On Oct 7, workers and volunteers at New York City's beloved Pacifica Radio affiliate WBAI received a sudden notice informing they that they were all fired without notice or a board vote, as is required by Pacifica's by-laws; the next day, a court issued an injunction requiring Pacifica to reinstate local programming until a hearing on Oct 21.
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WBAI is a beloved New York City institution, owned by the Pacifica Foundation and run primarily by volunteers who produce longrunning, cultural-defining shows like Jim Freund's Hour of the Wolf (science fiction) and 2600's Off the Hook (information security and tech policy).
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James "New Aesthetic" Bridle (previously) is several kinds of provocateur and artist (who can forget his autonomous vehicle trap, to say nothing of his groundbreaking research on the violent Youtube Kids spammers who came to dominate the platform with hour+ long cartoons depicting cartoon characters barfing and murdering all over each other?).
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Tomek Rękawek, irritated by ads on the radio, created an app that mutes them. Radio Adblock uses digital signal processing to detect distinctive audio patterns that signal the beginning and end of breaks. (via Hacker News)
I also prepared a simple standalone version of the analyzer, that connects to the Trójka stream on its own (without an external ffmpeg) and plays the result using javax.sound. The whole thing is a single JAR file and contains a basic start/stop UI. It can be downloaded here: radioblock.jar. If you feel uneasy about running a foreign JAR on your machine (like you should do), all the sources can be found on my GitHub. Apparently, it works :)
To make it work universally, perhaps DSP could detect the use of extreme waveform compression. This makes ads sound as loud as possible without increasing the signal volume, and is a technique that advertisers and radio stations supposedly use to skirt the regulations that forbid them from doing just that. It would also have the bonus of silencing shitty pop songs. Read the rest
YouTuber thepeterson makes video montages that pull together clips from pop culture days of yore, highlighting what movies and TV shows the masses were watching, what they were listening to on the radio, and what video games they were playing. In the latest one, June 1998 is put into the spotlight. Prepare to take a (possibly nostalgic) trip down memory lane to see what was "in" twenty years ago this month.
(Tastefully Offensive) Read the rest
Brandon Hocura of the excellent Seance Centre record label mined his (and his friends') rare and vintage cassette archive to create this sublime guest mix for the Noise In My Head show on NTS Radio. Listen below, preferably with headphones. Turn on, tune in.
Noise In My Head W/ Brandon Hocura (Seance Centre)
Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey - Bright Waves
Pablo's Eye - Blind And Quiet
Mo Boma - Jijimuge Two (Rebounders / Nanga Ningi)
Robert Haigh - Andante (For Strings, Piano, Percussion)
Sebastian Gandera - Chienne De Viel
The Field Mice - Let's Kiss And Make Up
Richard Truhlar - Portrait Of An Interview
Hearn Gadbois - Gaht Mayh Moh8joh3 Woykihn
John Celono - Instrument Flying
Bruce Russell - Indigo Pool
Joanne Forman - Codex
Antonio Zepeda - Cuando Los Dioses Juegan A La Pelota
Roberto Mazza - Artigli Arguti
Peter Griggs - Fragments
John Di Stefano - Nuage
Philip Sanderson & Michael Denton - Maps (Love In A Cold Climate)
Short Term Memory - Words
Houari Benchenet - Katrouli El Mhaine
Jack Charles - Traverse
John J Lafia - Life Is Short
Short Term Memory - Hysteria
John Di Stefano - Culture Schlock
Smith & Erickson - Blue Skies
Tony Wells - End Collage
Pauline Oliveros - Earth
Ellen Zweig & Gregory Jones - Sensitive Bones
Previously: "Keyboard Fantasies: exquisite New Age music you've never heard"
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It's been a year since someone hacked all 156 of Dallas's emergency tornado sirens, setting them off in the middle of the night, and the security picture for cities' emergency PA systems keeps getting uglier.
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Someone watched reruns of WKRP in Cincinnati, tracked all the songs played on the show, and then put them in this spreadsheet.
Dr. Johnny Fever played the first song played on the show, Ted Nugent's "Queen of the Forest," which marked the end to the previous radio station's format (Muzak/Swing) and the beginning of the new WKRP format (Rock, Punk and Top 40).
All right, Cincinnati, it is time for this town to get down! You've got Johnny... Doctor Johnny Fever, and I am burnin' up in here! Whoa! Whoo! We all in critical condition, babies, but you can tell me where it hurts, because I got the healing prescription here from the big 'KRP musical medicine cabinet. Now I am talking about your 50,000 watt intensive care unit, babies! So just sit right down, relax, open your ears real wide and say, "Give it to me straight, Doctor. I can take it!"
Now someone just needs to make this into a Spotify playlist. Who wants to volunteer?
Previously: WKRP in Cincinnati redacted to save on license fees
Thanks, Christopher Bickel! Read the rest
The UK's Office of Communications is pursuing a pirate radio prankster who has interrupted the Mansfield 103.2 broadcast eight times over the last month. He cuts into the regularly scheduled programming with the below tune from 1978, "The Winker’s Song" (1978) by Ivor Biggun. From The Guardian:
Tony Delahunty, managing director of Mansfield 103.2, said: “Some people have told me that their children have started humming the song in the car.
“We have had calls from people who have found it hilarious, while some have raised their concerns, including our competitors, and a lot of people in the industry are aghast at how difficult it is to stop these people...."
“We are told by Ofcom who are investigating the matter, that you only need, and this is the frightening thing, a small transmitter and if you can get near where there is an outside broadcast or a signal and you can overpower that signal [and] you’re on the airwaves.”
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Shawn writes, "A gaggle of Chicago comedians came together to produce an authentic 1950's radio show about how Frasier's parents met while solving the murder of a young Seattle waitress. Featuring young beat cop Marty Crane and behavioral psychologist Hester Palmer, this thing's got it all: mystery, comedy, rats, operas, and a well-utilized HOLIDAY SETTING. You don't have to be a Frasier fan to enjoy it, but if you ARE, you should also know that it's faithful to all established Cheers/Frasier continuity. We even have a full list of citations, in case you don't believe us. Read the rest
Radio Garden is a beautifully designed interface for listening to live radio. Just roll the planet around and click on a dot.
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By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places. Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.
At this week's London Design Festival, design firm Uniform displayed Solo Radio. Stand in front of the device and it scans your face for input into software that assesses your emotions. Then it plays a song via Spotify algorithms with the appropriate mood. Read the rest
These unusual "radio drama staircases" are inside the BBC's sound studios. When an actor is recorded walking up or down the stairs, the different surfaces (wood, carpet, cement) give the acoustic impression of unique locations for the radio drama. Samuel West shot the image above at BBC's Maida Vale Studios. Apparently, they are actually functioning staircases that lead somewhere in the building.
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See sample pages from this book at Wink.
Where Discovery Sparks Imagination: A Pictorial History of Radio and Electricity
by John D. Jenkins
American Museum of Radio and Electricity
2009, 224 pages, 8.2 x 10 x 1 inches
$16 Buy a copy on Amazon
If you’re ever up near the Canadian border in the little college town of Bellingham, WA make time to check out a gem of a museum there: The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention. It’s fully charged up and literally crackling with excitement (and a 4-million volt Tesla coil!). SPARK showcases all manner of fascinating artifacts all about the history of electricity from early static electricity generators to advanced vacuum tubes that went to the moon. Can’t make the trip? Then get this wonderful book!
And even if you do go to SPARK in person, you’ll also want to read Where Discovery Sparks Imagination. It features lavish color photographs of hundreds of the items on display together with the interesting stories of the people and places that go along with the things. I learned even more about Alessandro Volta and volts, Andre-Marie Ampere and amps, and Georg Ohm and ohms. See the recreation of the Titanic’s radio room. Learn how an undertaker in Kansas City invented the first dial phone to short circuit his competitor’s switchboard shenanigans. Anyone who has used a phone, listened to a recording, or turned on a lamp will enjoy seeing the primitive but clever inventions that predate today’s smart phones, PCs and LED lights. Read the rest
I suppose no news was good news on April 18, 1930. At 6:30pm during the regularly scheduled news bulletin slot, the BBC News announcer turned on the mic and said:
"Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news."
Piano music followed.
(BBC News History via r/todayilearned) Read the rest
In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025. Read the rest