Monday, March 30, 2009

Just another manic Monday

And now... the rest of the news.

Hartmann takes over your cell phone

Can't get enough of Thom Hartmann? Well, you can get him on your cell phone. No, he's not going to call you. But highlights from his show are now available via cell phone programming service Foneshow. The segments are available for free subscription at Foneshow or Hartmann's own site.

"As a lifelong telephone junkie myself, I'm so very pleased that my fans can now hear the show anywhere they want on their cell phones," said Hartmann. "Foneshow is thrilled to add Thom Hartmann to our roster of programming. After our initial success with the Stephanie Miller show, it was only natural that as soon as Thom joined Dial Global he'd be available via Foneshow,” said Foneshow Founder and CEO Erik Schwartz. "The demand for progressive commentary has never been higher, and Foneshow is the perfect solution for users that want this type of content in an on-demand environment."

Invasion of the robot swine

KPIG (107oink5 FM), the venerable free-form eclectic country/rock station based in Santa Cruz, CA, has long had a devoted, piggish following, both on-air and online.

And in yet another testament to the woes afflicting the radio industry as a whole, the station has done what many other stations have done, scaling back its airstaff and going automated from 8P to 6A.

In 2006, the station, which once prided itself on live on-air personalities 24/7, went on autopilot from midnight to 6A.

This is nothing new. Most stations across the country are run by a computer, which can hold virtually any kind of audio file, including music, commercials and even prerecorded talksets. And the computers allow those stations to run unattended, which many do at one time or another.

With the economy wreaking havoc on the radio industry, often the first area to see cutbacks is the on-air staff, who sadly tend to be underpaid for what they do. Because of that, jocks are either offered the opportunity to prerecord their shows (at a drastic pay cut), get replaced by canned syndicated programming (wonder why so many stations have added such hideous offerings like John Tesh and Delilah?), or are not replaced at all, with the computer simply shuffling in and out of songs and commercials.

Back in the day, going directly from a song into a commercial spot, and vice-versa, without even a simple liner telling folks what station they're listening to, would be the ultimate in amateurism - a virtual radio sin. Nowadays, it's not uncommon. Even Clear Channel stations in big cities do this. The spontaneous live advantage once enjoyed by radio has long ago been pissed away. Essentially, the typical radio station has turned into nothing more than a hands-free iPod. Only difference is, your iPod probably has better stuff on it.

Get a new Bob Dylan tune - free and legal

Speaking of your iPod, perhaps its high time you feed it with some new music. And in the interest of giving, I now turn attention over to arguably the greatest songwriter who ever lived, the legendary Bob Dylan.

The song is called "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'", and Bob, feeling mighty generous, is giving it away. Free. And legally. Really.

It's a promo for the new album "Together Through Life", which comes out at the end of April.

Don't procrastinate. You can get it only until 4A tomorrow morning at Just look on the front page.

Now if you'll excuse me, my iPod is hungry.


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