Image by Eric Dufresne from Trois-Rivières, Canada CCA-2.0

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”.  Many attribute this quote to Albert Einstein (although there is no originating source to access).  I’m no Einstein, but Arbitron’s PPM-based radio is a little bit of insanity.

I’ve discussed over and over again how unsatisfying Gil Gross’ radio program has been lately and how I’ve been trying to understand why.  It’s a shell of the programming we’d become accustomed to on KGO before the Cumulus Dick-eys gutted that talk station and threw the scraps to the listeners while they dined on the fleshy remains.

It’s not only talk radio that has been affected by this crazy style of programming.  Many music stations are chasing the PPM dream as well and music listeners notice the decline.  They, too, try to understand what is happening.  No matter how many listeners express outrage, radio programming continues the slide downward.  The following blog post written by Adam Hogue attempts to explain why radio content is no longer listenable and his idea on how to fix it:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/13624/the-radio-in-decline-the-radio-reinvented-why-we-must-update-our-radio-stations

He recognizes that PPM doesn’t benefit radio listeners, and he’s calling out the current state of radio.  In his analysis, he includes radio shows he finds satisfying with in-depth content.   One is Radiolab, a well-produced show that I’ve linked to in previous posts.  There are some great Radiolab episodes on podcast.  During times I can’t listen to Gil’s show any longer, and it’s getting to be more than just on Fridays, I seek out Radiolab episodes that bring back a sense of sanity in radio programming.

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Here’s a link to Radiolab‘s Episode Archive page:

http://www.radiolab.org/archive/

The nice thing about the Radiolab archives is the next episode will play automatically.  I like that.  I don’t have to continue to bring up the program, find the next podcast, and hit play.  I can let it run in the background.

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Adam Hogue also linked another program I’ve never listened to before.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

I’m listening now to Episode 109, titled ‘Notes on Camp’, under the recently aired section.  It’s stories about summer camp and captures that culture of outdoor camaraderie seated around a crackling camp fire.

This definitely is an option to replace Gil’s show.

It’s not optimal, though,  because it’s a one-time per week broadcast, like RadiolabThis American Life episodes are only available for one week after broadcast, unless it’s downloaded to your computer.

Here’s their podcast page:

“Most weeks This American Life is the most popular podcast in the country, with more than a 800,000 people downloading each episode. When you subscribe to the free weekly podcast, episodes automatically download to your computer. Episodes are available for exactly one week, beginning the Monday after broadcast. Podcast content is the same as the radio broadcast, except on occasion when we include extra material on the podcast that had to be cut for time”

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http://www.thisamericanlife.org/podcast

(This page includes all of the links to subscribe for free, or download or where to find them on iTunes and Amazon.)

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The ‘Notes on Camp’ Episode explores the group experience.  In some ways, the old KGO talk-radio format was the Bay Area’s camp fire, where we all sat around as a group and listened to stories.  We listened to Gene Burns’ eloquence, and to Pete Wilson’s pirate talk, and Bernie Ward’s ego inflating rants before flattening to the ground with his felony conviction.

We listened in awe around that KGO camp fire, we laughed and we cried as a group and the non-KGO people didn’t understand what it meant to each and every one of us.

We are missing our local camp ground.

We have to search for John Rothmann, we wait for Len Tillem to post new podcasts, and we catch Ed Baxter sometimes filling in for Gil Gross.

There will always be a place for Gil’s show, when news is breaking or when a political issue needs to be analyzed, but it’s no longer a turn-it-on and leave-it-there type of show.  There’s no group sharing, listening to what one another has to say.

Unfortunately, Frosty is following that same path.  I enjoy listening to Frosty’s show, he has a different spoken style than Gil and I haven’t heard the same story from him ten or more times.  But the PPM way of ‘chasing ratings’ is what will ultimately chase me away to seek alternatives.

Summer camp is over.

Will the last person out please douse the embers of the once mighty flame.

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Here at the end I’ll leave you with this new post by the anti-pope about death and ants:

http://open.salon.com/blog/james_emm/2013/07/28/of_god_deathand_ants

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