Archive | March, 2004

Support Community Media, Pledge to Community Radio WEFT to Support mediageek

I don’t do this blog or my radioshow to make money, and I don’t mind footing the minor costs of keeping it all running. As a result you don’t see this page littered with AdWords, banner ads or Amazon associate plugs.

That’s why I’m asking you to take seriously my request that you support community radio, especially WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign, IL, where the mediageek radioshow originates.

WEFT is having its Spring Pledge Drive right now, and the station survives mostly on listener pledges. If you ever listen to the mediageek radioshow on WEFT or here, on-line, please give WEFT a call and pledge $40 or more to keep it going.

Call 217-359-9338.

You can call right now (there’s someone to take calls 24 hours a day), or you can call while the mediageek radioshow is on the air, this Friday 5:30 – 6:00 PM CST.

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Zine Libraries!

Denver’s alternative weekly, Westword, has a short article on an independent zine library there, the Denver Zine Library. The article is refreshingly non-patronizing, avoiding the common stereotypical approach of reporting on zines as either “aren’t they crazy and cute,” or “they’re the next big thing!”

Some ten years after ‘zines hit the mainstream as the next big thing — coincident with the Seattle grunge and punk breakout and the surfacing of DIY culture — it’s good to see that efforts to catalog and preserve ‘zines are growing, rather than wilting.

I wish I’d known about the Denver Zine Library before I my trip out there last month — I’d definitely have stopped in. has A a good listing of zine libraries, as does the Zine World website.

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New Hi-Def Sony Camcorder in the Works & The State of Camcorders for the Indy Videomaker

The major electronics companies that make camcorders have finally agreed upon a standard to put high-definition video on DV cassette. This is important because it means intercompatibility between cameras and decks, and provides some guarantees that we’ll be able to edit hi-def video using a variety of standard editing platforms, like Premiere and Final Cut Pro.

Sony just announced that they’ll show a “concept” version of a prosumer hi-def camcorder at the German consumer electronics show, CEBIT.

Although standard-definition NTSC video is going to be with us a while — I guess at least 10 years or more — it’s nice to see the ability to do higher-def video trickling down so quickly. It’s less important for buddying Indymedia reporters, but does hold potential for independent filmmakers looking for something with better quality than typical DV but much cheaper than film.

If hi-def on DV takes hold we’ll probably see it integrated with the higher-end prosumer camcorders. But that will also put downward price pressure on the high-end consumer and entry-level prosumer camcorders that offer higher-quality features like three-chip pickups and true manual focus.

The downward price pressure is always a boon for the independent media maker. Even today’s cheaper entry-level DV camcorders, which are stripped of many features, can produce very nice video if you spend some time learning how to use them well. And, already, it’s possible to buy some lightly used or refurbished cams from Panasonic or JVC for just under $200.

Just a few weeks ago, at work I ordered three nice new Canon Elura 50 camcorders for just $500 a piece. Five years ago we bought very similar cams with similar features for three times that much.

Now, for your $500 you get a small cam that’s well suited to street reporting, especially during protests and demonstrations, that also has important features like external mic jacks and some degree of manual control.

If there’s one good think about modern post-industrial capitalism — they will gladly sell you the tools for you to use against them…. all at bargain-basement prices, too.

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No Injunction to Stop RFB Yet

Word has it that today the judge hearing the FCC’s case against Radio Free Brattleboro did not grant the Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to shut the station down. The judge apparently has asked for further briefs from both sides, especially regarding RFB’s claim that they have no legal recourse to broadcast because the FCC has not yet offered 10-watt low-power licenses. RFB and the FCC have 45 days to file their briefs.

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Radio Free Brattleboro Goes To Court Monday

The Brattleboro Reformer has covered the travails of RFB with remarkable fairness and depth, especially for a small-town newspaper. It must be at least party due to the success of RFB in making itself valuable to the community of Brattleboro. On Friday the paper had a nice overview of the situation and the station’s legal […]

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