Welcome to 2009

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Over the holiday I qualified as a dj on WXDU by logging-in nearly 20 hours of on-air time. Most fun was working with Tessa on the New Year’s Eve show, 10 pm to midnight. She prepared a terrific selection of dance music from her days in New York. Techno never goes out of style, does it? We capped-off the year with two days in Washington, DC. We toured Capital Hill – the magnificent Library of Congress, the imposing Supreme Court and observed the swearing-in ceremony of Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.

A brief visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library impressed me in two ways: 1) a current exhibit entitled Breaking New: Renaissance Journalism and the Birth of the Newspaper and 2) the use of mobile devices.

How chaotic was the use of the printing press once the common man got hold of it. A January 5th, 2009 Washington Post article by Philip Kennicott suggested that the early journalists are the direct ancestors of today’s bloggers. Uncanny are the similarities in the range of voice, chaotic content and public reception. Equally impressive in this exhibit was the capability to dial a local telephone number (202.595.1844) from my mobile phone and access a description of any one of the twenty elements (78# through 97#) of the Breaking News exhibit. For example, as I stood in front of a London newspaper from 1644, I typed 83# on my cell to receive a 60 second description of this exhibit case. No headsets for the Folger to manage; no need to provide iTunes compatible materials.

Returned home to read that Apple and four of the largest music distributors are doing-away with Digital Rights Management (DRM). When one buys a song, one owns the song. To think that ten years ago Apple didn’t even sell music and now they are in firm control of the industry. What example is this setting for other industries? How soon will the cable companies have to offer channels that we want and not make us buy them all as the music labels did so painfully for so long?!

Here’s me at the control board at WXDU. Comic relief that might even please a Shakespeare.