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30 posts from July 2005

A Radio Program Turns to a Blog to Cull Ideas - New York Times

A new radio program from Public Radio International, called Open Source, will collect and refine story ideas from posts and comments on their blog. The intent of the producers, Mary McGrath and Christopher Lydon, is to allow people to see and participate in the production of each show. At first they'll read blogger contributions over the air, but eventually they hope to capture and broadcast MP3 sound clips of the contributor's voice.

NY Times: A Radio Program Turns to a Blog to Cull Ideas by Tania Ralli

There are always people in the radio audience who know more on the topics being discussed on the air. Open Source's blog taps into that, and tries to get the experts on the air. But at the end of the day, what the audience of nonexperts hears will define Open Source

A New Type of TV Programming from Current

More details are now available about Current TV, which is expected to debut on Monday. Aspiring and professional filmmakers have already submitted 3,000 tapes.

NY Times: For [Al] Gore, a Reincarnation on the Other Side of the Camera by Jacques Steinberg

Instead of packaging its programming in 30- and 60-minute blocks, Current plans to show segments 3 to 10 minutes in length - the better to hold the attention of channel-surfing multitaskers - that are to be shuffled throughout the day like songs on a radio station. Some will be minidocumentaries, produced in-house or by outsiders; others will be feature-oriented, on subjects like spirituality and relationships.

Virtually the only structure is to be provided by three-minute "Google Current" segments at the top and bottom of each hour, in which the most popular Google searches of the day are to be mined for evidence of what is on people's minds.

Though Mr. Gore, who will not disclose his stake in Current, is determined to make the enterprise profitable - "This is business, not therapy," he said - he added that he had already been energized by its broader mission: to give young viewers, in an era of media consolidation, enormous control of what they see. Sizzles with Major Investment

John Doerr and Ram Shriram, early investors in Google, announce they are investing  $16 million in, an internet retailer that produces customized t-shirts and posters from licensed imagery from Disney, Build-a-Bear Workshop and NeoPets. Soon a joint venture with Pitney Bowes will allow them to produce customized postage stamps, which they expect will become very popular for items like wedding invitations.

I thought the Post Office was already doing customized stamps. Guess everybody thinks Zazzle has the magic touch...

AP Report: Google Investors Bet on E-Commerce Startup at

"They are Googlesque in their energy and their ability to think big," [says Doerr.]

When you visit Zazzle, be sure to click on the Today's Best tab and visit Community Collections, Editor's Picks to see the really fresh and original ideas. You can sell your designs and make money at Zazzle.

Innovating the Social Structure

Over at the BBC, Jo Twist has an interview with Iqbal Quadir, founder of Grameen Phone in Bangladesh. The real key to this type of social innovation is picking the right technology, seeing where the lever is. In this case, it's voice communication. I'm fascinated with the idea: connectivity leads to dependability then to specialization then to [increased] productivity. I'd really like to test that concept.

Technologies to 'Aid the Poor'

Talking at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Global conference, a top US event being held in Europe for the first time, he criticised aid for developing countries that benefited authorities over the people themselves.

"The only way we can depend on each other is if we connect with each other. Connectivity leads to dependability which leads to specialisation and then productivity," he said.

A woman with a mobile becomes important in a village. This changes the power distribution
Iqbal Quadir
What was key about a technology as simple as the mobile in a rural village was that people's voices, not just those in authority, were heard.

The next step, he hoped, would be to get wireless internet via mobile devices into villages. But he warned of jumping on the technology bandwagon.

"If everyone can talk, it is more egalitarian," he told the BBC News website.

TV Programming Schedules are History

I enjoy the fatalistic sound of the clipping below. Why do we have to watch our shows when the networks says? On the other hand, I think that at the same time normal TV programming goes 'on demand,' we'll see a rise in 'event programming' where we all look forward to seeing something new together, such as a concert or a debut. This will satisfy our desire to be 'the first to see it' sometimes. Yes, I think scheduled programming will be focused on release dates, live events, etc.

The Hollywood Reporter's Entertainment Industry Columns and Articles.

Widespread use of VOD and DVRs is conditioning consumers to expect content instantly and the services they want, when they want them, which will force television in particular to shift from scheduled time-channel distribution to on-demand specific searches. As VOD-based interactive advertising comes of age and interactive interfaces, or content search guides, are built into media infrastructure, obstacles will fall and the transition will occur.