Click on any of the entry titles to get more information about all the awesome things written about!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mark Time/Ogle Winners 2008

It's always a pleasure listening to all the great audio drama submissions... here are this year's winners!

Mark Time Awards

Here are the winners of this year’s Mark Time Awards for Science Fiction Audio and the Ogle Awards for Fantasy/Horror Audio Productions. They will officially be presented on Thursday, July 2 at Convergence 2009 in Bloomington, MN.


The Outpost
Written & Produced by Julie Hoverson
19 Nocturne Boulevard


The Return of the Bogman Mummy
Written & Produced by Roger Gregg
Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin, Ireland



Waiting For a Window
Written by Fred Greenhalgh
Finalrune Productions


The Halloween Tree
(based on the novel by Ray Bradbury)
Produced by Chris Snyder
Exec. Producer: Mark Vanderberg
Colonial Radio Theatre

[Thanks Jerry!]

Monday, June 22, 2009

...and the Podcamp AZ madness begins!

Well it's that time of year again- and enough of a reason to make a blog post! Podcamp Arizona 3.0 has been launched and is ready for you to register!

So, what is a Podcamp? Well, it's considered an "unconference" that encompasses every form of social media around- from Podcasting/vidcasting to all the endless forms of relevant media. The sessions are designed to show you how to use relevant media most effectively for whatever you might want to use it for (and no, I'm not talking in just a "how can I make a million bucks" way. Not everyone wants to do that. Believe it or not.). What makes it an "un"-conference? Anyone can speak, and everyone is involved in the presentations. Also, if you're in a session and it's not for you, everyone is encouraged to use the "rule of two feet" and get up and go check out another session! No worries of hurting the feelings of a presenter! This rule works very well because there are many great sessions happening at the same time, and there's just no way to see all of them!

Oh yeah, did I mention that it's FREE?

This informatively fun weekend is set for November 14th & 15th, and it kicks off the evening of Friday the 13th (isn't that awesome?) with all of the Phoenix "fn's" (friday nights) hanging out on Mill Avenue and walking up and down the street in a drunken stupor!

All right, not ALL of us will be in a drunken stupor, but those who will be- you know who you are. Then Saturday morning the fun begins bright and early at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe. Or is it Phoenix? It's right there on the border of both cities, I can never remember unless I look up the address.

I've been one of the many, many people who have helped to shape this event into the success it is. I do not say this to brag. However, having the unique behind-the-scenes look over the past three years, I can say I have never been more impressed with how a (un)conference has matured. Not just in size (we had nearly 800 people in attendance last year, and I'm not even counting those who watched online!), but in the quality of the presentations and the plethora of information available. It continues to grow and change each year- and it has to, because what's relevant keeps changing as well. Sure, you get the same intro presentations, but I can say that every year I've gone away learning something new.

Who is Podcamp for? Just about everyone. Do you blog? Go to PodcampAZ. Podcast? Go. Video? GO. Are you a journalist? Writer? Real Estate Agent? Gamer? Musician? Student? Professional of just about ANY type? Stay-at-home Mom? How about a stay-at-home-Mom-who-rants-about-politics (hehehe)? All of you will get something out of PodcampAZ.

To get a better look, here are my photos from last year's Podcamp. If you have an hour or so you can browse through the Flickr group too.

All right, here's the deets:

When: November 14 & 15

Where: University of Advancing Technology, Tempe (yeah I looked it up), AZ (btw it does not matter if you don't live in AZ- we had attendees from 35 states last year! Yes, this could be a business trip if you work it right.)


ALL the info you need:

Sponsorship Info:

Mark those calendars now, and plan on being at PodcampAZ this November!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Well if a child gets it...

A new podcast- all of your questions explained! Including this one:

More of the lovely Emily and also the lovely subscribe button over at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nine Free Audiobook mp3's from Barnes and Noble

From CNet News:

Get eight short stories and Mark Twain's most famous novel, all free from Barnes & Noble.

(Credit: Barnes & Noble)

Good news, commuters: Barnes & Noble is offering nine audiobooks absolutely free. They're downloads, of course, but they're in MP3 format, meaning that you can burn them to CDs, copy them to your iPod/Zune/Sansa, and listen on your Netbook or whatever.

So, if they're free, they must be bargain bin books from no-name authors, right? Wrong. But eight of them are short stories, most ranging from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Thus, while you may not recognize the titles, you'll definitely recognize some of the authors.

Among the more notable names: Kurt Vonnegut, Louis L'Amour, Junot Diaz, Alice Munro, and Jonathan Lethem. Oh, there's also this guy Mark Twain, who provides the collection's only full-length novel: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

To get the freebies, just add one or more of them to your shopping cart. (Although they're priced at a penny apiece, your cart will show a $0 balance.) Even though no money's changing hands, you'll need to create a Barnes & Noble account and supply a credit card. (If you'd rather not, choose PayPal as your payment method--even if you don't have an account.)

You'll also need to download and install B&N's OverDrive Media Console software, which manages your audiobooks and lets you play, burn, transfer, etc. It's available for Windows and Mac.

In the interim, you'll receive an e-mail with a link that takes you to the download page. So, yeah, you have to jump through some hoops to get your audiobooks--but such is the price of free, right?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Free Audio Editing Program: Wavosaur

From Podcasting News:

Wavosaur is a free sound editor, audio editor, wav editor software for editing and recording sounds, wav and mp3 files.

Wavosaur supports basic audio editing (cut, copy, paste, etc.), plus has features for creating audio loops, analyzing audio and doing batch processing.Wavosaur supports VST plugins, ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing.

The program has no installer and doesn’t write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design. The Wavosaur freeware audio editor works on Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

If you’ve used Wavosaur, leave a comment with your thoughts.

Download page.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Submit Your Audio Photos To Gizmodo Flickr Pool

From Gizmodo- thought you fellow addicts might like to participate!
Coachella's coming up as Gizmodo's Listening Week is coming to an end. Help us go out with a splash by jumping into our Gizmodo Flickr pool.

We want to make a gallery of all the coolest audio gadgets that you can find. Old, new, shiny, broken, expensive, cheap, colorful, emo—any spectacularly awesome shots of headphones, speakers, listening equipment, or even a microscopic look at your dirty eardrum. Basically, just send us anything audio-related that will make us speechless—which is quite difficult for some of the Gizmodo boys—and we'll post up a gallery of the best ones we get.

We're also hoping to see some photos of insane stage setups at Coachella, and if you've been reading our First Album stories, I'd also like to invite you guys to upload a shot of some album art along with a caption of what it meant to you.

All you have to do is log in to your Flickr account and go here, join our group, and then click "send to group" on your individual photos you want added to our pool.

[Gizmodo Flickr Pool - image from joey joey joey]

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Podcast Debut: Passages

A good friend of mine, Scott Josephson, has begun a new podcast for your listening pleasure, Passages:

"Passages. Corridors into the soul. Selections from a flowing stream of consciousness. The poetic thorns of thoughtful prose.

"Featuring performances by the hosts of: The AndyCast, Life On Tap, The Love Long and Prosper Podcast, The Truth Seekers Podcast, and a mysterious voice you've never heard before.

"Passages. Available only at"

The first episode went live today! I'd also suggest going back in the feed and checking out his Podplay, "Desolate Metropolis."


Unleash your inner poet and get involved with audio drama!

Thanks to Dream Realm Enterprises, you can get involved in the fabulous world of audio drama in a couple of different ways. Do you have the directing bug? Do you like to take many voices and sounds, put them all together and make a masterpiece? Well, here's an excellent opportunity to do just that! Here's a little note from the creator of DRE's Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, Vince:



I hope you are well, and having a jolly time of things.

I recently discovered that the polar bear is the animal that is most likely to
attack you. So stay away from them.

I'm wondering if anyone here is interested in helping with the audio production
of Series 2 of "The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes", a rather silly series
about mysteries and moustaches made with much love and giggles for the splendid
Dream Realm Enterprises.

I'm hoping to find someone who would enjoy putting the episodes together;
someone who enjoys mucking around with sound, and who likes working with actors
(i.e; someone mad).

I appreciate that audio production is a laborious, skilfull and specialised job,
and that people lead busy lives and have tremendously exciting social diaries.
But hey, I did warn you all about the polar bears thing, so surely that's reward
enough for what I'm asking.

Also, I make tasty hot cross buns*, and I'm willing to share the recipe with any
and all volunteers.

Interested? Of course you are!

Contact Vince Stadon

and you'll make me very happy indeed.

With kind regards and very best wishes,

--Vince Stadon

* It's not true about the hot cross buns. They taste horrible.
See, I think he's just going to play "Hot Cross Buns" on a recorder. So there's one great opportunity. Here's another, for all of the poets (and don't even know-it's) out there!

Hey gang,

Dream Realm Enterprises is pleased to announce the coming of another new show! Poet's Passion! If you love poetry, then you'll adore this new show, which is all about poetry! Yup, we're bringing you a show devoted exclusively to new and original poetry, which is read by some of the brightest talent on the web, and then set to music! It's coming in April, so stay tuned!

Now that the announcement is out of the way, I can speak directly to all you poets out there! We're seeking new and original poetry! Not just any ole poetry, but the good stuff! So, we're asking you to send us your poems! If we like them, they may just be read on Poet's Passion!

This isn't a paying gig, but you will have the proud knowledge that your work is being heard! Plus, you'll retain all rights to your poetry! We can't say fairer than that, now can we?!

We need your poems soon, so be sure to email them directly to our official email addy ( The initial submissions need to be into us by no later than March 31st! But we'll still be accepting submissions after that as we intend to make this an on-going series. Just make sure the poems you send us are yours, and original, and not based on anything else.

Okay, start sending us those poems ASAP! Thanks, and good luck!


I know it says get your poems in by March 31, but they are always accepting submissions. If you want your poem to come to life, send one Jon's way!

So, there are two great ways to get involved with the awesomeness that is Dream Realm Enterprises. Check out their site, and email them today!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fine. I'll just podcast my show. Take that, radio!

From Podcasting News:

It looks like the Adam Carolla Podcast may do to radio what Nine Inch Nails did to the music industry - make it irrelevant.

On Friday, February 20th, Adam Carolla’s radio show left the airwaves, as part of a format switch.

On Monday, Corolla introduced his new podcast.

Within 24 hours, Carolla had a hit:

I’m overwhelmed by your response to the podcast. In less than 24 hours, the first podcast was downloaded over a quarter of a million times, which is awesome.

This means that we’ll be able move along faster in terms of getting this project up into a new gear, and getting a little more production, more guests, and everything you guys deserve. I’m grateful to have such fantastic fans, and honored at this response.

By the end of the first week of the Adam Corolla Podcast, downloads exceeded the 1 million mark.

Last year, Nine Inch Nails turned the music industry on its head by releasing two free albums onto the Internet and then going on to have both a hit record and tour. In doing so, NIN showed that bands could have hit albums and successful tours without the support of the music industry.

With over a million views in the first week, the Adam Carolla Podcast shows that broadcasters can have hit shows without the support of radio.

To subscribe to the Adam Carolla podcast, add the podcast via iTunes, or add this podcast feed URL to your podcast client:

via RyanSpoon

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Remember When Radio Was Going To Destroy The Record Industry?

It's been making the internet rounds, but it's definitely worth posting (click for larger image):

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Broken Sea Audio Gets Bullied Over Licensing

It seems one of our wonderful audio drama groups is in a pickle. A pickle they do not deserve to be in.

From Jesse at SFF Audio:

Meego ConanBroken Sea Audio Productions, headquartered in New Zealand, has shut down all their Robert E. Howard projects after receiving another threatening letter from the lawyers for Conan Properties International LLC (aka Paradox Entertainment).

CPI is the limited liability company that claims all licensing powers over works by Robert E. Howard worldwide.

The whole situation is absolutely rotten. CPI is muscling a non-profit audio drama fan group that makes audio dramas and audiobooks, for fun, out of public domain stories, all so it can defend it’s trademark on “CONAN: The Barbarian” (the stories for which are in the PUBLIC DOMAIN).

Things might look different were it not for the horrendous new legislation set to be implemented on February 28th, 2009 March 27th, 2009 in New Zealand. The new NZ law makes websites that are accused of infringement subject to arbitrary-ISP pulldowns.

Here is the most recent letter from CPI/Paradox Entertainment |PDF| in its entirety.

What make this all the worse is that its an echo of a fight BSAP, in NZ, had thought it had already won. See, back in August 2008 BSAP received a similar cease and desist letter from the same firm. In that letter CPI threatened a lawsuit over the use of “CONAN” (for which they claim a trademark)…


In response to it BSAP removed their unique, but still offending, “CONAN” logo and the CPI lawyers sent a follow-up letter. Saying…

CPI Lawyer Letter #2

After that, with the Conan audiobooks and audio dramas no longer displaying any “CONAN” label, all seemed well for the non-profit audio drama group. Paul Mannering, and staff, continued to cast Conan fans as voice actors and work on the script for a new audio dramatization based on another Robert E. Howard public domain work, Hour Of The Dragon.

Later, in November 2008, something rather cool happened. Paul Mannering got an email from the CPI/Paradox’s branding department offering BSAP a free “CONAN” license. It was to be a “royalty free” license too, that would forever keep a threat of lawsuit from CPI/Paradox at bay and allow BSAP to brand its Conan audio as “CONAN” audio.

But then, just yesterday, an unexpected email from the CPI lawyers arrived…


…dashing the possibility of a license AND renewing the threat of a lawsuit…


It seems to me that given that the Robert E. Howard stories are PUBLIC DOMAIN, that Howard is 73 years dead, had no spouse, nor children, that Broken Sea is giving away their productions to Conan fans alike - only one judgment is reasonable:

CPI LLC/Paradox Entertainment is being an asshole.

And that’s the situation as it now stands. All future BSAP audiobooks and audio dramatizations based on the PUBLIC DOMAIN writings of Robert E. Howard are canceled - or at least it’s all put on hold until someone can offer some legal advice to Paul Mannering and the Broken Sea creative team.


Simply put Jesse says, "An intellectual property company has been harassing fans that were making audio versions of public domain Robert E. Howard CONAN stories.

"They'd keep going, but the new fucked up New Zealand copyright law will shut down their whole operation if the company complains."

Fucked up indeed. It seems they are simply bullying without any real justification. What does that prove? They have a trademark they can enforce? Is that supposed to be what true copyright protection is about?


Please show your support of Broken Sea Audio by reposting this wherever you can!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Is Podcasting So Underappreciated?

From the Computerworld Blogs:

Podcasting is the most under-appreciated, under-utilized media ever. Some people never try it. And many who do wind up giving it up unimpressed. Too bad. A new study found that students who listen to lectures on podcasts test better than those who listen in class. Podcasting is a powerful educational medium, second only to books, in my opinion. But unlike reading books, you can listen to podcasts while doing the dishes.

I believe the reason people give up on podcasting is that they don't take the time to choose the best podcasts. In that sense, podcasting is no different than other media.

For example, the average book isn't worth reading, and bookstores are filled with garbage. But when you shop for books, you browse and consider many books before choosing the one or two -- out of theoretical millions.

Likewise with TV. Almost all of the shows on TV are a complete waste of time, even for people who love TV. But once you discover that one show and reject 100 shows, you can really enjoy TV.

Radio, magazines -- all media are the same way. Most of the content is lousy, but if you take your time and find what you really love, the media is wonderful.

Trouble is, people don't take the time with podcasting. They try a few podcasts, then give up. And because podcasts are free or nearly free to produce, the ratio of junk to gems is even more extreme. There are a huge number of really bad podcasts out there. And it can also be surprising when a great source of content produces lousy podcasts -- which in fact often turns out to be the case. The New York Times podcasts, for example, are horrible. Great newspaper, lousy podcaster.

Finding the right mix of podcasts, in fact, takes weeks of trial and error. But once you find the best podcasts for you, you're set.


More here. I agree with a lot of what he says. I truly can't understand why podcasting hasn't taken off the way many of us podcasters *think* it should. One reason I can think of is too many podcasters use their shows mainly to speak to other podcasters. That probably turns off a new listener coming in for the first time. I know it keeps me from listening to a show for very long. Who wants to listen to a show that is nothing more than inside jokes you needed to hear three shows ago? A show needs to make sense to a listener coming in for the first time, every show.

What do you think could be keeping podcasting from truly becoming the next radio?


Friday, February 20, 2009

URL Change

Well, as I'm sure you've noticed, I'm just not able to post here like I used to. Actually I haven't been able to give the same attention to this wonderful place for about a year now. It's not a bad thing, really. Just a time thing. When you run several blogs, pretty much on your own, somethings got to give. And as much as I love audio cinema, it's always been a fond hobby and not my main love. That would be politics. ;-)

Anywho, no, this is not a note that I'm shutting the place down. I do find things that I want to post that fit the best here, and I definitely want to keep sharing. However, it's no longer worth it to renew url. So, I'm changing the blogspot name.

"Societyfans", was outdated anyway. This blog began as a fan site, but it grew to be a fan site of many audio realted goodies, not merely one specific. Sometimes, change is good. :-)

Thanks for reading! Please adjust your feeds accordingly.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dream Realm Looking For Writers

Posted to the DRE Yahoo group:

Hello Gang,

I know there are some talented writers out there amongst this group of
amazingly talented people! I'm seeking writers to help us develop our
upcoming fantasy adventure series known as Legacy of Koani (pronounced

The basic premise is this: A group of young adventurers has been sent
forth to seek the Legacy of Koani, which is simply the wisdom and
knowledge of their people, who are known as the Kryth. Basically, the
Kryth are like you and me, except they have exceptional abilities.
Think of this as X-Men meets Lord of the Rings.

The main characters are as follows:

Xeric Beltane - A young man who is the chosen of his people to lead
this small band of misfits to seek wisdom and knowledge. He is about
18 to 20 years of age, and a lot is on his shoulders. But he happily
takes it on.

Kiff Korran - The childhood friend of Xeric who isn't the smartest
amongst his people. A bit of a fool at times, but with a heart of
gold. He is the lifelong best friend of Xeric's, and would do anything
for him. He can't seem to do much, but at least he can cook.

Zara Knight - She sees herself as a warrior in training, so to speak.
Or a sword-for-hire. She's as young as Xeric, but has a chip on her
shoulders. She is hired by Xeric to come along and help with the
fighting. But truth to tell, Xeric is rather taken with her. Her
feelings may be mutual, but she fights to hide her feelings from
everyone. The only emotion she allows herself to show is how
irritating she finds both Xeric and Kiff to be.

Boots - Rumor has it that Boots Kildor was once a mage and an
adventurer, and that he even advised kings and queens at one time.
However, it can't be proven. He is seen as nothing more than a fool
and a fake by most everyone. But Xeric sees more within this old
klutz, and asks him along for the journey.

Reena Farthing - A teenager who is determined to find adventure. She
insinuates her way into this small band of adventurers, but soon
proves she has some street smarts and a penchant for good luck. She
has few friends, except a small furry creature who sticks by her side
like glue. Could there be more to this pair than meets the eye?

Old Mother Volaryn - The Elder of the Kryth People whose advice is
often sought by the small band of adventurers. She is the wise
chronicler of Xeric's adventures, and is the one who sends him on his

That should be enough to give you an idea of what these characters are
about. Each episode is a fairly self-contained adventure on the
journey to find knowledge. There will be a story arc (the seeking of
the Legacy of Koani) that will be visited only from time to time as
the series progresses.

Anyone interested in writing for this series should email me
personally by no later than February 28th!

darkbuilding1 AT yahoo DOT com

The series has been cast, but we're in need of scripts. Don't submit
completed scripts, please! If you have an idea for a story, just send
me a brief (a paragraph or two in length) outline.

Thanks! I look forward to hearing from a few of you!

All the best,


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Sexy Zoom H4n

From Podcasting News:

The Zoom H4n Digital Recorder

Zoom has introduced the next generation in its handheld audio recorder line, the H4n.

Zoom’s H4n features built-in X/Y stereo condenser mics that allow variable recording patterns at either 90° or 120°. Other new features include digitally controlled high-quality mic preamps and the ability to use internal and external mics simultaneously, for 4-channel recording. The H4n records audio at up to 24bit/96kHz on SD/SDHC media of up to 32GB and syncs via USB 2.0.

The H4n has features to help it handle real-world mobile recording, including a rubberized, shock resistant body, all-metal microphone design and a built-in mounting joint for tripod and mic stand use.

For musicians and songwriters, the H4n offes multi-track recording capability along with Hi-Z Inputs for recording guitar and bass, variable speed playback capability for “phrase training”, onboard studio effects, and over 50 guitar and bass amp modeling settings. In addition, a new stamina mode enables the H4n to operate for 10 hours continuously on a single set of AA batteries.

The package includes a 1 GB SD card, wind screen, mic clip adapter, AC adapter, USB cable, protective case and Cubase LE recording software. An optional remote control is also available.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Mark Time/Ogle Awards Approaches Again!

Time flies when you're.. well... living! Email received for this year's Mark Time Awards!


The deadline for entering the Mark Time Awards and Ogle Awards competition is approaching: March 1, 2009 is the date for a postmark.

The Mark Time Awards are given each year for the best Science Fiction audio theater production of the year, and the Ogle Awards are for the best Fantasy and Horror audio theater production of the year. This will be the 12th Annual awards, announced at Convergence 2009, July 2 in Bloomington, MN.

Named for the character created by the Firesign Theatre, the awards are a celebration of the most popular genres in audio theater these days. The Ogle awards are named after Charles Ogle, who played the creation of Baron von Frankenstein in Thomas Edison's 1910 silent film of that name. The winners will receive a plaque, a t-shirt, a letter from David Ossman (Mark Time himself) and the right to shamelessly promote their work holding the award out in front.

Convergence, an annual convention sponsored by MISFITS, the Minnesota Society for Interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy, is pleased to host the awards ceremony, and MISFITS is honored to be a supporter. Winners are invited to attend the convention to accept the award in person as part of the Opening Ceremonies. The convention also hosts a venue for playback of winners for convention attendees.

Five judges will listen, rank the entries, and come to a concensus of the winners by Mid-May. Recent judges have included Philip Proctor (of the Firesign Theatre), Tom Lopez (of ZBS) and Dani Cutler (of SFFaudio and the Society of Audio Addicts). Judging is based on the quality of the writing, performance, sound production, and originality of the whole package. Remember, this is SF & F we're dealing with, so originality counts. Recreations and adaptations are considered, and judged both on the above criteria and considering the original source material. Audiobooks are NOT what we are looking for, but full cast audio theater.

To enter, go to the Mark Time website,, and print out the online form. Send the form, a $25 entry fee, and FIVE copies of your entry (usually an audio or MP3 CD these days) to the address listed there. Postmark must be on or before March 1, 2009. Past winners, and the Mark Time SF Audio Hall of Fame are there as well.

Don't miss the deadline. Enter now.

Jerry Stearns
Coordinator: Mark Time Awards

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Free your media!

From Podiobooker:

How free media brought in $4.2 million in sales


It’s not a giant leap to draw parallels between indie musicians and authors. To wit; I’d like to introduce you to Corey Smith, a new personal hero of mine. He gives his music away for free on his site. And he sells that music — the very same music — on iTunes. When he takes his free music down, his sales on iTunes go down.

That bears repeating. When he takes his free music down, his sales on iTunes go down.

Cory is now making his living as a musician, resulting in gross receipts of $4.2 million last year. Most of that cash comes from concerts. Tickets to those shows go for $5. As in, five dollars.

So let’s go over this again:

  • He gives his music away for free, or you can buy it
  • He uses no-brainer pricing to make his concerts accessible to just about everyone. And all of their friends
  • Phase Three: Profit.

    Read the story on TechDirt. Then see if you can think of any ways YOU can work in this brave new world. I hope a few authors and publishing houses are paying attention.

  • Scott Sigler goes by this philosophy too, as well as the Monty Python gang. I know personally I find myself more inclined to purchase something even after listening to it for free, if for nothing else to support the artist.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Sonic Gold Gearing up for April Launch!

    "And the Audio Hits Just Keep On Comin'"
    Jack Ward and Shannon Hilchie of the Sonic Society just announced in their last episode, that the long awaited "Sonic Gold" project will begin in April 1st.
    Sonic Gold is a new subscription based show that will bring the very best of paid audio content to your podcatcher. As a member of Sonic Gold you'll get 36 weeks of amazing professional audio drama that you can't get anywhere free on the Internet.
    So why buy audio drama?
    As Jack Ward puts it, "If we're going to help revitalize the market for audio drama across the world, we need to prove that people are willing to pay for it. And after all, who wouldn't want to see someone like Gregg Taylor from Decoder Ring Theatre get paid to put out a new show?"

    What's it cost of an subscription to Sonic Gold?
    Early bird sign up is just 20 dollars a year. Get in on the ground floor and you can get a whole lot more than that, but things are moving fast.
    Check the great deal and details Sonic Gold and sign up!

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    If you're doing this for a living, then you're not loving it

    If I were to do a presentation at the Blog world and new media expo this would be it.

    Hello, I am David "topper" Tobkin, and I have been a blogger since the late 90's for the most part. I have used text to begin with, just text on a page and uploaded to a website.

    My earliest foray into the social networking of the so called new media would have been in the early 90's with what was available then, a BBS system called Top City, no relation. That was a message board that got as time went by a chat line. For what it was worth it was a good time. Non commercial on the fly by a guy that had a few computers in a cramped apartment.

    But I wanted, in metaphoric terms, windows. I knew there was beginning to be a world on the world wide web. But I didn't have the pc to do it. When I did it was powerful enough for AOL. Not the window to the world wide web I wanted. But it served my online social purpose of getting to know people "out there". Oh yea, you can actually get to know people "out there". And I actually like you today set out to meet few of them in Seattle at a get together. Much smaller than this but fun.

    Ok then, enough about me, let us get down to business and start talking about you. Some of you are podcasters. Where this new media really gets it start. And I have been noticing a trend. Commercialism. Even bloggers have ads on their sites. Sure there ads here and there that providers have but you are users why put ads on your own blog or podcast page? It isn't as though your readers and listeners are customers, they are not. They are your audience, say it with me, audience. And these folks can listen to you or read your blog any time they want. Which brings to another point of podcasting. It is considered to be a portable media, therefor people can take you with them where ever they go, on a trip, to the gym, on a drive, anywhere. The only reason that the term podcasting is getting a bad rap is because Apple wants to control it, so the controlling forces of podcasting want you to follow suit with "new media". Oh well sign of the times.

    But being that you have an audience are you worth paying for? What I have is a passion for whatever moves me at the moment and it should you too. Everything you have learned about making a buck on this new media I am going to try and get you to forget. What is the motto? "If you are doing this for a living, then you are not loving it". Oh I know as well as the next guy that making a buck is a great thing, but I don't want the chase of the almighty dollar to get in the way of my passion.

    Many things are built on passion. Many other things are built on need. You have the passion, Libsyn may supply the need, or whatever service you use. But these services are just that, services. There have been many services that have come and gone and one in particular comes to mind that had it ALL. It was a website that used google chat or gizmo to call in and it streamed audio for you. Also on the site was a chat room and it saved the chat for you. Some of you may recognize it. I liked it too before it became a commercial enterprise with even a target market. Now days it is a thanksgiving turkey, only problem is, they started cooking it in June. It was a great tool, but you all deserve better. Target markets are for magazines.

    And about passion. Lets say you have a show, and something you read about fires you up. By the time you get to that day you set aside the passion is gone. Remember it is a portable media, why not do it anytime you want. Quantity is as good as quality as long as the quality is the same. That goes with blogging too.

    But lets say you are time constrained. Well there are places to park your passion. Facebook ain't it. What the heck is that about anyway? If you have one reader as an audience you might as well take him or her out for coffee and get the message out that way.

    I belong to facebook, and still asking myself why. Other enterprises to park things of interest is google reader. At least there is a place there to share with everyone, and my personal favorite News vine. Very active and sure it has ads but not all the time, and most importantly NOT to a target market. Male's in the 25 to 30 bracket like that place I eluded to earlier.

    So to be counter productive to what you have heard from expo's in the past about making a buck doing something you enjoy, forget that chase and just enjoy. It will show in your work, podcast or otherwise that you have the passion and will be in it for the long haul.

    My rule is, do it whenever. Most people use a feed anyway. As long as the quality is there, the quantity will not matter.

    Take care and good luck.

    Monday, December 01, 2008

    PAB '09 Registration Now Open

    From Podcasting News:

    Podcasters Across Borders 09 Opens Registration, Calls For Speakers

    Podcasters Across BordersPodcasters Across Borders co-founder and organizer Mark Blevis sent word that registration for PAB2009 is opening today (December 1, 2008) at midnight Eastern Time. The three-day podcasting and new media conference is scheduled for June 19/20/21, 2009, in Kingston, Ontario (Canada). This is the fourth year of the event, which focuses on not just podcast creation, but also on “building and engaging communities, using social media dynamics, and honing the skills we use in all aspects of our online presence.”

    Early registration cost is cdn$120, rising to $150 on January 1. Registration is limited to 120 participants.

    This weekend, PAB organizers also issued a call for speakers and presenters:

    “The theme for PAB2009, Outside-in: Learning from beyond the fishbowl, was selected to evolve the conversation to draw on skills, communications styles, experiences, innovations and people from outside of the social media and new media communities. We want our program to energize, motivate and advance the community.”

    The event features more structured 25-minute presentations (with Q&A afterward), and five-minute “Jolt” sessions. None of the sessions are used to promote specific businesses or services.

    I've given up trying to convince myself I'll make it to PAB one of these years. It takes place at the BEST time of the year- both my daughter's birthdays! :-)

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    The Dream Realm Update!

    Lots of things still happening over at Dream Realm Enterprises. Not only are there new Dr. Who episodes, but they have also been re-releasing the first season of Robotz of the Company, as well as podcasting their Sci-Fi and horror mini-series, The Realm Weaver!

    When you need to escape the influx of family during tomorrow's Turkey Day- be thankful for audio cinema! ;-)

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    And for those who still heart their radios...

    From Cnet:

    Sony's awesome but ridiculously cheap AM/FM HD Radio!

    Posted by Steve Guttenberg

    Sony's XDR-F1HD HD Radio has developed a real buzz among my audiophile pals, on second thought maybe buzz isn't the right word. It's the quietest, noise-free radio I've ever used.

    These guys can be real snobs and only listen to ultra-high-end components, and some wouldn't be caught dead using mainstream gear with their hi-fis, and yet they're all going ga-ga over the Sony. We're all thinking it's too good to be true.

    I originally heard about the Sony from Steven Stone, a writer friend, and then from an engineer at an American high-end audio company known for making awesome tuners that sell for thousands of dollars. The engineer was positively gushing about how good the XDR-F1HD is, not just that is sounded great, but also because it pulls in tough to receive analog stations with lower noise and distortion than tuners that sell for big bucks. You can read my full CNET review here.

    I rushed right out and bought an XDR-F1HD from Amazon, and sure nuff, it's true, the little Sony is no baloney. Analog FM stations came in like gangbusters, clean as a whistle, and HD stations, like my favorite jazz station WBGO had "CD quality" sound. That phrase is tossed around a lot, but this time it's for real. Listening to WBGO with the Sony over my high-end system with Magnepan 3.6/R speakers the sound is amazing. It's day and night better than what I get from Sirius Satellite Radio, which is almost unlistenable over those speakers.

    Right, Sirius sounds like a crummy MP3 over the Maggies. That's why I listen to Sirius over my Tivoli PAL table radio. Good enough sound is what most people put up with, and that's kinda sad.

    WNYC, my local NPR outlet, multicasts HD on three channels: one is the same program as the analog FM station, the second is a 24/7 classical music stream, and the third is WNYC's AM feed, but in FM HD. One of my favorite shows, David Garland's "Spinning on Air" is a weekly musical journey; The October 26 all-theremin show was a mind trip, and sounded positively ethereal in HD. The theremin is an early 20th Century electronic instrument, it's featured on the Beach Boys' hit "Good Vibrations."

    Thing is, not all HD stations sound great, in New York WPLJ and WXRK sound dreadful. So you see, HD Radio technology doesn't guarantee sound quality, its up to the stations to follow through and not mess with their signal. The XDR-F1HD is a gateway to the best of over-the-air analog and digital broadcasts.

    Need a second opinion? Check out Gary Krakow's The Street review to learn more.

    Steve Guttenberg is a frequent contributor to magazines and Web sites including Home Entertainment, Playback, and Ultimate AV. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Merging Isn't Always A Good Thing

    Found this post via The Consumerist. Seems satellite is going the direction traditional radio has. Maybe Clear Channel will take it over someday...

    By Chris Walters, 1:55 PM on Fri Nov 14 2008

    This week, Sirius XM began consolidating its channels. In reality, this mostly meant jettisoning XM channels wherever there was a tenuous overlap with something Sirius already offered, which is bad news for anyone with a favorite station on XM who woke up Wednesday morning to find it missing. Alex wrote in to tell us that the four Spanish music channels have been condensed to one without regard to genre, and that the uncensored "urban music" station Hot Jamz has been cleaned up, rechristened "The Heat," and now leans toward radio-friendly R&B. The Motley Fool suggests that the new lineup may drive people to downgrade their subscription—it's "an incentive to downgrade to the cheaper plan that costs $6 less a month and lets users cherry-pick 50 stations."

    In addition to the latin and urban channels, Alex wants to know why Sirius XM couldn't have better prepared its listeners:

    First off, why such secrecy? Millions of subscribers were blindsided yesterday. No announcements of any kind were made over the air to let people know what was going on. To them, everything was fine on Tuesday, but all of a sudden on Wednesday, their favorite channel was deleted or changed fundamentally. This was a breach of trust between the provider and the consumer. We are the subscribers. We are paying for this service. We deserve a voice over what it is we want to hear. More importantly, we deserve input about programming we are willing to pay for.
    Second, we the consumers, Congress, and the FCC were assured that allowing the merger would increase diversity and choice. Wednesday's change showed you acted in bad faith. On the XM side, we lost 75% of the Spanish music choice. To clump together the previous 4 genres of music offered by Aguila, Viva, Caricia, and Caliente into one channel shows either cultural ignorance or contempt for diversity. My congressional representatives will be hearing from me about this.
    Third, the new censorship. I bought Sirius to free myself from the shackles of FM. Hot Jamz has been neutered into "The Heat," essentially a satellite version of my local R&B station. I simply couldn't listen to it today. The songs were heavily edited and censored. This is the antithesis of what Sirius once stood for, what bringing Howard from FM symbolized. Fact is, urban music is written in the vernacular. What "The Heat" did to Hot Jamz is an insult.
    Fourth, continuing on the theme of less choice. Sirus XM acted in bad faith when it shrunk the available choices:

    No more electronica from Boombox — now pop2k... isn't there enough pop with 90's on 9, the Pulse, and Alt Nation?

    No more Old Skool.

    No more Punk.

    No more Fine tuning/free form.

    No more educational radio via Discovery channel. (I'm still raw over that)

    Instead we get less choice and shallower playlists on what used to be Fred, Lucy, and Ethel.
    Mel et al., you really should listen to what you customers have to say. (these are your most ferverent fanatics, and yet their poll shows less that 33% are satisfied)

    If you had asked us to begin with, you may have avoided this heartache.
    Dual-sub non grata,Alex

    As an aside, if you're a Mitsubishi Outlander owner experiencing problems with Sirius updates, Andy has figured out how to fix it:

    Sirius recently merged with XM and my radio received an update as part of the merger. It killed the radio in my Mitsubishi Outlander with an "Antenna Error" message. I argued with 4 or 5 CSRs at Sirius that this was not a hardware issue, the timing is too perfect. I ended up pulling the #7 fuse and it reset the radio. Voila, the radio is back up and running. However, every time they send an update I have to pull the fuse. I hope this helps other MMS owners, and I hope Sirius gets this figured out asap. This is a factory installed radio part of the Mitsubishi Multi Messaging System premium radio system.
    Here's a link to my forum post:

    "Sirius XM Has Crossed the Line" [The Motley Fool]

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    What Makes A Podcast A Podcast?

    As I was browsing through the reader today I happened upon a great blog post on Podcasting via Radio Drama Revival. It's very in-depth and lengthly, but touches on many points I agree with, and reminded me of exactly why I love podcasting as a medium above all others (I know, like I need reminding?). An excerpt of a part I sorta-kinda agree with:

    Podcasts do not Have to be Polished and Professional

    This one is non-negotiable. I was horrified and offended at Podcast Michigan by a presenter who spoke about how podcasts have "lowered the playing field." Among his talking points were many words to the effect of "be professional."

    I couldn't disagree more. The podcast world is vast, and contains multitudes. "Polish" is code for "make it sound like everyone else does, or we will look down on you." "Professional" is code for "people without a lot of money need not apply." Oh, and also "people who want to record something important and true to them, but that won't fit into a recording studio, or sound just like NPR, need not apply." Really? I love some of what goes down on NPR, but it ought to be obvious that there is an NPR "style," and expecting everyone to conform to it is just as bad as expecting everyone to conform to the commercial FM radio style.

    Read the entire entry here:

    Why do I sorta-kinda agree? Well, the thing I love the most about podcasting is there are no boundaries, no limits. Only what you place upon yourself. That being said, in some cases I agree that there is no need to ever have that polished sound, depending on what you're podcasting about. (See the last entry and the audio on reasons your podcast sucks to get more details on that). It really depends on your audience and the reason you are podcasting (i.e. who you are podcasting for). There are also so many inexpensive and free choices out there to record/edit some very decent audio, which definitely can help anyone have a decent show if they are willing to put even a minuscule amount of effort into it.

    Of course in special cases, such as a audio cinema podcast, some polishing is certainly necessary, but even then not 100% required. The beauty of it all is there is no one else you need to answer to other than you.

    These of course are just my opinions of one part of a big blog post, and I'd love to know what you other audio addicts think!

    Discuss! :-)


    5 Reasons Why Your Podcast Sucks (and on iTunes!)

    I'm finally getting around to posting some of the audio/video links to some of the Podcamp AZ goodness!

    Podcast AZ was streaming all day both days, and many guests stopped by to partake in the fun. You can watch some clips from the weekend riiiiight..... here. Dan and CJ of the Love Long and Prosper Podcast were amazing taking on the task of running the podcast all weekend.

    Unfortunately audio was scarce (and if you have audio from the weekend please post it in the comments!), but a couple of great sessions were headed by Evo Terra. He also had a cool slide show to go along with his sessions. Click and enjoy!

    *5 Reasons Why Your Podcast Sucks
    *5 Reasons Why Your Podcast Sucks on iTunes

    PS, clicky on the photo to get more photos from the weekend courtesy of the talented Sheila Dee!

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Indie Band Survival Guide

    Wanted to repost this informative gem for all of you audio and new media addicts out there. Shamelessly swiped from the Fun Anymore blog, which is the home of all things Evo Terra:

    If you are serious about new media, I highly recommend this book, The Indie Band Survival Guide.

    No, you don’t have to be a musician in an independent band. Yes, it was written with them in mind, but there are a huge numbers of takeaways.

    Props to the boys at Beatnik Turtle for craning out an enlightening and enjoyable book that cuts through the bullshit and tells you — specifically — what it takes to navigate the waters of independent media production.

    The section on copyright is fascinating. This book gives it all the weight the topic deserves, but explains it simple enough to allow anyone to grok the concepts. Kudos to them for carrying the conversation over to Creative Commons licensing as well.

    Podcasters: you need this book.

    Video producers: you need this book.

    Vloggers and Bloggers: you need this book, too.

    Get it.

    It's on the list- thanks for the info, Evo!

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    This weekend- Podcamp AZ 2.0

    Well here it is- this weekend the 2nd annual Podcamp AZ comes to the valley, and I'm so excited! We've worked so hard this year to put together a first rate unconference, and I think- no, I know- we will pull it off!

    This was truly a community effort. I don't think at any podcamp meeting there were less than 15 people. I may hate the summer weather and the politics of AZ, but one thing I love and what keeps me living here is the sense of community and support in the Valley of the Sun.

    One of the sessions I'm most looking forward to is Evo Terra's "Five Reasons Your Podcast Sucks". Many others have moved on to video, or streaming audio for their shows, but I remain strictly an audio podcaster for my show. Those are the sessions that are going to interest me the most! :-) However there are many MANY sessions planned on a plethora of topics- something for everyone!

    You can register all the way up through the weekend if you'd like to attend- it's absolutely free! Though, if you want one of the cool shirts, a donation would be appreciated!

    Still need convincing? The great AZ weather (in November, not the summer!) and all the great sessions isn't enough? Well how about some photos from last year?

    See you this weekend!


    Here's a neat new company to check out from Georgia- Audeeoh!

    Actually, they have been around a couple of years now, but are breaking out onto the podcasting scene with original audio dramas, like Butta and the Tower of Bling and The Shyster Club.

    Great quality productions and fun in a soap-opera drama sort of way. Check them out!

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Podcast Award Nominees Chosen

    Voting for the 4th annual Podcast Awards is underway, and I have to admit it's quite an eclectic mix of podcasters this year! I'm happy to see several of my friends in the nominations:

    Buffy Between The Lines
    Comedy 4 Cast
    Grammar Girl
    Extra Points
    ...and many others!

    Somehow even my little political podcast made it through the nomination process! Head over to the site and check out all the categories and nominees!

    Voting goes through November 6th, and you can vote once a day, every day until then!


    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Know What I Did Last Podcamp AZ?

    I had a really great time- that's what! That time of year is upon us again here in the not-quite-as-hot-now Southwest. Last year was the inaugural Podcamp AZ, and it was such a success it just had to be brought back!

    What's Your Source? This year's unconference is taking a look at what is relevant in media today. Whether we are talking podcasting or radio, video or even print, all of these media outlets are a source that is continually changing and advancing. If you want to be on top of it, then you should be at Podcamp AZ November 1st and 2nd. Sessions and interaction focus on the creation of all relevant media sources, and how to use those sources to work for you for whatever you want! It doesn't matter if you are a newbie coming in who has never turned on a computer (and if you are I will want to shake your hand!), or a more 'experienced' person with relevant media sources. There are always new things to learn and talk about- and Arizona is one of the best places to do it.

    The speakers lined up this year are also something to look forward to. More referred to as "hosts of an ongoing conversation", they bring their knowledge of a topic to you, yet are just as willing (and wanting) to learn as well. Some of the awesome speakers lined up this year are Evo Terra, Doug Welch, Kathy Jacobs, Francine Hardaway, Brian Shaler, and Chris Pirillo! You can learn more about these speakers and see who else is scheduled by clicking right HERE.

    You really can't beat Arizona in November- the price is right and the community is awesome and inclusive. Head over to the website and register NOW and come be involved in the second annual Podcamp AZ!

    If you'd like to help spread the word about Podcamp AZ, here's a little promo you can play on your podcast or radio show:

    ... or you can always spread the word in the relevant media outlet of your choice. GO! Register! See you November 1st!