Dan Misener likes the radio

Among other things, Dan is a public radio producer.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Let's Play Jonathan Goldstein

Lockout left you with too much spare time? Why not take on this project from Engadget: How-To Build a Telephone Recording Circuit from an Old Modem. I've used Skype and Audio Hijack Pro to record telephone conversations before, but I've always been disappointed with the audio quality. I'd love to own the RemoteMix C+ I used to borrow from Ryerson, but it's just too expensive for how much I'd use it. Anyone with a soldering iron want to help me out with this?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lamination Nation

From The Globe and Mail: Nanook and I walk the line
The more discerning picket will rummage through a pile of signs looking for one not stained with coffee or smeared with lunch. Six weeks of lockout plays hell with cardboard.
Looks like Toronto could learn a thing or two from their friends to the east. When I was in Halifax for the second week of the lockout, I was delighted to find their picket signs laminated. What a concept. When I was in grade school, teachers would often disappear to a magical far-away building called the "Resource Centre." They'd leave with a batch of unfinished construction paper art projects, and return with an armload of laminated goodness. Surely someone in Toronto is married to a sympathetic teacher with keys to a resource centre.


From this morning's CMG bargaining update:
Management's position is virtually the same as it held before it imposed the lockout.
It's hard to know what comments like this mean for reaching a deal, especially with all the optimism on the picket lines, blogs, and mailing lists. I'm starting to question what Fontana thinks he's really doing by locking negotiators in a room, especially if both sides plan on sticking to their guns. Part of me just wants to ignore the rumor mill. I still believe that only a handful of people really know how and when this will end.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Some thoughts on my experiences with Toronto Unlocked

This morning, Toronto Unlocked wrapped up its three-week run on CIUT. I had some initial reservations about the program. At the start, no one had convinced me that it was a good idea. I wasn't sure that we (the CMG) weren't shooting ourselves in the foot. Though I didn't buy the "we're scabbing ourselves" argument, I questioned the wisdom of feeding an appetite we were trying to create with our silence. During Toronto Unlocked's first week on the air, I discussed it with a lot of people on the picket line. I solicited opinions from people I respect and admire -- journalists, hosts, and producers. I told them I was thinking about signing up for the show. Some were supportive. Others were dead set against it. Then I decided I was making too big a freaking deal about it. I got over myself, and realized that the show was going to continue whether I was involved or not, and my participation (or lack thereof) wouldn't make a huge difference. So I signed up. And for the second and third weeks, I chase produced for the Wednesday morning shows. It felt good. It felt good to make phone calls. It felt good to get stressed out about guests falling through. It felt good to book people. It felt good to pre-interview. It felt good to be back in a campus/community radio environment. It felt good to work on a story, then wake up the next morning and hear it on the radio. Ultimately, my reasons for participating were selfish. I miss working, and Toronto Unlocked let me work. I wanted to reconnect with my CBC colleagues. I wanted to meet new people. I wanted people to know I'm back in Toronto and keen to work. And if I had to do it over again, I would.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Feeling lonely

Radio affects most people intimately, person-to-person, offering a world of unspoken communication between writer-speaker and the listener. That is the immediate aspect of radio. A private experience.

- Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964

When I was in junior high school, towards the end of grade eight, I started to deliver the Halifax Daily News. Every weekday morning, I was up and out the door by six, to have my route done by seven. For my birthday that year, I asked for and got a small radio walkman. I still have it. And I listened to it every morning for the three years I delivered the Daily News. Through the week, the voices of Don Connolly and Elizabeth Logan kept me company. On the streets near my parents' house in Lower Sackville, I fell in love with CBC Radio. Honestly, I can't remember the details of a single interview from those years. But I do remember how listening to Information Morning made me feel. Though I was technically alone delivering papers, it didn't seem that way. At 13, was I that interested in traffic reports? Or city council? I doubt it. But I listened. When I moved to Toronto two years ago, I didn't know anyone here. For the first little while, I spent a lot of time alone, listening to the radio. I sat in my dorm room, listening to countless episodes of This American Life. I listened to Andy Barrie in the mornings; Metro Morning helped shape my ideas about the city. Again, though I was, I didn't feel alone. People sometimes ask me what I love about radio. It's not necessarily about what I'm listening to or working on. I understand that radio has utility -- to inform, to enlighten, to entertain, to stimulate -- but to me, its greatest power, and what I love most about it, is how makes me feel like I've got a friend when I'm all by myself. Lately, for the first time in a while, I've felt lonely when I'm alone. And I don't want to anymore.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Um, err... maybe not

OK, so it looks like I won't be picking up the previously mentioned HHB FlashMic. Engadget lists the price as $1,200 USD. Ouch.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Could this be my next digital recorder?

I've long been searching for the perfect portable digital recorder. At first glance, the recently announced HHB FlashMic looks like a good candidate.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Food Fight!

Over on his blog, CBC Workerbee has proposed a lockout blog food fight. I don't have any great recipes to share (Tim Hortons and KD are staples in my diet), but I know two gentlemen who do: Mat and Dave from Let's Get Baked with Mat and Dave. If you don't know, Let's Get Baked is Halifax's premiere vegan baking show. While in Halifax last week, I got to visit the famed Allen Street Kitchens and enjoy several delicious vegan pies. Season Two just got underway, and their podcast has provided me with some excellent picket-line listening.

Spent a great couple of hours on the line Sunday afternoon. Did a couple of laps with Michael Enright, then a couple with Nora Young. Talked lockout, CIUT, podcasting, and Toronto. It's always nice to be reminded that the people I hear on the radio are actually real people.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A lockout'll do that to you

I'm back in Toronto. The picketing here runs 24/7. Roommate Tristan and I arrived home late last night after a game of squash. We got in the door, and he asked what time it was. I joked, "I stopped caring about the time a few weeks ago." Then the the truth of it sank in. I've been here almost a week, and my alarm clock is still unplugged.