WHILE DRIVING IN TIPPERARY and listening to Adam Curry on my iPod Touch, I discovered something interesting. It's Open Source Radio, the Curry edition. Adam Curry has been running a streaming server for several years. We have one on wide-open bandwidth at LIT-Clonmel. The idea: push out a rotating playlist of songs that are truly interesting to creative multimedia audiences. Those audiences are communities of students, potential degree candidates, employers and graduates.
Curry is running his live stream on Thursdays and Sundays at 5PM Irish Time. You can listen live on the No Agenda Stream or get your fix as a podcast. The problem is Curry's podcast server isn't accepting all his three-hour shows for distribution.
Recording with a live audience is the way to go. That audience gives real-time feedback by text, IRC chat, or hashtagged tweets. Curry's chatroom runs around the clock because he has a truly international audience. The sun does set on his audience--the Irish late night discussions are particularly vibrant. It's reinvigorated Adam.
"I've been a radio broadcaster for the past 30 years, both on the talent side as the programming/technical side of the industry," he writes. He built his first FM transmitter 30 years ago then "graduated to a DJ after soldering together an audio mixer to mix records on my two turntables. After that a decades long career followed comprised of working for closed circuit stations in hospitals, urban pirate radio stations in Amsterdam, podcasting and now with the proliferation of App-Phones and 3/4G mobile networks, we clearly have an opportunity to bring back the 'art' of radio."
Curry is on a roll. "In my opinion, you need humans to create art. That's arguable of course, but until my iPhone starts showing some emotion, I'm sticking by the statement.
"In radio broadcasting, that art cannot be replaced by machines. Radio connects a community. This used to be almost exclusively communities of geography. Before the big Clear Channel roll-up of all local stations and satellite programming, DJ's, or announcers would connect members of the community by spinning requests, putting dedications on the air, promoting local events, discussing local politics, issues, birthdays, you name it, it was all local. But the art goes beyond that. A certain song played in connection to a local news story can also connect the audience with emotion. Even a record that celebrates the sun finally shining after weeks of rain is an example of radio really connecting people."
In County Tipperary, we have local voices on several regional radio stations. They broadcast items of community interest like road reports, removals, lottery results and lost animals. The news reports are also important parts of the community. But the higher up you go in the radio feeding chain, the more likely you encounter strong corporate interests that dampen organisational interests.
Curry has his own stereotypical view of the situtation. "These guys all have nice offices, studios and CEO salaries to underwrite, so they have to be careful biting the hand that feeds them."
I'm watching how Curry and his No Agenda "producers" have cobbbled together a hybrid of live audio programming. Two talented people ( @gitmoSLAVE and @Gx2) have written and edited a number of scripts that pull a list of songs from a shared DropBox into a audio stream on the server. The audience drops songs into the box, and they would chat among each other in the chatroom about their choices. This is a truly global shared listening experience. But don't expect 40s music from this community Dropbox. For at least an hour of a Curry Daily Source Code mix, your ears bleed.
Curry is stumping for more assets that might scale this technology. He is documenting the Open Source Radio project with occasional musings on Curry.com. He already has music and news managed by his audience and a basic rotation of tracks. The results are at NoAgendStream.com with an open back channel at noagendachat.net.
I'm listening and learning.
Adam Curry -- "OSR"