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What's up with John Krasinski?


"The Office" star is getting all these movies and stuff, because he's kind of handsome and likable. And good.

There's an interview with him on Entertainment Weekly's website, and he offers this nugget about the upcoming Christopher Guest film, in which he has a small role:

What's Guest's new movie about?
A small, independent movie that starts getting Oscar buzz and then finds itself in the running against huge pictures. There's a Siskel and Ebert team who review all the major films of the year, and they review this little indie movie... I'm in the big studio movie, playing a cop. It's called — actually, I probably shouldn't give any more away, I'm just so excited about it!

While you're doing Office-related shit, why not check out the fake "The More You Know" PSAs they made for April Fools Day? As much as I hate to promote something clearly made with viral marketing in mind, they're really f'ing funny.

True Stories of the SFPD


One time, I went looking for a "crime blotter" on the SFPD website, becuase there was a string of shootings outside my house. Well, no dice, but I found something much, much, much better. The Northern District Community Newsletter is sort of a like the greatest episode of Law & Order ever filmed. It's a newsletter, maybe written by a cop, I dunno. It starts out with some newslettery stuff (hiring announcements, community fairs, that kind of thing), and then moves on to the AWESOME PART: crime stories. Like this one, picked at random:

Friday December 30, 3:25 AM, Prositution Arrest: Officer Kennedy and Officer Paulsen were working in plain clothes in the area of California St. and Larkin St. They observed a woman whom they recognized from a myriad of prior contacts for prostitution related activity. They observed the woman for a short while. She hailed several cars and eventually got one to stop, most likely because her diaphanous blouse commanded a certain amount of attention. The officers observed as the woman entered the car and the driver left the area. The officers followed the car and found the couple engrossed in hedonistic activity. The officers interceded and the couple was arrested. The man was released on a citation and the prostitute was booked at county Jail due to the fact that she would have plied her trade in perpetuity had the officers not removed her from the streets.

It's in PDF form, and I had to retype that one, or I'd post more. They are wonderful. The word "scallawag" is used liberally. Amazing, amazing stuff.

And to think, all this was going on in my neighborhood!

Podcasting? Try Pard-casting.


The most fun I ever had doing a Sound of Young America interview was when I talked to Jimmy Pardo. I know, you wouldn't expect much from the former host of a TV show called "National Lampoon's Funny Money," but Jimmy is the funniest extemporaneous speaker I've ever linked up with. He also has a wonderful old-timey quality that makes you think he should be drunk and hosting "The Match Game" with one of those long skinny microphones with the ball at the end. A charming combination.

Anyway, Jimmy's teamed up with Matt Belknap of AST Radio to produce "Never Not Funny," a new podcast. It's as funny as I have come to expect from Pardo, and it's set to feature a sort of rotating panel of comedians alongside him. I added it to my subscription list, which is a pretty exclusive one.

The Website
The Feed

Jimmy Pardo on The Sound of Young America (realaudio link)

Jen Kirkman's Blog

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I pretty much despise all personal blogs. Who cares? And lord knows I avoid MySpace blogs like the plague. Why look at MySpace when you don't have to?

But then I read Jen Kirkman's blog, which is wonderful. It's about her life in Hollywood as a comic and sometime actress... she's got brilliant things to say, and she's fantastically funny. When I was reading her stuff, I thought to myself "Why is Sandra Tsing Loh Sandra Tsing Loh, when Jen Kirkman could be Sandra Tsing Loh?"

Then I remembered that I have a radio show of my own. So I asked Jen if she would be interested in doing some sort of commentaries for The Sound. She's into it. I think we'll be doing it by phone... working title, "Your Friend in Hollywood, Jen Kirkman." I think the intimacy of telephone sound will work great with her personal stories.

Anyway, check it out, let me know what you think.

Oh! And her show, "Dork Days," is running in LA on April 10th:

Monday, April 10th @8PM
Dork Days! *new version*
Laugh and cringe at Jen's failed mission to achieve child stardom in the 1980's before nuclear war hits.
The Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson Theatre
6539 Santa Monica Blvd Hollywood CA 90038
reservations are a must!! call now! (323) 960 5519

The Life Expectancy of a Dwarf (etc)


Ricky Jay has protrayed a Bond villain on celluloid, can kill a man with a thrown playing card in real life, and is magical on the radio.

His radio commentaries for KCRW, entitled "Jay's Journals," are one of the best thing on the internet ever.


TSOYA: "Real vs. Fake" with Ricky Jay and Brian Copeland (MP3 Link)

Funkadelic Live in 1979


This is the New Sincerity perfectly captured in a performance context. If you don't like this, you don't like living life.

Found Magazine's Cavalcade of Thrills


Our beloved pals at Found Magazine just announced another of their world-famous nationwide tours. At each stop, they share and gather found materials... notes, pictures, letters, lists. Here's the text of a found note they shared in their announcement:

BOCCE is good for letting go of your problems. It is a beautiful day, let go of your problems as you let go of your balls. Clutch the balls and really work them over in your palms until you have gathered up all of your negativity and let the balls spread it back into the earth. The earth is there for you to talk to and let go of your balls on.

They're headed to 33 cities in May and June, including San Francisco, LA, NY, Seattle, and 29 places in between.

Also, founder Davy Rothbart is a contributor to This American Life, and his piece on meeting Mr. Rogers re-runs this week on public radio stations across the country. You can hear it online here. The first time I heard it (I didn't know Davy then), I cried. Also the second time.

And I'm no cry-baby.

Davy Rothbart on The Sound of Young America: "Finders Keepers" (MP3 Link)
Two streaming interviews with Davy on The Sound: First one, second one.
Found Magazine online

Keep it up, neckties!

Keep it up, neckties!

A necktie is a great way to make any day a Day Worth Living. Keep it up, Neckties!

Rejected from NPR's "This I Believe"


From McSweeney's:

And that is why I believe I should abandon this essay and go make a sandwich. I believe the best sandwiches are made on toast. I believe they include hummus, and sprouts, and perhaps a tomato. But, above all, I believe the best sandwiches are served with a pickle.


Wired and the Public Radio Podcasting Dilemma


Wired has a very interesting piece on the financial challenges brought up by public radio's embrace of podcasting. It's sort of encapsulated by this quote, one listener's response to a local station pledge drive:

"Why would I sit through all of that if I can get what I like for free online, listen to it on my own time and not be guilted for weeks into giving money?" says Michaels, a real estate agent who says her husband donates to the station on behalf of her family. "I've even found a whole bunch of NPR shows online that aren't on NPR here, which is so great."

Many local NPR stations have basically been run as NPR (and PRI, and APM) conduits for the past ten or fifteen years, and they're now realizing that in the 21st century, radio stations no longer have exclusive license to audio content distribution. No longer does being "Your NPR News Source in the Tri-County Area" mean that listeners must turn to your station if they want interesting and informative news audio.

I'm a big advocate of podcasting, and of public broadcasting (as you might imagine, me being a podcasting public broadcaster). Everything's very much in the air, but this is how I think (hope?) things will shake out:

  • As NPR's non-station audience grows (naturally cannibalizing some local station audience), it must significantly cut the huge fees it charges stations for programming. Its online and sattelite presence will provide lots of underwriting revenue (that's the stuff that's like advertising, but isn't) , and potentially lots of private and public revenue (like the huge Jean Kroc bequest) as well.
  • Radio will remain a vital medium for many years to come, just as newspapers have. It's ubiquity and ease-of-use will not go away, though that advantage will decrease over time.
  • Stations will be forced to develop programming that means something to their audience, then distribute it through all the means at their disposal, if they want the audience to continue to care about them enough to give money.
  • "Audience" may not continue to mean only "local audience," as more stations will undertake the KPIG/KCRW model, by combining local community relevance with strong brands that promote broader (inter)national community relevance.
  • Stations that produce their own high quality programming (like WNYC and KCRW) will thrive.
  • Smaller independent program producers (that's me!) will view the radio audience and radio stations as great promotion for their podcasts, raising money directly from underwriters and listeners. Currently, TSOYA charge a big fat nothing to the stations that carry the show or our specials.

One big question here is where the non-government, non-corporate money will come from and go to. What will people care enough about to make a contribution to?

In our TSOYA Census, about 60% of the respondents said they would be willing to give directly to The Sound of Young America. Consider, though, that only about 200 of the most enthusiastic listeners responded to the census -- it's a self-selecting group.

Personally, I've given directly to Chicago Public Radio to support webstreaming of This American Life before. I've thought recently about giving some to KCRW, since I love The Business and The Treatment so much. But if people do give to content producers, will that keep them from giving to their local stations?

Tod Maffin, a CBC broadcaster, points out that "traditional" public broadcasters (those, like the CBC or BBC, supported by government funding) are in a great position, since the podcasting revolution simply gives them expanded opportunities, with only a modest added financial burden.

Of course, all of this comes at a key juncture for The Sound of Young America, as I leave KZSC (where I was bound by university policy not to have any income from the show), so I'm very interested to hear your thoughts about what kind of listening you've done in the past, what you plan to do in the future, and what you think The Sound should do.

Anyway, this isn't a manifesto, it's more of a first draft, so thoughts are appreciated.

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