Michelle Sullivan Communications

PAB 2007 – Day 2

It’s a testament to how interesting the first day of the PAB 2007 conference was that I didn’t get a chance to blog about it until this morning.

Yesterday, Tod Maffin regaled us with great radio clips meant to illustrate different storytelling tips. Some great stuff in there. The PAB2007 organisers treated us to a boat cruise, then took us to The Merchant Taps pub for some good times and music. Tod had me play this great little game : Zerts. Heard of it? Pretty cool.

I’m here at PAB2007 for my ‘culture générale’, as they say, but now also with another mandate : to see how feasible it would be to launch a podcast in the fall for Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame. To his credit, my client is open to the idea. This weekend will help me make a final decision about whether or not I want to go forward. I have a feeling I will.

Today’s first speaker : Arthur Masters (OttawaLocal.com) speaking on ‘Context is King’. He’s talking about futurists. He’s proposing that we’ve now moved from radio’s Content is King maxim to Context is King. In a 1993 edition of Wired Magazine, Alvin Toffler predicted specialization : podcasting seems to be the manifestation of this vision, with the huge variety of podcasts and niche subjects they encompass. Today’s podcasters are in a socialist or communist movement, according to Masters, acting not out of profit but of passion, with the democratisation of the tools and the means of production. This is a Marxist 21st Century’s electronic factory. Masters also broaches the topic of online communities taking the power away from hit makers : referrals now come from many sources now that the tools of production are accessible to everyone.

As I listen to Masters, I can’t help imagining him as a 19th century revivalist preacher, espousing hope and a new way of finding salvation through podcasting. During the Q&A session, Julien Smith nostalgically talks about Masters’ idealism, reflects on what podcasting used to be about and yearns for a return to podcasting’s sources. I guess I missed something by jumping on the bandwagon at this stage. But hey. We can’t all be pioneers. It’s certainly nice to be able to absorb the wisdom, now.

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