Friday, March 7, 2008

A community slant at

One of my ongoing interests on this blog is exploring the new forms that communications are taking as the old broadcast and newspaper models fall apart. I can't tell yet how important web/radio might end up, but I'm certainly intrigued by the possibilities being kicked around by Chicago Public Radio's offshoot,

One of Vocalo's host-producers, Dan Weissman, told me yesterday that the station stirs things up by trying a new programming format every six weeks. The latest experiment will be a neighborhood-focused program centered around visits to the studio by community activists followed by journeys out to the 'hood to see things and meet others.


It gets started on Tuesday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a visit from Jermont Montgomery of Imagine Englewood If, an organization that works on projects related to open space, youth and beautification. Two weeks later on March 25, Dan will visit with Ernest Sanders of Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ernest is one of the New Communities Program's most prolific communicators, not simply writing stories and taking photos for the web, but making audio slideshows and using his cell phone to send reports to Vocalo.

To get more people in on that action, Vocalo is sponsoring another of its anyone-can-be-a-broadcaster trainings next Monday and Tuesday, March 10 or 11, at Batey Urbano, 2634 W. Division. "You'll learn the basics, including recording, editing, licensing, music selection, using your telephone as microphone and uploading content to the web site," said the e-mail I received. "You'll also get to test some inexpensive recording equipment and free software." You can register online at the Vocalo "store" or call 312-893-2956. You can catch Vocalo at 89.5 FM if you live on the far South Side or Northwest Indiana; otherwise the best way to listen is by streaming it on the Vocalo browser. A more powerful antenna will start working this summer, Dan says, spreading the broadcast through metro Chicago.

Where's it all going? Who knows. But it sure is interesting watching the new media evolve.

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