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Month: July 2007

The Podcast Awards – The People’s Fraud

The third annual “Podcast Awards” are once again here, and what once a noble idea to recognize the hard work of podcasters has evolved into another way to generate revenue and self-promote the organizers and their endeavors. 

The site, opened up to accept nominations on July 1st is now greeting visitors with a page full of ads.  When the page loads it’s hard to see where your eyes should focus as the logos, navigation and content are broken up with banners, badges and Google Adsense advertising.  My friend Matt nailed it when he sarcastically said “nothing says ‘we really care about this award and what it stands for’ than trying to generate revenue from it.”

There isn’t a clear description of what the podcast awards are about, or why I would want to nominate a podcast I produce or listen to.  I found myself having to read over the content twice to find the “Click here to nominate” text.  I have to do a lot of digging around to begin to understand the process and how I should participate.  The category listings are laid out in a prominent manner, but are littered with redundant “Your Company Here!” linkages. 

The page just comes across as tacky and would be better served with just saying “Give Us Money” – oh wait, there is a PayPal donation button.  I understand that sponsors are needed to make these things happen, but solicitations need to be done discretely and respectfully.  I could see how an advertiser would be leery in associating themselves in a site that puts so little emphasis on podcast outreach to promote blatant advertising.

As for the categories themselves: it seems that the organizers learned no lessons about distinguishing the differences between a science and technology podcast.  Technology –  arguably podcasting’s biggest topic – doesn’t even merit it’s own category.  It gets lumped with “Science”, doing both podcast genres an injustice.  There are many great scientific podcasts out there that will go virtually ignored due to the need to nominate the big tech podcasts.  Likewise you will see a worthwhile technology contender left out because at least one scientific podcast should be represented.  At this point an “Entertainment” and “Movies / Films” grouping would make more sense.

It’s interesting to see that the “Best Podcast Directory” was left out of this year’s awards?  Was it because iTunes, last year’s recipient realized how these awards are perceived and had no interested in taking part?  Apple is many things, but one thing they are is PR-savvy.

One last thing, and this may be some picky criticism coming from the son of an English teacher, but a good proofreading seems to be in order.  The grammatical and punctuation errors cries out “unprofessional”.

I appreciate the intentions of the Podcast Awards, but unfortunately the poor execution does more harm than good.

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Fake hippies ruining it for all

I was lucky enough to make a trip over to Red Rocks – arguably the greatest concert venue on the planet – on Saturday night to see an amazing show put on by John Butler Trio and Michael Franti and Spearhead.  When I first heard about this show, I couldn’t get tickets fast enough.  These are two of my favorite bands and the opportunity to see them at together, at Red Rocks no less – that was too much of an opportunity to pass by.  (Not having Dave Matthews Band come to town this year also made it an easy decision as well).

The concert itself lived up to all of the hype.  Both bands put on amazing shows that gave off so much energy.  It was a really inspiring event.  Despite the amazing performances, I unfortunately can’t rank it in one of my top concerts, wholly due to the crowd.

It’s disappointing because the crowd at a concert can only hurt the show.  I’ve never been to a concert where I’ve said “Wow, that crowd was amazing, they really added to the show.”  But I can chalk this show into the “The bands were amazing, but the crowds made it a really crappy experience” column.  In large part, it’s due to the fake hippies.

The South Park episode “Die Hippie, Die” does a great job of capturing the problem with fake hippies.  They’re all about talking about hating on the system and going against the conformists, being one with nature, making peace (and down with war), and being great to one another.  But in reality they turn out to be all talk, and let the opportunity for action pass them by.  Just watch the concert sequence in that South Park episode to understand what I experienced Saturday night.

At the concert ETown (the host) started a campaign called “Green Rocks”, the attempt to make Red Rocks concerts more environmentally-friendly.  In between the sets, ETown people came out to present an award to a Yellowstone Park Ranger for his environmental contributions, and they also managed to get the Governor on stage to say a few words about the environment as well.  This noble cause was ignored by all of the hippies, who were more interested in talking to each other than offering any attention or any affirmation of the different efforts.

During John Butler Trio’s set, he played a song called “Ocean”, an instrumental song that he uses to invite everyone into a prayer and meditation. The hippies there ignored that as well, talking as loud as they would in between sets. 

Moreover, we were inundated with this crowd that thought that their 4 tickets somehow entitled them to fit 8 people into the reserved section, crowding everyone out.  Not only did they fill up the seats, but also sat on the ground in front of the seats, preventing people from passing by.  At one point when my mom and uncle went to the bathroom one of them decided to sit right in their seats (which were covered by a blanket, cooler and bag).  When I told her they were saved, then responded to her challenge of “we have seat #’s…”, she replied “You know what, I’m not going to move until they come.”  When I pointed to them coming across the aisles (trying to maneuver their blockade) she said she was going to make it a point to dance all night.  Wow, very considerate and peace-promoting.

Then comes the ever-present issue of the hippie lettuce.   I’m completely against the stuff, and I do believe that irritates my body in an allergic manner.  However, the hippies completely ignore everyone’s sensitivity, literally blowing smoke in my face.  I realize that they use their hippie mentality to justify their addictio-errr-habit, but come on – there are kids around and not everyone appreciates the smoke.  What you do in your home doesn’t bother me, but show some consideration in public.   What really bothers me at concerts is the security/staff’s complete ignorance of the issue.  They look the other way when people bring their illegal substances into the concert, but they make sure to confiscate our canned sodas and search for cameras.  Heaven forbid I bring in an dangerous aluminum can into the concert.  I’ve probably been to over 50 concerts and I realize that people think they’re entitled to Tree at the shows, but it bugs a lot more people than you think.

I realize there are people who are truly sincere in their hippie lifestyle and I definitely respect them for that.  However, all of those who radiate their aura of enlightenment, tolerance and compassion: I can see right through your crap.   The reality of it is that you just care about meeting you own needs with total disregard to others and use your false identify to justify your chronic lifestyle.  I have more respect for those who blatantly project rudeness – at least they’re being authentic.