Thursday, February 12, 2009

Revisiting NATPE–Ben Silverman on Change Part 1

To me, the title of this posting seems almost ironic. Last semester…which really was only about 4 short months ago…we were discussing NBC’s Ben Silverman in my Electronic Media Programming class. But, the discussion at that time focused on the irreverent way he was doing his job as head of programming for the peacock network. And, the lack of hits he had been able to score during his first year. We listened to this podcast from KCRW’s The Business where the prediction seemed to be that Silverman’s job wouldn’t last the calendar year of 2008.
But, at NATPE 2009 Silverman was being honored with a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award.
Ben Silverman–Posterboy for Change.
And he has brought about a ton of change at NBC. Green lighting shows to production without seeing a pilot, having major sponsors buy into financing a production based only on the weight of the actor associated with a show (i.e., Ford on the now-canceled Christian Slater show...)

This post continues on my new blog site. Visit it here and set your bookmarks.
The Audioprof Blog

Monday, January 26, 2009

Favorite of ALL TIME!?!–not that there’s anything wrong with that

In my last blog posting I shared some of the results from a questionnaire that I gave approximately 100 students in the two undergraduate courses I’m teaching this semester. I usually like to start off a semester with such a data-collecting tool because every year I get further and further away from the demographic and psychographics of my students that I need to ask them what they heck they like and how they spend their time. One of the things I always ask are their favorite TV shows right now. [Find out the top 3 by reading the last post].

I also ask them what their favorite TV show is of all time. This is the first time that I every really tallied the results in any systematic way but I can’t say I’m surprised by the winner.

Read the rest of the entry at MY NEW BLOG LOCATION

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What the Kids are Watching

Every semester one of the ways I begin my undergraduate courses is by giving them a little questionnaire asking a variety of things…why you took the course, what you want to do in five years…in ten.

And, since I know that the older I get the the less likely I am to watch the same type of television that my students do, I always ask them about their favorite TV shows. I always ask:

  1. What is your favorite TV show right now?
  2. What is your favorite TV show of all time?

Usually, this is just something that I flip through after I get them…this time I actually did a quick (and by no means extremely precise) tally. And so, without further ado…here are the most reported favorite shows right now:


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some steps to college success

I have grumbled lately about how much time Wordpress was taking to learn. That brough out a number of kind souls from my immediate community who offered to help. Special thanks to Mark W. Bell who came to my rescue and gave me some good design help andwas willing to spend a couple hours just talking with me about The Audio Prof Blog and what my goals were. I'm hoping to find more time...from this point write some things that cross my mind about media--what's happening in the industry and what's happening in your brain as you pay attention to it. Of course, some of my posts will inevitably be about teaching since that's what I spend much of my time doing here at IU. And, this semester particularly since I'm teaching 3 courses rather than the typical 2:
Electronic Media AdvertisingElectronic Media Sales, andCognitive Approaches to Media
The first two listed are undergraduate courses. The Sales course held its first meeting yesterday (at 8am, ugh). And that got me to think about what advice I would give to any undergrad student about how to get the most out of the university experience...or at least the experiences in my classes. Here we go:

To Read More...go to my new blog site: The Audio Prof Blog

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ugly? Maybe.
Common? Yes.
Functional? DEFINITELY!

A few days ago I blogged about considering switching from Blogger to WordPress to publish my blog. It was prompted by some blog envy of my friend Sam Bradley, author of Communication and Cognition. Sam has really tutored himself on the craft of finding, creating, and keeping an audience in the online community. Sam switched to WordPress. Lots of the "serious bloggers" that I know use WordPress. I'm serious, right?

I was encouraged when I received more comments from that blog post teasing about a switch to WordPress than I have in a long time. Now, we're not talking tons of comments here...but lately any comment as proof that people are visiting this page is better than none. Most of the comments pushed me in the direction of using WordPress. "It tells the world you're serious about blogging," one person said. "Blogger is so boring and predictable in its design elements," another chimed in.

So, I tried WordPress. I installed WP 2.7 on my host and started reading the program's online documentation. Trouble was...that documentation seemed to apply to an earlier version of the the Dashboard I was staring at was quite different than what they described. No problem...I'm a fairly intelligent person so I figured that I could poke around until I figured it out.

I haven't been more frustrated with something in MONTHS.

I'm all for the open-source concept! I love the fact that people all over the world are trying to make the program better--more widgets, better graphically, etc.--and sharing their knowledge with dopes like me without any sort of profit motive. My understanding was that I just needed to find a template that I like and install it. No problem. First trouble...there are SO MANY to choose from! I spent several hours obsessively poking through beautiful templates of all types. Finally found one that I liked. It was this one:

WordPress Theme Notepad Second

How clean. How professional looking. My little picture could be there to the right, with a blurb about my research next to it...replacing the "Lorem ipsum dolor" stuff.
And Tag Clouds! I love Tag Clouds. That's the one, I thought. Downloaded it, transferred it to my host. Selected it and viola:

Rob's sloppy page.

Could I find how to upload my picture. No way! Could I figure out how to replace the "Lorem ipsum, et al.?" Must be in the About Me thing on the dashboard, right? I mean, it says "About" right there, doesn't it?

Nope. That resulted in another line appearing somewhere. (Honestly, I edited the statement in "about me" prior to publishing this blog...)

I wrestled with that darn page for an entire afternoon. No luck. Feeling clueless, I decided that it just wasn't the time for me to work on migrating to WordPress.

Cool heads prevailed the next morning, with a fresh set of eyes after a good night's sleep.
"Come on, you should be able to figure this out!" I gave myself a pep talk over a cup (or two) of coffee. "Maybe you just chose too complex of a template."

That's it, start slowly. Ease yourself into this open source stuff. Remember, open source, where the information about how to do it is all out the user!

So, I tried another template. Honestly, I think I've blocked out the actual name due to the trauma experienced after spending THREE HOURS just trying to figure out how to change the font color for the postings from orange (orange?!? I just don't get aesthetics I about a nice black color for my simple prose).

I did start learning stuff...thanks to the power of Google. [Google, who btw, provides me with the free...that free both monetarily AND host I've been using for 3 years]. I Googled and learned how to change the font size on the menu of my page. I learned what a "hover" was...and how to change that font size. Even learned where to change the font color on my menu. But, the fact that it was in hex didn't help me one all these people using WordPress know the hex color wheel by heart? Oh my gosh, I am outta touch.

But, after copying and pasting figures like #FFF062G (or whatever!) from one place to another, I did change the text of my menu text from one hue to another. You'd think that would at least help me approach the problem of changing the font color in my posting itself. I mean, this is a simple template. It doesn't even have a place for me to put a picture of myself for cripes sake!

Nope. Couldn't find it. After another 45 minutes...lots of grumbling...and having my family members leave the house...I finally gave up.

My blog is blue. It's blue because I clicked a button saying "make it blue."
It's two columns. That's all I can get. Too bad.
But, when I'm ready to's here for me.
Functionality. I'll take it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Change makes me antsy

So, yesterday I called your attention to the Communication & Cognition blog, now in its new form. Sam Bradley, the C&C blog author, and I have been emailing back and forth as I pick his brain about his recent transition to using WordPress to publish his blog rather than blogger.

I have known about WordPress for sometime now.
My first introduction to it was through friends of our family who publish blogschmog.
But I have been reluctant to switch to it because...well, I don't much like change. I like things to work. And even when it's not working exactly right...I have to get pretty darn displeased in order to make a switch. Now, when it comes to "designing" my own pages for my website and my teaching pages, I don't need much more than Dreamweaver--a program that I have been using and pleased with for about 7 years.

But when it comes to how the blog looks here on blogger...I'm getting tired of it and can't quite make it look better or lay it out better using this program.

So, now I'm thinking about switching too. But that means change.
I've got to download WordPress and see if it's as easy as folks say to learn.
Usually, flexible (which I can tell WordPress is) doesn't equal easy.
Plus, I will need to make changes to my web host, it can't support WordPress under my current plan.

But, compare the look of my blog to that of Communication & Cognition or Blogschmog, or any of those in the WP showcase page, and it's no contest.

But change makes my stomach churn.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Congratulations to two IU T'comm Alumni

Yes, Yes, Yes, it's been more than one month since my last posting.

I have no real excuse...other than perhaps trying to wrap up a busy semester and get all the loose ends tied up before going away on my first true vacation in almost 15 years.

And, you'll realize why I didn't blog from vacation when you see what else I had to stare at besides a computer screen:

This was the view from my lounge chair at Secrets Capri. My wife and I celebrated ny sucessful tenure decision and (more importantly) our 15th wedding anniversary with a vacation without kids. My mother-in-law came to watch ours...and Secrets is an adult resort which allowed for lots of relaxation.

But, now I'm back and trying to be recommitted to periodic postings on The Audioprof blog.

And, we'll start back at it with one of the primary reasons I started this blog: to brag on Indiana University's Dept. of Telecommunications...its students, faculty, and alumni.

Today, a rousing hooray to two alumni. First, IU PhD. Sam Bradley. If memory serves, Sam was initially inspired by The Audioprof blog three years ago and launched his Communication & Cognition blog. But recently, he has really taken it to the next level with incredibly relevant content and a brand new design. You should really check it out if you never have. And, if you were a regular visitor note the new address for the Communication & Cognition Blog.

And secondly, I am tremendously impressed by IU Telecom alum Brad Holtz. Brad is the Program Director of WTTS-FM. It is an Album Adult Alternative (AAA) station located in Bloomington but broadcasting into the Indianapolis market. I have know what a great PD Brad is from the two class visits he's made to my T344 course. I blogged about one of them here.

But, now he's been nationally recognized by a trade magazine, FMQB.
Holtz has been selected as this year's Program Director of the Year for the AAA format!
See the award announcement on this page at FMQB (scroll to the bottom).

Congrats to you both, thanks for doing IU-T'comm proud!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mommy, it's Saturday, can we watch an infomercial

Those of you who are like me can remember how much you liked Saturdays...what my kids now affectionately refer to as one of the "stay at home days."

One of the great things about Saturdays was flopping down in front of morning cartoons while eating Honey Comb cereal right outta the box.

Those days are over.
Financial woes are partly to blame, as are cable networks like Cartoon Network...but here's a story about Fox's decision to scrap Saturday morning cartoons for...infomercials.

Of course...this will grab headlines (like the title of my posting...only read by many more people). But, in reality, this may in fact result in better kids programming on Saturday mornings on Fox affiliates.

If you read the whole Variety article I link to above, you'll see that local affils are trying to find places to air their required E/I (educational/informational) programming. Saturday mornings used to be out because the network had that time all programmed nationally. Now, it seems the affils will be able to at least opt out of airing the informercials in favor of their own E/I fare.