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iPhone news: Wizzard Media iPhone Player


Our data host, Libsyn, is owned by a company called Wizzard Media. The folks at Wizzard have put together what looks like a really nice little iPhone podcast web app.

It will allow you to stream *your* podcasts over the Edge data network or over WiFi. You can even import your subscriptions from iTunes.

And hey! Cameo appearance in the how-to video by the Sound of Young America feed!

You can use the app here:

Ira Glass of This American Life: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Ira Glass

Ira Glass is the host of Public Radio International's This American Life, as well as the television version of the program, which airs on Showtime. He also edited the book "The New Kings of Nonfiction," which collects some of the best magazine-style reportage of the last fifteen years or so.

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And here's a special bonus:
This American Life parodies from the Kasper Hauser Comedy Podcast.
Episode One:

Episode Two:

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Put-Ons with Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere
This American Life producer Julie Snyder
Jonathans with Jonathan Katz and former TAL producer Jonathan Goldstein

Ted Leo + Tommy Tsunami = "Colleen"

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What happens when all-around great guy and two-time awesome Sound guest Ted Leo teams up with Broadcasting Legend and three-time awesome Sound guest Tom Scharpling for a music video? ARM WRESTLING!

Written and produced by Tommy Tsunami; the song's "Colleen" from Teddy Rockstar's most recent LP "Living with the Living."

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Go! For It.


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

On this week's show Go! For It writer Paul Feig and musician Ian Parton are in the hot seat.

Among his many accolades, Paul Feig can count the creation of 90’s cult tv show “Freaks and Geeks” and the book “Superstud: How I Became a 24 Year Old Virgin”. Paul is also an actor, director and producer.

The Go! Team are a super-talented, highly energetic bunch of musicians from Brighton in the UK. Founder member Ian Parton takes TSOYA behind the scenes and tells us what makes the band what it is!

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Interview: Meredith Gran, creator of "Octopus Pie" by Aaron Matthews


Meredith Gran is the Brooklyn-based comic artist and animator behind the webcomics “Skirting Danger” and most recently, “Octopus Pie.” The latter series tells the serio-comic story of Eve and Hanna, 2 young women living in Brooklyn, New York.

Meredith recently self-published a collection of the first four storylines of “Octopus Pie” and just began the sixth storyline of the comic.

AM: When did you first consider cartooning specifically as a career, as opposed to art? You started writing Skirting Danger when you were about 16, if I remember correctly.
Meredith: Yeah, I was a teenager. At the time I didn't really see it as anything more than a hobby. I only began thinking about comics as a career in the past year or so, after working out of school for a bit. Seeing how other professional cartoonists operate.
AM: What was it like writing a reasonably popular and well-regarded webcomic at that age?
Meredith: At the time I was very excited to have that storytelling outlet. Looking back, I'm actually shocked at how well-received it was. At the time, I figured a handful of people, a lot of my friends, enjoyed it. People ask me about it all the time and it seems so long ago. It's very strange.
AM: How much of Octopus Pie is autobiographical? It's definitely very Brooklyn-centric and much of it, particularly the more serious storylines, feels authentic and lived-in.
Meredith: None of the stories are true, per-se, but a lot of the themes are taken directly from experience. Eve has definitely gone through a few of my internal struggles. In a recent storyline she's faced with the prospect of forging her identity out of a lucrative career - or lack thereof. In my post-college years, I've asked myself many of the same questions Eve has to work through.
AM: Have you ever considering syndicating Octopus Pie? A few of your contemporaries, namely Diesel Sweeties and Dinosaur Comics have been syndicated in some smaller press papers.
Meredith: It hasn't crossed my mind. The comic isn't much of a daily strip; there's too much context to understand if you miss a day. If you can't press the "back" button with my stories, a lot of the effect is lost. Plus syndication just doesn't seem all that lucrative for a comic my size.
AM: In a lot of ways, the form fits the content really well, at least in terms of having the entire storyline up to that point as accessible.
Meredith: Webcomics are kind of similar to telenovelas in that way.
AM: One last question to wrap things up: describe Octopus Pie in one sentence.
Meredith: Haha, this one is hard.
AM: Don't rush it. This is crucial.
Meredith: It's a Brooklyn drama about a girl's comedic life.

Octopus Pie is published three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Watch video of Meredith drawing here. The unedited version of this interview is available here on Aaron's blog.

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast"

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I came to CD Baby's podcast regarding independent artists (iTunes link) with high hopes. I'm as much interested in the money side of the music business as the artistic side. If there's anytime to chronicle the shape of the music business this is it becuase the entire game is being overhauled. The Portland, Ore. based show has a lot to deal with but I felt it only does an okay job of covering the current situation.

I give the show a fair rating becuase I have to split the difference between the two types of formats the show works with. Half of the episodes feature long form interviews with musicians. The other half are roundtable discussions with the four hosts (discussions will occasionally follow an interview as well). I loved the interviews. I can take or leave the roundtable.

The interviews I heard were with Portland producer Jeff Stuart Salzman and TSOYA favorite Jonathan Coulton. Conducted by main host Kevin they were revealing discussions that were propelled by a mutual enthusiasm for creating music and the new possibilities musicians have today. I loved hearing Salzman using Black Sabbath as an example of the power of simplicity in recording a song. The Coulton interview gave me a lot to learn about how a modern songwriter can promote him/herself with on-line resources. That enthusiasm felt between host and guest becomes infectious within minutes.

That easy feeling I enjoyed in the interviews was what bothered me about the discussions amongst all the hosts. It feels weird to appraise podcasts based around conversations becuase I feel like I'm critiquing the hosts personally and not just the content they create. The on-air talent for the CD Baby podcast all seem nice but the arguments just didn't pop. There wasn't much conflict in the debates to keep me entertained. Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot of Sound Opinion can sound like they're disagreeing even when they're not. This show goes in the opposite direction. When actual disagreements arise on CD Baby's show they never seem to catch fire. I was very curious about what the show would have to say about Radiohead's on-line release of their seventh album, easily the biggest story in the recording industry. You had some people who said they'd pay for the album and some who wouldn't but no one really was going at it. It doesn't help that the hosts aren't every introduced on the show other than their first name. Who are these people and what are their credentials? I had to go through three links on their website before I found the page that gave me those answers. The constant adding of cheesy sound effects played over the dialogue spoken didn't endear me to the program, either.

The summaries on iTunes makes it easy to see which episode of this show has an interview and which is just a discussion. If it's an interview with an artist, whether you know them or not, I say check it out. Skip the roundtable episodes, though.

David Foster Wallace and John Ziegler


Faithful listeners may remember a bit of my most recent interview with George Saunders. Somehow (I don't quite remember how), the subject of David Foster Wallace's brilliant essay on talk radio came up. The piece (collected both in Wallace's "Consider the Lobster" and Ira Glass' "New Kings of Non-Fiction") examines what kind of man works in talk radio, and how a talker named John Ziegler exemplified that very kind of man.

Well, it looks like John Ziegler's on his way out at KFI in Los Angeles.

Ziegler told the LA Times: "I have always had a love-hate relationship with talk radio. At its best, it's a fantastic medium. At its worst it can drain your lifeblood. And I have had the lifeblood drained out of me for a period of time. It's time for me to move on from KFI's perspective and mine."

A post about Usher.


This new Usher song is fucking outrageous. I cannot believe this is a real song by a realfamous guy. I mean, the beat is weird, but the tiny symphonic soul bridge? This is the wildest song I've heard since ever.

Also: Ludacris is a nonsense-sex-rapping MONSTER.



New Zune software and firmware is out now. I upgraded my player yesterday, and it seems pretty great.

You'll notice I've added one click subscription buttons for the Zune to the sidebar to the right. Only TSOYA was listed in the marketplace at launch, but all of those buttons should take you straight to the podcasts in the Zune software.


On me and Ira and editing...


A couple people have asked me questions like this about my Ira Glass interview, so I thought I'd answer here on the blog. Paulscan on AST asked:

Another great interview, but I had a question. Usually, your interviews are edited very well and sound like (exceedingly witty) normal conversations. However, I noticed a lot more pauses before Ira's answers to your questions (which are, of course, a part of every conversation). Is it your normal practice to edit those kinds of things out? If so, why didn't you do it for this interview? This struck me as odd, especially in light of your raised concerns with the Improv Everywhere TAL shows, as well as the questions about narrative storytelling, news framing, etc.

Not trying to imply anything here, just curious.

I would say those kinds of pauses are very unusual, and are not part of every conversation. They were unusual enough, in fact, that I decided to leave them in. I think they reflect the thought that Ira put in to his answers.

Generally speaking, my interviews are VERY lightly edited. If I have time, I'll edit out maybe a few stumbles in speach on the part of my guest, but generally it's almost the whole interview, almost exactly as it happened live. For radio I will sometimes edit out a question (or a line of questioning) for time, but I usually leave it in in the podcast.

This is pretty unusual in public radio -- I make the choice to do this in large part because I'm a one-man band, so I lack both the perspective and time to do a really big editing job like some shows with similar formats (say Fresh Air or On the Media) do. I'm certainly not at all against that, I just don't have the resources. Fresh Air, for example, will often (not always) do an hour or more for an interview that runs at 40 or 20 minutes. Which is awesome for them, they have a big staff of the best producers and editors in the business. I might do it that way if I could, I dunno. For many years TSOYA was live, and I still kind of operate the show that way, only now I can edit out swears.

The only show that I can think of where I've done a lot of editing of dead air is the Betty Davis show, but if I had left in all the dead air there was in that interview, no one would have listened. She hadn't really spoken publicly in like 30 years and is a very private woman, so I felt it was more important to help people listen than to play all these loooooooooooooooong pauses.

A few folks have also asked me (in a very friendly manner) about how tough I was on Ira in the interview. Generally speaking, I'm not "tough" on guests. In part this is because I'm often introducing them to most of my audience, and I think that introduction is more important than "sticking it" to someone. If I really disagreed with someone about something, I just wouldn't book them. That said, I was kind of tough with Ira.

Now let's be clear: I don't think I've ever hidden my affection for This American Life. I think it's the best radio show in history. It is a large part of what made me think a career in public radio might actually work out. As a general rule, I love the shit out of This American Life. So ... that's out of the way.

The reason I asked Ira about storytelling and the relationship between truth and narrative in the interview is that it is A) important and B) the connection between TAL and Ira's book. The book (which is great) is designed as a mini-manifesto about reporting. I also knew that Ira has thought about this issue, because all the choices Ira made in creating TAL come from 20 years of working in public radio news before the show even started. Working with Joe Frank and Noah Adams and whoever else gave him plenty of opportunity to think out his philosophy, and I wanted to hear it. Furthermore, any regular listener of TAL has heard it move towards "hard news" in the past five years or so, and I knew that was a choice, and wanted to know about it.

In other words: I wanted to know the answers to those questions, and I was betting Ira'd have some good ones. Which I thought he did. He could have played the "I'm Ira Glass, and You're Not" card, but instead he chose to give really thoughtful answers to those questions. He's forgotten more about these issues than I'll ever know, so I was glad to hear what he had to say.

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