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Grey Matter


Will the internet kill the talk radio star ?

I noticed the 9/11 anniversary happens to be the same day this edition of Grey Matters will be posted and so I thought I should write about 9/11 instead. However, after a couple days of thinking about it and trying to write something I have realized that already said everything I have to say about 9/11. I have learned nothing new about it over the year and so I will I stick with the original article I wrote rather than forcing myself to try to write about 9/11.

This is something that first occurred to me last week and I wrote very briefly about it at my Beyond the Dial blog.

For months I have been blaming my dislike of c2c on various things, like Noory, his stupid questions and/or his guests, but really it may be something entirely different. Noory and the show may not have changed in the least.

Years ago when I first started listening to the Art Bell Show, way back when it started, it was the only such show available in my area. I do realize there are other esoteric shows that have been around longer, but they were not available to me. I was pretty much happy with Art, no matter who his guests were. I had no choice, that was the only place to get my esoteric radio fix.

Moving ahead to about 3 years ago, we finally got cable internet in my area. I had been a streamlink member for quite a while, but I rarely downloaded a show before the cable internet because it took hours, it had to be a show that I felt I had to hear. It was so amazing to be able to download shows quickly! I could suddenly download and listen to whatever I wanted. This started out slow for me, first just c2c and Dreamland and then BOA audio. It took me quite a long while to realize how many esoteric related shows there really are. It also took a bit of courage and boredom to try new ones. However, with each new one that I tried I would think to myself that it was just as good, lots of times better than c2c. Yet, I never actually made the connection that these other shows might be almost totally responsible for c2c suddenly seeming almost unbearable at times.

I don't want to be too hard on c2c or George Noory. They have to fill seven guest spots per week. Most all the internet shows only have to fill one per week and some have no real schedule and don't even have one guest per week. Still, the fact is that with all the internet shows out there I can easily fill up a week of my free time with good guests by listening to a different show every night.

There is also something to be said for variety in hosts. You have Tim Binnall, who isn't afraid to speak up when he feels a guest is going off the deep end, but other than that is content to let them talk on about whatever they wish. I really like that approach. There is nothing I hate more than a host interrupting an answer that I am enjoying (however far off track it may have gone) by asking a different question. I often notice that Tim gets more out of his guests than most hosts do by simply letting them have the time they want. After all, if time runs out before he finishes his questions, he can always have them back on. This is very sadly something Noory doesn't seem to realize. He has 7 shows a week to fill, if he doesn't get to all his questions he can always have someone back on in a month or two.

Then there is the Paracast, which is totally different than BOA. Gene Steinberg and David Biedny seem to enjoy a bit more controversial show. They actually seem to have ongoing feuds (or spats may be a better word) with a few of their guests. So that makes it entertaining in a totally different way, waiting to see what controversy may arise. The Paracast seems to be the show that inspires debate and controversy. Were Gene and David too hard on so and so, were they too skeptical about such and such? Or is so and so a complete idiot and such and such a complete fraud? Yes, entertaining whether I agree with Gene and David and their line of questioning on any given week, or not. Although I have to admit that I try to avoid the more controversial shows and I find myself personally offended when a guest puts down certain people that I happen to be friends with. I guess it doesn't matter what medium it is, print, tv or radio, there are always those who have to whine about everyone else because apparently that is the only way they can get the attention they crave.

There are so many other great shows that are far lesser known that I would like to mention, but that will be upcoming in my column Beyond the Dial, in UFO Magazine.

Anyway, back to the point. In the past I have often commented on how Noory and c2c aren't the only game in town, but it is only recently that it has fully sunk in. Yes, as I sat there looking at the links to esoteric radio shows that I have listed on BTD blog, it was almost unbelievable. Just a few years ago I had c2c and c2c only for my esoteric radio fix, but now I have a large variety of shows to listen to. There are a few that could tighten up their sound quality, but other than that they are mostly all as good or better than c2c on any given night. Admittedly there are a few really awesome nights on c2c that would be hard to surpass, but I am talking a regular night. IMO, anything would be better than open lines with Noory, so I already have Friday night open for another show, without even checking the guests for the rest of the week.

As I said at my blog, this may end up being a revolution that ends radio as we know it. We have choices! It is already clear that many people get their news from the internet, rather than TV or newpapers. That trend is likely to grow and I doubt that radio will be far behind. I also think when WiFi radio becomes a bit cheaper more people will buy it and realize how awesome it is! I also think WiFi radio will continue to improve and some day I will be able to pick up any internet show that I want, anywhere in my house, with a touch of a button. I know I can download and listen on my Ipod now, but with WiFi I don't have to download, I just tune in. If I don't like a show I can just change the channel. You may have gathered that I am a big WiFi radio fan and you are right. I think it is the greatest radio invention since the actual radio. To hell with satellite radio!

I suppose there will still always be those who listen to regular radio. Prisoners and other people without internet and Ipods will be stuck with it. The market share will continue to shrink though and that is a good thing because whatever is on regular radio will have to improve or get out. Competition to the radio market is nothing but good. It will make for better shows on the radio and on the internet.

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