WBGO Blog
  • "NPR Community" Announcement: Dewey Wins!

    September 29, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Big news this weekend from the mothership. National Public Radio gets in the social media game with their launch of the NPR Community, a public media framework that ties all digital content posted on the NPR website - both from insiders and member station producers (Disclosure: I am the latter) - to the good people who actually consume it on their computers, mobile devices, and other emerging gadgets.

    I'll be joining the community of NPR/member station employees, listeners, and visitors to the NPR Music Site for the online cabal. According to Dick Meyer, Editorial Director at NPR Digital Media, "Many big news operations have had open comments and other "social media" functions for quite awhile. Some of you are grizzled veterans of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and online news commenting; for some this will be new."

    He added, "NPR has been cautious because we want to do it right; we want the comments and the conversations to be useful, friendly and civil; we want NPR employees to participate and talk about their work. We needed the right tools and the right philosophy to come together. Now it has." Read the full announcement.

    It's another victory lap for John Dewey's assertions on the role of journalism in a democratic society and another perp walk for Walter Lippman's treatise. Or an uneasy alliance of the two competing philosophies. To me, it's Dewey's "Great Society" turned "Great Community" for public radio's content makers and users. Supported by taxpayers like you. Cool. Meyer adds, "We are not launching the project to get more "hits" that will make more money. We are doing it because it is the respectful thing to do for the NPR community."

    True, but the service will bring more traffic to NPR's website, and consequently, more underwriting sponsorship. Station managers grappling with overtaxed work forces, limited resources, and budget shortfalls of their own will view this with the requisite admiration, envy, and possibly some concern. Will the largesse, an unintended consequence or otherwise, trickle down to stations? And while everyone in public radio has their eye on growing the audience, NPR Digital and other capitalized public media institutions (including a handful of stations) are making the concept of an audience disappear. It's being replaced with citizens and collaborators and users in a participatory online environment. People who naturally consume information, love to share it, comment on it, and engage with it. Not to mention the occasional conservative hecklers and critics of public media. It's an interesting experiment, and finding a solution to the fiscal equation is like finding the next prime number. But organizations like NPR are risking revenue for innovation. Stay tuned.

    Meanwhile, I'll be hanging out in my bleacher seat on the NPR Community, connecting to the music lover who visits some of the content I contribute (including the WBGO/NPR Music Concert Series, Live at the Village Vanguard). I'm joining because it's my bit part in the whole liberal (and I use that word in its true definition) utopian process. After all, what's a great society or great community without some great music?
    -Josh

  • Live at the Village Vanguard - Adam Rogers Quintet

    April 9, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Village Vanguard Sign

    The Village Vanguard is is one of my favorite places in New York. With that simple statement, it gives me great pleasure to introduce WBGO's newest adventure. We're starting a monthly concert series from the legendary jazz club. Our eventual plan is to air the shows live on WBGO, and stream them simultaneously on NPR's Music site. Last night, we took the first of many baby steps.

    Guitarist Adam Rogers

    Guitarist Adam Rogers made his debut as a leader at the Vanguard, and we recorded our initial show for this series. An evening of "firsts," so to speak.

    Here's the basic information:
    Adam Rogers, guitar
    Mark Turner, tenor
    Edward Simon, piano
    Scott Colley, bass
    Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums

    Set List:
    Long Ago and Far Away
    Absalom
    Sight
    Phyrigia
    Confluence

    Recorded 4/8/08

    Listen to the concert now.
    Check out some photos I took during the soundcheck.

    We also recorded the second set. Someday you'll get to hear that, too! Stay tuned to the blog for more information about WBGO's new series, Live at the Village Vanguard.
    -Josh

  • Studio Session - Marcus Strickland's Twi-Life Band

    January 17, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Marcus Strickland by Jimmy KatzWe had a really killer performance and chat session with saxophonist Marcus Strickland and the Twi-Life Band. You can find the whole session, or individual songs, on the NPR Music site. Click here.
    Make it a point to check out what some of the baddest young talent in jazz are doing. Not just online, but in the clubs. We have a ton of these sessions on the shelf, so expect more in the coming months. Guitarist Mike Moreno is next.
    -Josh Jackson