Monthly Archives: October 2012

Evan Voices

SoundCloud Voices is a weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud. It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything! Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.

This week we’re handing over the blogging keys to our friend John Moe, the host and head writer of American Public Media’s new radio show: Wits.

The show, as described by its creators, is “a live public radio show that brings world-class comedians, actors and musicians to the stage”. It’s funny, entertaining, and somehow mixes old school radio-show sensibilities into a thoroughly fresh sounding show. They just released their third podcast which you can listen to here. We asked John to give us some insight into the show’s recipe for success.

 

A NOTE ABOUT HOW WE BOOK GUESTS FOR WITS

So we do this show called Wits at the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul, Minnesota. It’s a variety show, pretty much. I grew up watching stuff like Sonny & Cher and Donny & Marie. I always wanted to host a show like that. Since those shows are rarely given to young children, I had to wait until well into adulthood. And now hooray! I’m old enough. Wits takes that idea of a comedy and music program, the idea I never let go of, and infuses it with a contemporary sensibility and some of the most interesting guests around.

A whole lot of work goes into it, lots of people are involved, but at the heart of it is a pretty simple notion: let’s get some really funny, smart, pleasant people together and we’ll hang out with them, tell jokes, have chats, and sing songs. Because that sounds like a really enjoyable way to spend one’s time.

Now, the whole idea of only booking people who are funny AND smart AND pleasant does make for some extra work for us. To be sure, there are plenty of talented people out there who are smart but not funny, or they’re funny and smart but are difficult to be around. Hitting the trifecta for every single show narrows the field considerably.

But beyond making the production of the show a smoother operation and giving us a chance to make friends (and we love making friends), those three qualities are crucial given what we make our guests do. Our comedy guests get drafted into doing the occasional musical bits and our musical guests find themselves acting in comedy sketches.

 And both guests participate in our Wits Game Show segment where musical and comedic improv skills are summoned to make theme songs for made-up movies or commercial pitches for non-existent products like Diet Socks.

Some highlights from past shows:

Over on the studio version of Wits, presented in some of our Wits podcasts, the guests aren’t required to perform quite the same degree of high wire act although we hold fast to our standard of guests who are funny, smart, and pleasant. Dull dummy jerks need not apply. With all due respect to the contemporary media landscape, dull dummy jerks get plenty of opportunities to display themselves on any number of other outlets. Maybe we’re kind of a refuge from that.

John Moe, the host of Wits, has a long and varied career in public radio as well as comedy. Moe served as host of Marketplace Tech Report and Weekend America, both national programs heard on public radio stations. John has been a lead singer in rock bands, a writer of video games, an editor at Amazon.com, and he once got fired for washing dishes the wrong way. You can follow John on twitter @JohnMoe, and Wits as well @wits.

 

Jane Follow the Fellows: Detroit Mobile Audio Tour Update and Inspirations

This is a guest blog post by 2012 SoundCloud  Fellow Detroit Mobile Audio Tour who wants to share a little more info about the launch of her tour and other inspirational audio tour guides worth checking out!

Starting on October 26th, the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour will enable participants to go to a handful of interesting places in Detroit and use their phones to listen to the story behind those places. You could call it a place-based audio project or an exercise in location-based storytelling – but no matter what you call it, the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour is not the first project of this kind. We owe credit, at least in part, to the museum audio tour, and those that have taken that model to the next level.

List of sites so far:

The projects featured here all have found ways to help listeners engage with audio stories that are linked to a physical spot. A lot of times these projects take users out into the real world – in a neighborhood, on a corner, at a historic site. Participants can use iPods, cell phones or smart phones to hear stories about where they are. These projects often help participants create audio content that is then tied to a particular place.  For example, participants may be able to leave place-related voicemail messages, which will then be tagged to a spot on a map.

As the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour project has shifted from an idea to a work-in-progress, we’ve been studying the place-based storytelling projects that have come before us. We encourage you to take a look at them and think about how they work. Maybe they will inspire you to create your own project.

Audissey Guides
“The evolution of paper guidebooks.” Using mp3 audio files which you can download from the internet to your iPod or phone, Audissey Guides leads you through city walking tours and to places off the beaten path for free. Be sure to check out How to Make an Audio Tour: Ten Tips from Audissey Guide Pioneer Rob Pyles.

Hackney Hear
Hackney Hear is a free app that triggers GPS-tagged audio. As a user walks around the London borough of Hackney, they hear stories from local residents, musicians and writers.

The Place + Memory Project
This project uses people’s memories and stories to recreate places that no longer exist. One more thing, the project’s creators, members of an organization called Big Shed, created a spin off project called, I kid you not, the “Poop + Memory Project.”  Intrigued?  You should be.  The crowd-sourced project has stopped taking submissions but you can listen to the content they acquired by going here.

The Sammamish River Story Line

In this project, the public was invited to go to a river trail in the Seattle area, find spots on a map, and use their cell phones to listen to stories about people who live and work near those spots on the trail. Participants were also invited to share their own stories by leaving a voicemail message which will eventually end up online. On the trail itself, stories were marked by lawn signs, stuck in the ground. What we love about this project is that it seems fairly replicable.

Talk to the Station
Talk to the Station gives participants a chance to share what they would like to see happen to what is arguably Detroit’s most notorious abandoned building, Michigan Central Station, also one of the locations that will be featured on the Detroit Mobile Audio Tour.

To see our complete list of projects that inspire us follow this link.  There you can check out more projects and let us know what we missed!

Jane Follow the Fellows: Pop Up Archive Mashup Contest 2012: bring archival audio to life

This is a guest blog post by 2012 SoundCloud Community Fellows Pop Up Archive. They’re hosting a mashup contest so use your noggin and creativity to come up with something neat!

Photo by ogimogi

Introducing the Pop Up Archive Mashup Contest 2012: bring archival audio to life for your chance at a free SoundCloud Pro account!

Take a stab at showcasing the hidden value of archival audio for the first ever Pop Up Archive Mashup Contest! We’re soliciting mashups of up to three minutes in length, centered on three themes (up to one submission per person, per category): Ambiance, Election Season, and/or Voices.

You can find the sets at http://soundcloud.com/popuparchive/sets — take a listen and follow the rules below to contribute your mashup. If we pick you as a winner, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a free SoundCloud account! And thanks to SoundCloud Community Fellows GuidebooksWorking NowDetroit Audio TourLife Advice RadioDecodeDCRandomTape and The Truth for sharing your audio!

How it works:

  • Listen through and pick some audio from the three sets we’ve curated for you, centered around three themes: Ambiance, Election Season, and Voices.
  • Download any tracks you want to remix and get to work! At least 50% of audio materials must come from the clips in the Pop Up Archive mashup sets.
  • You can mix and match tracks between the sets, as long as the finished mashup is under three minutes in length and fits one of our three mashup themes.
  • We repeat: the time limit for submissions is three minutes. That’s 180 seconds.
  • Upload your track to SoundCloud and submit your entry by adding it to the Pop Up Archive Mashup Contest Group: http://soundcloud.com/groups/pop-up-archive-mashup-contest-2012.
  • For extra points, once you’ve mixed your audio, illustrate it using the interactive storytelling tool Zeega, or Mozilla’s PopcornMaker. You can request the beta version of Zeega here: http://alpha.zeega.org/register/ and get direct access to PopcornMaker here:http://popcorn.webmaker.org. They play nice with SoundCloud audio! Just click the “Share” button under your SoundCloud track and use the “Link” provided as your media source for either editor. Then add timestamped maps, images, video, or just about anything else you’d like (PopcornMaker works best with Firefox, surprise surprise).
  • If you created an interactive piece using Zeega or PopcornMaker, submit it to us directly: popuparchive at gmail dot com. Feel free to link to it in the description of your audio track on SoundCloud, as well.
  • Proper Creative Commons licensing is required. Attribute yourself by name and indicate which non-commercial Creative Commons license you have chosen for your mashup.
  • Your submission must also include attribution (with hyperlinks) for the material you have remixed from the Pop Up Archive mashup sets. You should do this in the description field when you upload your track to SoundCloud.
  • All material from outside the Pop Up Archive mashup sets must be original, or used under a CC license.

Click here for full rules, terms, and conditions.

PS. Did you miss Pop Up Archive’s free online archival training on October 9? Lucky for you and your disorganized media, we’re doing it again. Join us on Tuesday, October 23 at either 10am or 2pm PT — details and registration here.