Lots of you seem to be wandering around in my blog looking for info on Tim Tate’s story, Pepe the Mail Order Monkey. I have some of Tim’s art and I supported the Fringe Festival musical Pepe the Mail Order Monkey, but I think this is what you’re looking for:

NPR’s Snap Judgement aired a recording of Tim Tate telling the tale of Pepe the Mail Order Monkey. Here’s the direct link to the segment Monkey Madness, which was part of Sunday’s episode, Fool’s Gold.

It’s great & you should go listen, but be warned – that’s a soundcloud link so it’s going to start playing as soon as the page loads.

Hey, look, you can actually watch the musical online in its entirety!

Pepe! The Mail Order Monkey Musical from Jon Gann on Vimeo.

Parks and Recreation has done two fantastic sendups of public/community radio. I realize that making fun of public radio is like shooting fish in a barrel – it’s for that very reason that most spoofs just aren’t funny. I think most of these efforts fail because they hitch all of their jokes to the easy targets, such as the (over)enunciation standards of NPR or Pacifica. Or, they try to go for “easy laughs” by trying to skewer the Left, but end up replicating the oppressive sexist structures of corporate radio that NPR exists to stand against in the first place.

At the very least, they aren’t as absurdly, unintentionally funny as community radio can be all on it’s own earnest self. And that’s the key to what makes Parks and Recreations take on it so funny – they get it that the people who do this kind of radio are so deeply invested in a very romantic idea of the power of community radio, with a little ill-considered corporate marketing in the mix just to keep things bizarre and off-kilter, and they know how to take those elements and make them hyper-realistic without being cruel.

Leslie Knope’s appearance on Wamapoke County Public Radio on last week’s episode, “Pawnee Commons,” was pitch-perfect.


embedded link: “Pawnee Commons” into

I like Studio 360. (My favorite episode of all-time is still an episode from 2008, “Nikola Tesla: Strange Genius.” It wasn’t the point of this post, but I’m going to embed it, just because I can).

The astounding mad scientist life of Nikola Tesla. Just who was this pioneer of radio, radar, and wireless communication? We discover his legacy in the work of today’s scientists and artists. Samantha Hunt’s new novel The Invention of Everything Else is a fictional portrait of Tesla. Monologist Mike Daisey tells us how Tesla X-rayed Mark Twain’s head. And across the country, garage inventors toil in obscurity at the next breakthrough that will change the world.

A more recent episode made me think of Michele Banks, so I thought I’d post about it so I’d remember to make sure she heard it.

In 1928 the Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming discovered the fungus from which penicillin is derived. Fleming made the discovery while trying an unusual experiment: painting with strains of bacteria. Lindsay Patterson talked with a team that’s taking bacterial painting to a new level.

Michele has a new show, “Love and Death”, at the National Institutes of Health through March. I need to go check it out so I can post about it.


FMC Policy Summit 2010

It’s time for the 10th Anniversary Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit.

TENTH? This event is 10 years old? No way. I was still in Grad School when this event started and that was just…nevermind. Let’s move on.

Musicians can still apply for scholarships to the Summit and anyone who wants to engage or learn more about public policy, music technology, and technology can still buy a ticket.

Come on, get your music & tech policy fix where all the cool kids hang out! The event starts Sunday (the 3rd) and runs through Tuesday (the 5th) – check the website for programming details and panelist bios.

Monday night, there’s a rock show. And not just any rock show, this is a benefit for Dear New Orleans presented by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition.

The show is at the Black Cat and tickets (regular and VIP packages) are still available. Check out this partial line-up:

Bonerama with
Damian Kulash of OK Go
Jenny Toomey and Franklin Bruno
Hank Shocklee (of The Bomb Squad, Public Enemy)
Jonny 5 of Flobots
Wonderlick (and half of Too Much Joy!)
Rebecca Gates
Crossover Clarinetist Mariam Adam
plus special guests!

And, of course, I’ll be there (in the audience). How can you possibly resist?

Still need a push? Don’t know who Bonerama are? Here’s video I found (on their website) of them covering “War Pigs” last year in San Francisco.

I tried harder to find video of them covering “When the Levee Breaks” on youtube because that’s more appropriate but all the videos I found sucked so you get this instead. (I did find video from last year’s FMC rockshow but the quality was not so high – a hazzard of recording trombones with a portable cam and then compounding the loss of low-frequency content by playing it back on computer speaker. You can watch it anyway if you want).

I bet you could see them cover it live if you bought a ticket and showed up at the Black Cat Monday night.

Over at Wait wait, don’t blog me, Ian Chillag decided to experiment with the gin and mayo cocktail Tom Robbins mentioned on Wait wait, don’t tell me! this weekend.

There’s more to the post, including the backstory, but I just can’t resist a pull quote to highlight Ian’s conclusion:

Gin & mayonnaise don’t combine well, probably because God doesn’t want them to. So rather than a single disgusting sensation, the gin and mayonnaise battled for the title of Flavor I’d Most Regret Having In My Mouth. I had hoped even the small quantity of alcohol would provide enough impaired judgment to make the experience tolerable, but no.

I also want to point out, for people who don’t pay attention to these kinds of things, the tags for that post:

Tags: ian needs counseling, ian deserves a raise, bad ideas, mayonnaise, gin

Indeed.

I’m going to be a bit lazy and copy and paste the entire press release the Prometheus Radio Project put out yesterday. Maybe not lazy, efficient. Yes, efficient, because it contains everything I was going to say anyway:

Low Power Radio Triumphs over Big Broadcasters in Washington
Thursday, 08 October 2009

Local Community Radio Act Sweeps House Subcommittee in 15 to 1 vote

The Local Community Radio Act was passed out of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet this morning in a sweeping 15 to 1 vote. The Act would allow for the creation of hundreds of new, low power FM (LPFM) radio stations that would broadcast community news and local perspectives to neighborhoods across the country.

“All I can say is, it’s about time,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), a co-sponsor of the bill. “It was absurd and ridiculous that broadcasters went to such great lengths to block the public from having some small measure of access to the airwaves, and disgraceful that we had to spend more two million dollars to prove what the FCC already had shown—that LPFM would not interfere with full power stations.”

Big broadcasters have historically opposed the Local Community Radio Act, claiming that LPFM could cause interference to full power stations, a concern later disproven by a Congressionally mandated study. But with unanimous FCC support, strong bipartisan co-sponsorship, and grassroots momentum, even industry news is now predicting a win. “We do not expect that there is any stopping it at this point,” the Radio Business Report commented this morning.

“The bill still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but I am optimistic that by the end of the year the Local Community Radio Act will be signed into law,” said Congressman Doyle (D-PA), lead co-sponsor of the bill with Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE).

The bill gained the support of former doubters of LPFM, including Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), a former lead co-sponsor of anti-LPFM legislation and ranking Republican on the subcommittee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the only former broadcaster in Congress, and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who called for the study of LPFM interference in 2000.

“Today’s vote signals a policy shift towards more local and diverse media,” said Cory Fischer-Hoffman, Campaign Director for the Prometheus Radio Project. “We need to use this momentum to push for full passage of the Local Community Radio Act so groups working tirelessly to have a voice in their communities can start building stations.”

Hundreds of groups—including schools, churches, and emergency responders—were denied licenses in 2000 after Congress blocked the FCC from handing them out in crowded media markets.

Advocates point to the successes of existing low power FM stations to prove their value to communities. “When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf, low power radio was the only source of emergency information in a number of counties. Residents in East Texas tuned their battery-operated radios to KZQX-LP while they waited a week for power to be restored,” said Andalusia Knoll, Community Station Director at the Prometheus Radio Project. “In Louisiana, KOCZ-LP has proven essential to the cultural survival of Zydeco music, which is rarely heard on the airwaves. And low power station WRYR hosts public debate about the environmental impacts of development on the Chesapeake Bay.”

“Congress should act swiftly to pass LPFM and support the families, workers, and places of worship that serve as the anchors in our communities,” said Joel Kelsey, Policy Analyst at Consumers Union.

Nancy Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights added, “In an era of mass media consolidation, we in the civil rights community believe that it is critical to promote diverse ownership and diverse viewpoints over the public airwaves, and we look forward to the passage of this bill into law.”

The Local Community Radio Act is now poised to move to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by longtime LPFM supporter Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Does Your Representative Support Local Radio?
BREAKING NEWS: Bipartisan legislation in Congress (H.R. 1147/S. 592) that promises to open the radio dial to thousands of new Low Power FM stations across the country is being debated in Congress on Thursday, October 8, 2009. The Local Community Radio Act would bring fresh music, local perspectives and community news to the public airwaves.

Join the thousands of people from across the country who are picking up their phones to contact Congress in support of this important bill.

Here’s the official summary of S. 592 from OpenCongress:

Official Summary

3/12/2009–Introduced.
Local Community Radio Act of 2009 – Repeals provisions in the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 that required the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to:
(1) modify rules authorizing the operation of low-power FM radio stations to prescribe minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels;
(2) prohibit applicants who have engaged in the unlicensed operation of any station from obtaining a low-power FM license; and
(3) conduct a program to test whether low-power FM radio stations will result in harmful interference to existing FM radio stations if minimum distance separations for third-adjacent channels are not required. Requires the FCC to modify its rules to eliminate third-adjacent minimum distance separation requirements between specified stations. Requires the FCC to retain rules that provide third-adjacent channel protection for full-power noncommercial FM stations that broadcast radio reading services via a subcarrier frequency from potential low-power FM station interference. Requires the FCC, when licensing FM translator stations, to ensure that:
(1) licenses are available to both FM translator stations and low-power FM stations; and
(2) such decisions are made based on the needs of the local community.

Today is Bobmas, the holiest day of the knitting year, for today is the day that Ravelry was conceived.

It’s only fitting that today should be the day that most NPR affiliates broadcast “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me.” For you see, Mo Rocca recently stated on the air that handknitted sweaters were itchy. Well, you can imagine what happened next!

If you lack imagination, I’ll tell you: a group made Mo a beautiful, soft, non-itchy sweater that fit beautifully. How do we know it fit beautifully? These fabulous knitters presented it to him this week at a taping of the show.

(The segment is Panel Round Two – Mo Rocca vs. the Knitters: An Update and Reconciliation).

Chicago Public Radio’s blog gives the scoop:

A couple of weeks ago, Mo Rocca made an off-hand comment that handmade sweaters were “itchy.” A fairly innocuous thing to say one would think.

Following the broadcast, Mo received tons of angry emails from a nationwide group of knitters. Yes. Knitters. People who knit. And they were smoking mad.

The first attempt at assuaging the burbling rage of the yarn spinners was a phone-in apology by Mo during a broadcast. Apparently, it was not enough. The bruised egos of those who crochet would not be salved by a mere apology. There had to be face-to-face confrontation.

After a digression about audiences for show tapings, the post continued with this humorous observation:

The knitters (from a group called Ravelry,) were lovely people who sat in the front row with balls of yarn at their feet. I’m pretty sure they were knitting throughout the whole show, like victims of OCD but with pointy needles.

If you scroll down to the bottom of their post you can see pictures of Mo in his nice new (non-itchy) sweater.

Happy Bobmas, one and all!

I’ve discussed the current Administration’s hellbent mission to relax the ownership rules on television, radio and newspapers and the tomfoolery the FCC has been engaged in since 2003, most recently in this post.

In a turn of events too good to believe true, the U.S. Senate, led by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, voted to roll back the media ownership rule the FCC had recently passed with a 3-2 vote.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Thursday night voted to nullify a Federal Communications Commission rule that allows media companies to own a newspaper and a television station in the same market.

The unusual “resolution of disapproval,” sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and 26 other senators, was approved by a voice vote. The measures sponsors include both Democratic candidates for president, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois.

…..

The White House is, of course, already pumping out it’s patented brand of misinformation, misdirection and outright lies. Stop Big Media has a piece posted debunking the media ownership lies being propagated by the White House.