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Page history last edited by Charles-A. Rovira 13 years ago


Direct link to the episode:

m4a -> http://media.libsyn.com/media/msb/spc_wspc_ThymeWarp_0044.m4a

Video Links

YouTube ->

This is episode 44


As promised, I've been converting my 400 or so albums from vinyl to CDs, to MP3s, so you're going to reap the benefits of my vastly expanded iTunes catalog.


 Before I launch headlong into some Jazz, (the sweet sounds of SatchMo' blowin' his horn are calling to me sumtin' fierce,) I'd like to make some observations about my media studies classes.

---- vvvv The Media Squat vvvv ----


The media are about to change for the better as Marshall McLuhan's dream of a global village gets going, in ways he never lived long enough to get more than a glimpse of.


In keeping with Douglas Rushkoff's theme of economic empowerment from the bottom up, on WFMU (my other job, as it were,) since the top doesn't seem to know which way the light shines, (like, from outside its colon,) I would like to tell you abut some things I have noticed about the media.


One management axiom holds that "perfect is the enemy of 'good enough'" and at some point "you have to shoot the engineers and ship the damn product."


But there is another axiom which ad supported media ignored until it was too late, "'Better' is death to the 'Status Quo'"


This has "no" application for "Mom-and-Pop" outfits except that it will give them the tools to compete with the former "Big Boys".


Lets take what is laughingly referred to as food by the average American.


How many pizzerias are there across the United States?


Like a hundred thousand.


How many mega-conglomo-giganto-humongous pizza, and I use the term very loosely here, processing corporations are there?


Likely there are fewer than you've got fingers, even if we hack off your thumbs with a Bowie knife…


You can repeat the question for every kind of food to be found around the planet. Chinese, Mexican, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Polish, English (though to be honest I have never eaten a burger as badly prepared as I had once at a Wimpy's. Country ale was a great discovery, but you can take most of England's grub and toss it somewhere deep, dark and anoxic. It sucked.)


You will probably find that its the same handful of mega-conglomo-giganto-humongous corporations who are trying to squeeze every fraction of a penny until Lincoln [bleeps].

(No wonder everything tastes like [bleep], and its the same [bleep] from Portsmouth Maine to Port Angeles, Washington and from Tampa, Florida to just north of Tijuana, Mexico.

Its utterly, unrelievedly, unpalatably, monotonously, toxically consistent across all time zones and from sodden melting pole to pole.


[The FDA is so screwing with you, big time.

They make horrible tasting, disease-friendly rules about the F;

they make laughably unsafe rules about the D,

because they're completely owned by the corporations who are having entirely too much fun giving it to you up the A.])


On the internet though, Mon-N-Pop and mega-conglomo-giganto-humongous corporations are both equal if their ads are good enough. (And that is were the money will lie. The demand for content production is about to sky-rocket. The delivery wont cost any more than a phone call. )


This has some wide ranging implication, (in that, the guy in the bread line next to you may have been working for ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN,  The Boston Daily Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, or any of the dozens of other media outlets trying to get by on ad revenue, but you'll at least have some marketable skill … while they won't! )




This has some severe consequences for television. The ad supported nature of the media is disappearing as fast as their old customers got onto the internet.

PBS, NPR, PRI and an alphabet soup of providers are already on the internet.


And why not?


With the mass media, the joke went, you knew you knew you were wasting half of your advertising money, if only you could know which half..


The lack of numbers of the mega-conglomo-giganto-humongous corporations will become apparent when their board members ask why they're still wasting share-holders' money.


Then, one after another, ad supported mass media will simply "cease to exist."


This won't just be television (They just went digital and now it'll have been pointless.)




The slide into oblivion by the newspapers and magazines is well documented by the "Newspaper Death Watch" types of sites [ http://www.newspaperdeathwatch.com/ ]  on the web.


The only ones that are even capable of hanging on are the ones who have been able to make the switch to hyper-localized news.


Even then. Google is handing them their heads on a dirty hubcap.


Magazines are going down in flames in a spiral next to them.


Several have crashed and burned already.




So what happens to movies then?


It won't be much fun down at the multiplex without the ads. (Not for you, the audience, since you're just the poor "schmucks" who wait patiently for the feature to start and don't give any more of a crap about the rest of it than you did before, but the retailers who are so desperate that they would advertise at a multiplex are going to run out of money.)


As even those people switch to the web, you'll be able to watch theaters get dowdier, get dirtier, and eventually, get shuttered.




Books are in less trouble, but their production and delivery is about to become a whole lot more on demand.


Kiss those tiny advances goodbye.


Then again, kiss those remaindered copies we used to discover walking through the stacks and the back-rooms goodbye too.


Serendipitous discovery done by browsing requires the waste of scarce resources.


Its going to be rough in the malls when Barnes and Nobles, Borders, the rapidly vanishing Walden Books, and the few other chains try to compete head to head with Amazon.


Competing head-to-head means going on the web, (its a lot cheaper than retail space,) doing books on demand, (its a lot cheaper than throwing out books as remainders, a lot cheaper than doing the writer's dance of getting an advance and then finding it spread to the next book and the next book and the … you get the idea.)




The various associations wont be able to do a thing about it.


The MPAA and the RIAA have already feasted on their own audience. Here's a clue guys, lawsuits don't get you repeat customers


These are industries built, not on talent but on mediocrity and "churn."


You burn us, you burn yourself worse.


We have something you need like the air we breathe: money.




This is a cautionary tale for any of the people currently slaving in the salt mines of ad-supported media.


Where have their customers gone? (Not the audience/readership, but their customers. The audiences/readership are just entries on the liability side of the ledger.)


Where have they gone indeed?


To the internet where its cheap, where they know where every cent of their advertising dollar is going because they're able to run their advertisements strictly on-demand, where they can take orders, track orders, tracks shipments, track customers, take suggestions and quietly quash complaints.


The bottom up meaning for the Media Squat is that the top-paying client list of elite content producers is vanishing, but this heralds lots "Mom-and-Pop" opportunities.


When the carnage is over the only ones who will be feeling bad are the current media oligarchies.


The current ad and content producers will still be around and thriving.


 There'll be more of them and they'll have a lot more work.




As we look back over the century of pondering on what was really happening to the media,

 through the lens of media studies,

 from the groping towards a theory of media effects,

 through Leni Riefenstahl and Nazi party propaganda,

 to McLuhan's "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man" and "The Mechanical Bride",

all of these explorations were doomed to incompleteness because they were all 1:N, meaning they were assuming that there was a fundamental difference between media producer and media consumer.


They were all wrong, only examining of one side of the equation which never seemed to be able to resolve itself into anything fundamental or true.


It couldn't of course.


For the first time, the internet is capable of going beyond the merest renting of megaphones by the greedy to the global village idiots so that they can hawk their schlock.


It enables true N:M connection between all people.


It subsumes the old 1:N communication model, which is just an existential case of N:M, in that for the first time, the consumers and the producers are communicating on the same level, through the same asynchronous, packet-switched network and they are able to carry on conversations.


[with apologies to "Suzanne Vega" for misusing her song "Blood Makes Noise",]


This is so much richer a form of communication than standing at the mouth of "a windy tunnel shouting through the roar and I'd like to give the information you're asking for" as it enables us to stop and think, rather than just react to the wrong clues and cues.


---- ^^^^ The Media Squat ^^^^ ----


Now, adelante la musica.


This episode featured the following music:


"Alone At Last" by: "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Butter and Egg Man" by: "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Struttin' with Some Barbecue" by: "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"West End Blues" by: "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Symphonic Raps" by: "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Basin Street Blues" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"When You're Smiling" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"After You're Gone" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Chinatown My Chinatown" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"All of Me" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"Medley of Armstrong Hits" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira


"That's My Home" by "Louis Armstrong" here on WSPC's ThymeWarp with your host Charles Rovira




The show notes, incuding the complete text of this episode, and any and all links to the artists featured, are on a server ... somewhere.


And this show is also being podcast in m4a format, which means that it you use a compatible player, like iTunes, you get the content divided up into chapters with images and "hot links" to the the web, on the topic of the chapter or to accompany the music.


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