Tune In, Stream Out

So, as some of you might have noticed, I didn’t make it down to NYC last week for the Soundcheck segment after all — life intervening as it can with two young kids (not in any serious way, tho) — but I did listen to it live thanks to the Public Radio Tuner iPhone app.

The app is a creation of PRX (Public Radio Exchange), a Cambridge-based nonprofit where — O disclosure! — my dear Rebecca just started working. Btw, a BIG congrats to Bec, who’s graduating tomorrow with a PhD in computer science; & even BIGGER kudos for finally ending her 15-year stint at Harvard! (I should note that said stint includes an undergrad & law degree.) Her dissertation title, for the curious: “Synchronous and Multicomponent Tree-Adjoining Grammars: Complexity, Algorithms and Linguistic Applications.” Having spent far more of her grad-school career, ironically, doing thought puzzles using Greek symbols than actually coding (which is how she got into CS in the 1st place), Rebecca’s quite happy to finally find herself doing some real programming.

Before Becca joined PRX, however, I was already a big fan. And though I’ve been enjoying the Tuner app to stream everything from local NPR affiliate, WBUR, to the one and only WFMU, to community-flavored WORT when I want some ol’ Madison vibes, my affection for the org extends beyond their recent and maybe best known release.

As someone who cares deeply about facilitating the independent production and distribution (and conversation around / reframing) of audio works of all kinds — i.e., making and sharing (digital) stuff in a peer-to-peer world — PRX is right up my alley. They’re basically a well-designed, well-meaning clearinghouse for independently produced programs intended to air on public radio. Or as they put it

Public Radio Exchange is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. PRX is also a growing social network and community of listeners, producers, and stations collaborating to reshape public radio. The mission of PRX is to create more opportunities for diverse programming of exceptional quality, interest, and importance to reach more listeners.

This neat lil video explains it well:

Or to put it yet another way, a la eon, let the radio message follow

which, as it happens, is this

Nesson’s final for his winter-term “Evidence” class consisted of two digital audio files, and a single question: “Of what is this evidence?” The first of the two recordings is particularly bizarre—an eery mash-up; distorted snatches of speech echoing over hollow instrumentals below. Of what is this evidence?