Radio 8 the Video Star


About AC

My Name is Adam Curry, I am a broadcaster.

I started this piece with that first line for some reason.....

....and then it hit me.

Weblogging is the same game as Radio Broadcasting.

We have a joke in the radio industry; when we refer to someone as having the perfect face for radio. Meaning they'd never make the cut on television, presumably because they're too ugly. (Mind you this is a DJ joke, and DJ's are such lookers)

So I submit that Weblogging is for people who have no physical voice nor an outlet to be heard.

Radio and Weblogging are so similar its uncanny.

In radio the announcer or Disc Jockey is alwasy commenting on something. That could be about the weather, JLo's butt, the new Britney Spears song, a local or national news story. Radio works best when the on-air talent is in tune with the community.

In the 80's we saw something new on FM, that we'd heard on AM for many many years. Talk shows, local and nationally syndicated. Joan Rivers, Rush Limbaugh, Doctor Drew, Doctor Joyce,, Howard Stern...

And they became 'personalities', with their own style, complete with catch phrases (Baba Booey!).

The single common thread that all these radio programs have is Listener call-ins. It's what makes radio interactive. That feedback loop connects the broadcaster with his audience. I'm old-school radio and believe radio has to be done live, and its most fun if you 'run your own board', meaning you are in technical control of the show as well as creative, production and the content. Its kind of like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time. But anyone can learn how to do it. However, because of the directness and live aspect, you better have the gift of gab, 'cause there's no backspace key or start-over button. Once you say it, its out there.

The broadcaster's audience and community is pretty much limited to the reach of the transmitter the station has been assigned (or can afford).

I've been a broadcaster almost all my life. When I was 14 I built my first FM transmitter and made my Mom drive me around the neighborhood to see how far the signal would reach. It wasn't long before I was spinning records and talking about my neighbors and kids down the street. Pretty harmless, but illegal, a common theme throughout my life :)

I like to build transmitters and use them to broadcast. I've done this many times, from pirate radio to pirate television. You can imagine I was quite that 'ham' on Single Side Band CB radios that we jacked up the power and shifted the frequency upwards into 'quiet' 28Mhz territory. My favourite Toolkit for building electronic projects (burglar alarms, transmitters etc) came from Radio Shack. 200 Projects in One. Loved that product. You used color coded wire that connetced individual components with each other by connecting the wire to spring loaded clips. The docs came with (you guessed it) 200 projects. The 'code' would be a list of spring numbers you needed to connect with each other and what color wire to connect it with. (red was shortest, white the longest).

In hindsight I realize this was my earliest form of programming, I certainly did a lot of debugging by retracing all the wires to ensure they were properly connected.

The reward for my endeavours was either the distance I reached or a reaction to what I said. Getting a reaction from far away was ofcourse the best! Its human nature, we all want to capture an audience, be in the spotlight, have our 15 minutes...Its that feeling of love you feel rolling through an audience...it rolls right up onto the stage (or whatever pulpit you're on). Its addictive, its the appeal of show business, because no-one's in show business for the money, trust me :)

But few of us are equipped with the gift of gab. Broadcasting is pretty much a non starter for most and then you still would have to find your outlet.

That's where blogging comes in. You get all the benefits of your own radio transmitter, and much more.

I hand it to Dave, call a spade a spade. Radio UserLand is indeed a Radio.

This software turns your pc or mac into a real live broadcast facility. You're in control of the whole show, the name, style, look and feel, length, content, design, pictures, words, commentary and most importantly: Links.

LInking is the true currency of the web, and Radio 8.0 enables you to create, connect and distribute linkage. The 'reach' of your radio transmitter on the web is determined by the number of other weblogs linking to yours. That happens when people enjoy your creativeness, your content. Your voice.

This is where I would have ended my piece if I had written it a year ago.

But this swiss army knife of software is so much more. It is my grownup version of the Radio Shack project kit. With its built in database and scripting language that youCan.understandSoon(). And everywhere you look Userland has provided the color coded wires to help you make radio do cool things for you. The outliner included with this application is worth the price by itself.

Step away from broadcasting for a moment, and imagine our brains our wired directly to the internet. I close my eyes and visualize connecting with Dave, we establish a connection and share some data which we can easily access in our archives, text, pictures, video clips, computer code (which is just written text). Sounds like a sci-fi flick? ofcourse, because we can't 'jack in' like that [yet] so we need a tool to do that with. Obviously that tool is our personal computers.

Computers are all about communicating with other people. Powerpoint, spreadsheet, word file, photoshop, gif, jpg, mpeg, iMovie or whatever. You are producing something you will ultimately share with another human to communicate something.

The PC revolutionized every form of human communication. The internet needed a new form of output and input.

The internet and its human readable layer, the World Wide Web, is the people's 'ether'. Radio Userland is our interface to this space, where we can connect and flow our message(s).

The object oriented database enables your standard desktop (windows and mac) as your p[ersonal content management system. Finally, dragging and dropping files into folders actually does something. It does whatever the fuck I tell it to do. Thats power I've been wanting over my pc for 15 years.

I'm buying a copy of Radio 8.0 for everyone in my company and I congratulate all at Userland. Not just for delivering an excellent Desktop Website Suite, but for writing such wonderful understandable words. Your code reads comfortably, it is thoughtfully structured and at times an adventurous treat to 'follow'.

Bravo! Authours, Authours!

Adam Curry

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Last update: 3/2/03; 11:35:46 AM
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