I started in radio – as a transcriber to Joe Frank, who would in today’s world be known as the father of fictional podcasters – and simultaneously working on electronic music shows. The two were connected because Joe loved looping instrumentals and would listen to our show of mostly soulful European house and downtempo music. Joe liked to edit his radio show at night and if he particularly liked a song he would walk into master control where we were broadcasting from and ask, “what is this?”
While I was Joe’s transcriber as a part time job in college, I really aspired to be the Joan Didion of electronic music. But none of my friends read and they were the ones I wanted to tell stories to. So I started playing around in the studio next door late at night when we were on the air making loops out of my dad’s old jazz and film score records, sometimes for Joe, sometimes for my producer friends. Soon I got bored with just making loops and I started talking over them, telling stories, recording the stream of consciousness over used dat tapes that were waiting to be thrown away.
There was no real format for what I was doing. Joe was his own genre. There were news programs and culture shows but they all felt very old media. I didn’t really aspire to be a DJ because all my friends were truly talented. I just wanted to tell short stories with music. I didn’t like how so much narrative just got longer and longer – and longer. At some point in the late 90s I got bored with this private confession and stopped.
I’ve been watching the burgeoning rise of podcasting with pleasure at a distance. I hardly listen to podcasts, I prefer discovering music and reading text. I also prefer writing super short stories, a maximum of four sentences.
My interior monologue is often enough to process in any given day and what can I say – life is stressful, I just don’t have the time or energy to add another piece of long form recurring media to my rituals. But it’s not that I’m disinterested in high quality podcasts, it’s just the default long durational format of them I don’t find pleasing in a short form age. I want sounds of the day and just tiny little blips of personalized content that I can easily pick up or put down. I want 1 joke, not a comedy show. I want local weather, or the weather where I’ll be, not the disaster forecast for the world every single day. I want a word in a new language, a detail of something relevant in history that is topical at the moment. I just desire little things.
At the end of last year when I was finishing the first year of 1 Album A Day, I thought – what if my 2nd year was just making this micro-content. But I so enjoyed the ritual of music listening I’m now almost done with year 2. But it’s not that I haven’t thought about the future joy of microcasting. It’s logical that it’s coming. I want to be a part of it.
And as I sit at an airport at dawn waiting to board a flight to a conference I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see this headline: