't forget about all of the Sound of Young America Presents events coming up in the next couple of weeks. Speaking of which: if you live in the Southland and you don't come to Prank the Dean's HBO Comedy Festival showcase on Tuesday the 17th, you're out of the Maximum Fun Club. Sorry, have to draw a line in the sand on that one.

Anyhoo, I'm in the Yay Area for a day or two, after spending yesterday in Santa Cruz celebrating our first pledge drive on KUSP. God bless 'em. My plan for this San Francisco visit: 1) Eat Burrito 2) Eat Burrito 3) Eat Super Burrito.

(note: AWK event in NYC got cancelled, sadly)

"Evan Almighty" cost overruns, Studio exec soul underruns.


This LA Times article profiles the $160 million plus that Universal Pictures is spending on the Steve Carrel vehicle "Evan Almighty." Studios seem to believe that the more money you spend, the funnier it gets.

The article is full of distressing comments from studio officials, but this one, from co-Chairman David Linde, takes the cake.

"It's based on two story sources: 'Bruce Almighty' and the Bible, both of which were incredibly successful," Linde said.

And Hollywood wonders why America hates them.

(thanks Nick)

Pharaohe Monch - Push


For hip-hop fans, this record has been a long time coming. When did Pharaohe's first solo, "Internal Affairs," come out? 1999? It's almost 2007.

Pharaohe produced this one himself, with the nice Impressions sample. No one can flow like Monch. Reccomended listening, by the way: Nate Dogg f. Pharohe Monch "I Pledge Allegiance."

The Dynasty Continues


Jay-Z - Show Me What You Got (prod. Just Blaze)

Jigga's flow gets a bit tripped up in the middle, but the beat is undeniable. Just takes the "grown & sexy" vibe to the next level on this one. Great drums, too.

"Give the drummer some / I already gave the summer some / it's the winter's turn!"

The Sound: Now with Web 2.0 Social Network Mobisodes.


Yeah yeah yeah, I signed up for Facebook. Make friends with me. Also, join Ryan's Fans of The Sound of Young America group!

Jesse Thorn's Facebook profile

And if you're not on Facebook, there's always Myspace.

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