Sunday, May 9, 2010

Radio Wars, Episode II: Radio Narcissus

Just the other day I weighed in on Facebook link to a blog thread about new media.  The blog, Darryl Williams' Full Cirkle Media Group, features various news and issues about radio as it promotes Williams' media consulting services.  What piqued my interest was Williams' comments on streaming, podcasts, and Internet radio.

Apparently, Williams sees himself as some sort of patron saint-gatekeeper for reconciling traditional radio with today's technologies.  A Stanley Crouch for radio, as it were.  In his essay New Media , Williams distinguishes between Internet radio and podcasting as streaming versus prerecorded content, insinuating podcasts shouldn't be recognized as Internet radio programs because they aren't 'live'.

I responded on the Facebook thread with a more complete presentation of streaming and podcasting, explaining them as separate, but complimentary technologies: podcasts are digital media files which may be downloaded onto media players and other devices but are ultimately streamed when played back.  I went on to note podcasts can be 'live' or prerecorded, and cited BlogTalkRadio as an example whereby a general consensus of both media and IT industry pros, and laypersons consider audio-only podcasts Internet radio. 

April Sims -- provider of the link on Facebook and proprietor of -- then Williams replied to my post with crypto-insults of varying acerbity.  Sims asked if my intention was to "flex" my knowledge (suggesting me as intellectual bully) or solicit Williams' services; Williams attacked my credibility on the account of not having foresight about Internet radio's future.... before backpeddling away from his own definitions as those of, "... all major recording platforms regarding digital media".  At least Sims had the presence of mind to stumble and trip through a half-apology after reading my motivation for adding in my two cents.  (Which leads me to ask -- with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek -- why is it so many bloggers to sites like Facebook reflexively attack dissenting opinions that, hypothetically, they're eliciting with their commentaries?)

I suppose Williams also experienced a subsequent moment of clarity, for he invited me to link up with him on Facebook.  Accepting his invitation, I took the opportunity to expound on my earlier point and get to the root of his objection to podcasts as Internet radio.  Williams dismissed the technical explanations as sophistry, alternately posing himself and the aforementioned secret cabal of media people as reliable sources.  He didn't want to get into a battle of wits or "so-called expertise" over semantics, to let him tell it, as if his semantics and so-called expertise was sufficient authority to ignore the evidence.  It was at this point when I thought qualifying my credentials as a fellow professional in media and information technology would calm the rising current of umbrage I sensed coming from Williams.  I had peed in his cornflakes you see, by deconstructing his psuedo-technical rhetoric, and nothing short of me sacrificing myself on the Altar of Political Correctness would exonerate me as a radio/new media heretic. 

I ended my exchange with Williams by asking the practical value in defining Internet radio so narrowly.  He sent a message, again demurring from a war of words with a (suggested) radio/new media dilettante and would-be agent provocateur while resurrecting an opaque defense on behalf of the radio industry.  And then, in the passive-aggressive tradition of intellectual frauds/roadside montebanks like Professor Marvel, he 'defriended' me while providing his phone number to talk further.

If I hadn't yet become fully skeptical about engaging Williams as a peer, imagine my attitude upon discovering my defriending his post-mortem: "Why some people feel the need to appear to have the corner on technology and understanding is beyond me".  To which I say, pot, meet kettle.  Good luck protecting the future of radio from innovation.