Thursday, October 11, 2007

Except All The Runners Are Lame (Literally)

Since the show is about the weather today, can I point you at a URL where you can listen to an entire record of weather songs?

Then go here for Singing Science Records. Oh boy!

The weather is getting pretty in Texas now. I like when Austin cools down a little, when the sun is not a scorcher but a warmer. As I wrote this, I thought three things:

1) Boy, weather is kind of a dull thing to talk about.
2) But, isn't it something that we always talk about?
3) & isn't that because it's kind of like an introduction - you know, "How's the weather out there?" Or, "It looks like rain!"

Why do human beings have such a hard time talking about things that matter? Is it because we're fundamentally afraid someone will disagree with us? Or that someone will be provoking an argument?

I dunno. Tomorrow on Self Help Radio, though, we talk about the weather. Dig.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Whither The Weather?

Oh my god, thank you my apprentices for that awesome title for this blog! I know, it's a Mr Show quote, but still - how often do I get to quote Mr Show?

All I can say is, good for my apprentices! (They'll be doing the show this week, & they thought up this theme.) I mean, everyone talks about the weather, but no one does an entire radio show about it!

You should tune in! Listen to Apprentice Gary & Apprentice Stephanie do their thing! This Friday at 4:30pm CST on the air at 91.7 fm & online live at We might even have weather reports. Oh, but please god, no Weather Report. That would make me sad.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Preface To The Weather Show: A Brief History Of Apprenticing

It's often said that there are no more good ideas, or that at the very least all the best ideas have already been thunk up. Maybe so. But it seems like a lot of the good ideas haven't yet been used, so maybe the people who think up good ideas are just waiting to see the current ones get some action before working on more.

Take, for example, apprenticing. In general, we don't apprentice anymore. Or maybe we just call it "interning," since an intern can be made to do menial work & not necessarily be promised to learn a trade or craft. But surely the idea of a newcomer learning from an old hand is a good one. & it's one that seems beneficial to both - after all, if you have to teach your own work, you learn more about it, like learning a different language helps you examine your own.

Nothing I am saying here is in the least bit profound, & wouldn't be to a blacksmith in 1513. But for an enterprise as fraught with complication as "community radio," it seems like a broadcast station with virtually no paid staff, run on a shoestring budget with virtually every task done by volunteers, it seems like such an entity would want the best possible way - not to mention the cheapest & least onerous - to have brand new participants learn as quickly as possible the ins & outs of not only the mechanism for making radio, but also how the station works. Therefore: an apprenticeship system.

When I came to KOOP in 2000, the training process was perfuctory at best: three consecutive Mondays of "training," a ten question "test," & you were left to do what you needed to do as a volunteer. Most of the people who came to be "trained" left - there was nothing there to encourage your participation in KOOP except your own motivation. & by the way, there was also no reason for you to even hope to get a show, but that's another story.

I stuck it out because I love doing radio, & I'm also creepily stubborn. I became part of KOOP's Training Team & watched as dozens of great people came to KOOP & then left, simply because the station didn't have a process to nurture involvement. Surely that could be changed! Surely there was a good idea out there so we didn't have to invent one!

In 2005, I took part in a process to redefine the training system & the programming policies. You can see those policies here. One part of the policies is that now training takes a little longer than a month. More like six months. & while you're being trained, you are assigned to a current KOOP programmer - as an apprentice - to learn the ropes. You're given something to do as you become involved.

I don't know if KOOP did anything like this in its first ten or so years of existence, but boy, isn't it a good idea?

This is a long-winded way of saying that I have two great appentices this season & I am giving them my show this week. They want to do a show about the weather. Okay! I'll be there to make sure nothing gets broken - you know, except my heart - but it's all them. Ninety minutes of apprentices gone wild. & why not give them the show? How else are they gonna learn how crazily easy it is to do Self Help Radio.

Oh, wait.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bitten Too Too

The crisis that is this blog continues unto the present day. Are there no more insights from my electronic pen? Do you wish perhaps someone could put your neighborhood in context? Perhaps this can help. I can do more than this.

Or wait. You can always visit the Self Help Radio website to listen to last week's show. If you missed it. Or if you heard it. Especially if you heard it. It's more confusing the second time around.

I am public announcing something on this blog in a month's time. It will not have anything to do with a coupon. Are there other blogs you would like me to emulate? I could perhaps have more found art here. Or maybe flash movies in which you are allowed to do things "creatively" without marking up real paper from real dead trees. You can suggest whatever. I am all years.

New features! A change of cologne! A chance to win twelve dollars a minutes for forty days & forty nights! Styrofoam! Something that reminds you of something else! Redesign! Remix! Repackage! Reticence! All coming up on the new, improved Self Help Radio Blog!

Or, wait, maybe not. I've been a little tired. Also, I'm going to Dallas tomorrow & where will I get a computer then? Are you still counting my keystrokes? What a weirdo.