But I'll take that risk. Radio is either dying or regenerating into something else. Or, in another scenario, I as an avowed local radio guy am turning myself into something else. I don't know the veracity of any of these statements. The situation is changing so rapidly. Who can tell how fast you're going and in what direction.
Facebook live got going in April or so. And here we are in early August and we've had hundreds of thousands of views of our videos. And we didn't start until June. That's hundreds of thousands of views in less than two months. What the hell's going on?
Now that doesn't mean that every video we do has thousands of views. Not at all. As a matter of fact, it's difficult to predict what videos will do well. I did an interview a couple of weeks ago with a woman who's leading a group that's experiencing infertility. Who would have thought that the video of that interview would gather several thousand views. Or that my interviews with elected officials would earn so few views? It's hard to predict but it's really valuable intel.
The Times has started to do audio podcasts, and at first blush the three or four of you might think that threatening to WJOB. Maybe it is. But in the end I always feel that the real competition is Chicago. Anything content - audio, video, photos, stories - that someone local produces adds to the social milieu that is not controlled by the big radio and TV stations out of Chicago. That's how I view it.
Besides, I already owned a newspaper, remember? I got to see first-hand what the challenges are in combining radio and print. It's tough. I do believe that there's a way to make money doing it. And if you pin me down and make me say "uncle," I might even blurt out that the only way for local media to make any money is to work together and produce multi-media content, thus, once again, fighting the media monster from Chicago that vacuums up most of the ad money.
But since it's only the three or four of you reading this blog, no one's really gonna know that I said that the best way for media to thrive is to work together. That's just between us five.
I do apologize to you regular three or four who check back to see if I've written anything lately. In the past couple of months, I'll go a couple of weeks without writing anything about My American, Radio Life. If you check, the moment I stopped writing regularly corresponds exactly with my discovery of Facebook Live video. Sorry but it's true. Radio is becoming something else for me, for now. My guess is that I'll leave the expected mission for a while to fool around with Facebook Live video and then return to the mission of radio. I might even reject Facebook Live video altogether after a while.
And then again maybe not. Apply supply side economics to the reasoning. I like doing live anything, radio, TV, even this blog I treat as live. As a matter of fact, I wonder if there's a way for the words to show up as I write them. No one but the three or four of you reads my blog anyhows. You could lay in bed and watch your computer screen and wait for the next words of wisdom about radio to appear on the screen.
That's the kind of shit I think about all day - ways to make radio better. You might think that doing live blogging is, once again, anti-radio in that it takes away my resources from doing radio and it takes away your resources from listening to radio... but rethink this. I'm gonna think about it on my ride to work in a few minutes.
Back to Live. I really hate it when people capitalize a word in the middle of a sentence... and if anyone at the station uses an exclamation point for any reason I immediately delete it. But let's let "Live" stand for now.
I do a Live radio show
I do Live Facebook videos
I blog to you Live (although the three or four of you can't see it until I post it)
When I traded in a pit, there was not prep or replay. It was all Live trading. And I was decent at that.
Maybe I'm just starting to accept my destiny... that the only thing I do well and enjoy is Live. Would that make any sense to the three or four of you? I'm looking for some reinforcement on this. I get the sneaking feeling that I'm trapped in this world of Now and there's no getting out of it... and maybe I don't even want to get out of it. It certainly makes it easier when you don't have to go back over your material and edit it or post it or do anything to it. That's what radio is. You say it and it goes out over the polluted air of the Calumet Region and then a mom taking her kids to school hears you say it. You're her friend for a moment and then it's gone.
That's what Facebook Live is. You point the camera at yourself and you walk through a parade or you ride your bike and people watch it and then it's dead. The difference between radio and Facebook Live, for now, is that as soon as you do the Facebook Live video it gets posted and people can watch it later. As someone with a generally lazy streak - Slacker Radio - I really like that all I have to do is point the camera at whatever I'm doing and then it's done.
With radio right now, however, even though it's live you still have to do some post-production to get it up on the web. We have to tape a few segments and then edit them and then post them to Soundcloud or podbean or wherever and blah blah blah. It's easy right now to get live video on the web but not as easy to get live radio on the web or my live blogging.
Liveblogging.com. Let me see if that site's available. Nope. Somebody took it already. Doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Maybe I'll look into that today. Create a site in which as you blog, people can read it Live. Why not?