NPR Interview This Morning

NPR’s Laura Conway from the Bryant Park Project (syndicated on a dozen or so NPR affiliates between 7-9am ET) called me this morning for a brief chat about the Congress rules fiasco that I’ve been monitoring.

Not only was this interview important for me personally (it’s NPR during the morning drivetime commute) but it’s very important for the issue at hand (it’s NPR during the morning drivetime commute!). Going on NPR this morning broke the story outside of the blogosphere and catapulted it into the attention of millions of Americans, many of whom use social communications tools everyday.

Thanks Laura and the BPP crew for the call.

Note: this is a rough recording off my computer while the show streamed. Will update with the “clean” copy from NPR after the archive copy goes up.
Listen Now.

Update: The NPR archive is up. Go listen to a better quality here.

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An Open Letter to BlogTalkRadio

Hey BlogTalkRadio-

Thank you for your time in stopping by. I know you guys are going through some changes, and that mostly they are good changes. I want to thank you for hiring Kris Smith. He will be a great addition to your team. I know Kris very well. He sorta likes to name drop me. We’ve done a few podcasts together as well. Great guy.

But, BlogTalkRadio, you’ve got your problems. I’m sure you know this, but in case you didn’t, let me break them down.

Multiple Hosts

As you know, because you want to feature our show on the network, we use your service. When I say “we”, I mean “I” because your system only allows for one host. Geoff Livingston is also a host, but you don’t recognize him as a host so he has to call in on a caller line and use up our precious open phone banks. Why, BlogTalkRadio, do you not have the basic concept of multiple hosts built in? I mean, we’re not all in the same room. It’s the internetz.

Your User Interface is teh suck

When I say teh suck, I really do mean it. We’ve done six shows now and I can never find my way around. It’s particularly aggravating to try to download the MP3 so we can have our own professional look for the show on our own professional looking website. This is a core requirement of marketing. I wouldn’t dare send archive listeners to our show page at BTR because, well, because it’s teh suck.

Call Management

Why, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, do you not provide a host a way to perform basic show management functions from a regular phone? Take for instance this past week when my internet connection dropped due to ice, 3 minutes before the show went live. With my cohost in Barcelona and unable to get a reliable internet connection himself, it caused a loss of listeners, a loss of motivation and a loss of our standard 4pm time slot (we had to reschedule for 4:30 so I could drive to a Panera Bread and do the show while everyone looked oddly at me). I found out after the fact that Geoff had dialed in and could hear me cursing in the background, but I had no way of knowing he was on the line (again he was a caller, not a host) nor anyway to unmute his line if I had known he was there.

Call Screening

Although we are geared toward a DC-metro audience, it is not unusual to have callers from around the country and around the world. It’s the tubez. People have Skype and what not. I have a real problem using your switchboard and knowing who is on the line. I know that technically, it would be a challenge, but “real” radio has a way of doing “real” call screening so we know who is on the line and what the heck they want to comment on. Imagine this, a scenario from a few weeks ago: We talk politics for 10 minutes then jump into a different topic – maybe the Yahoo-Microsoft (non) merger. A caller calls in wanting to comment on politics but by this time, we have moved on from the topic. We can take the call and adjust back, possibly interrupting a flow, or ignore the caller and run the risk of pissing them off. You gotta give me a way to handle this more effectively.

Finally, BlogTalkRadio, while I appreciate your efforts, we need real tools. Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before an upstart competitor with more vision, more ability and more marketing prowess comes along and does what you are doing only better. Right now, you have no real competition in this space and so you have the luxury of dicking around doing whatever you do. But when another competitor comes along and gives you a run for your money, they are going to treat hosts as professional radio hosts (yeah, I know we aren’t but we like to pretend). The more professional tools you can give us, the more you ensure that the DoC show won’t jump over to the other guy. I’d like optional video streaming to conjunct with audio streaming. I’d like an improved switchboard with real call screening. I’d like a possible dual channel audio mixer with the possibility of multiple hosts, so maybe one host can do the production for us. Personally, I don’t want to mess with that stuff. I’m competent but I have a show to host.

Please, throw me a bone.

Love always,
Aaron

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Redlasso Provides Television and Radio Search, Clipping

I’ve been playing with the video clipping service, Redlasso. I got to meet Jim McCusker, the CTO, at Podcamp Philly and have stayed in touch since. It was good to see much of the team at Blog World Expo.

The essence of Redlasso for bloggers is that it indexes and makes searchable broadcast media. By making it searchable, it’s a wonderful way to find content that has aired over broadcast media. Taking it to the next level, they make it clippable so that you can capture exactly what you want and get unique embed codes for that clip.

For content owners, their content generally becomes unmonetizable after it airs. Redlasso seeks to provide a means for content owners to monetize their content, while providing content producers/syndicators, such as bloggers, a way to utilize content that otherwise is difficult to integrate without a lot of work.

Though Redlasso is still private, it’s been really quite nice to see the product develop from a prototype to a useful tool. As recently as this morning, I spoke with Jim and he is promising new functionality being rolled in.

As an example, I searched the Redlasso site for Blog World Expo specific to Fox News (I know they did a segment a few days ago), and I clipped it for display here:

There are still some problems. For one, search results only go back two weeks. This is a bit limiting. Also, the search does not seem to pull up very relevant searches. For instance, typical phrase searches requires quotes around the phrase (e.g. “Blog World Expo” in Google will pull up results containing Blog World Expo while simply searching for Blog World Expo will pull up search results containing blog or world or expo). This functionality does not seem to exist yet in Redlasso making the location of relevant clips difficult at best. Also, there seems to be lag between voice and lips moving. That’s distracting.

The player, while a vast improvement over the Windows Media only player in the prototype still is difficult to use. For instance, the clipping mechanism is small and should be easier to use. Screenshot included.

Finally, they need to open this up and get it out of private beta. More eyes need to be on this thing and while the concept and technology is fantastic (gotta love phoenetic search!), additional eyes will give it more traction and leg room.

Follow @redlasso on Twitter for updates and… request an invite. ;)

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