The Next Track, Episode #99 – Radio, Radio

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxRadio has long been the first way that people have discovered and listened to music. It is still very powerful, in spite of the ubiquity of music streaming services. We discuss how radio works, how it’s changed over the years, and where it may be going.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #99 – Radio, Radio.

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BBC Radio 3 Testing Lossless FLAC Streaming

BBC Radio 3, the classical station of the BBC, is testing streaming in lossless format using FLAC. If you’re in the UK, you can try it out now. You’ll need to use Firefox, though some hi-fi streaming servers will be updated to offer access to this streaming quality. Cambridge Audio is looking for beta testers for this service if you have one of their devices.

The BBC discusses this project here. It looks as though the trial will last for at least five months.

If you are in the UK, and listen to classical music, try it out. It’s hard to perform a proper A/B test, but you could open two browsers – Firefox or another – and play from one, stop, then play from the other, to see if you hear the difference. If you try this, drop a comment below about your experience.

The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of “I, Libertine”

In the 1950s, a DJ named Jean Shepherd hosted a late-night radio show on New York’s WOR that was unlike any before or since. On these broadcasts, he delivered dense, cerebral monologues, sprinkled with pop-culture tidbits and vivid stretches of expert storytelling. “There is no question that we are a tiny, tiny, tiny embattled minority here,” he assured his audience in a typical diatribe. “Hardly anyone is listening to mankind in all of its silliness, all of its idiocy, all of its trivia, all of its wonder, all of its glory, all of its poor, sad, pitching us into the dark sea of oblivion.” Shepherd’s approach was summed up by his catchphrase: a mock-triumphant “Excelsior!”, followed by an immediate, muttered “you fathead…”

Shepherd inspired fierce loyalty in his listeners who would tune in to listen to him in the middle of the night. These listeners embraced his term for them, “night people,” and under his direction they would execute one of the biggest and most bizarre media hoaxes of the 20th century. The hoax was meant as a strike against their opposite: “day people,” that is, against phoniness and squareness–all those 50s words–as well as a joke on New York pretension.

In our time of memes, virality, and reality blurring, the hoax Shepherd dreamt up seems extremely modern and prescient in its contours–as does the fact that, eventually, it got out of his control.

The story of the I, Libertine hoax is interesting, and presages a lot of today’s media culture. Shep was a fascinating guy, and I grew up listening to him on WOR in the evenings. His irreverence certainly helped shape my worldview.

Source: The Man Behind The Brilliant Media Hoax Of “I, Libertine” – The Awl