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Technical Note

As you might have noticed, the "podcast" link isn't working. I had to make some taxonomy changes to support the full-blown launch of the LISNews Netcast Network. Unfortunately doing so broke that and I am not able to fix it. The matter has been flagged for Blake and should be okay when he has time available to fix it.

If you are already subscribed to the podcast feed, you're fine. Your podcatcher likely saw the name change and adjusted things appropriately. If you already subscribe to the e-mail service, you're still fine. The key concern, though, is that you'll be getting everything posted to the LISNews Netcast Network.

While we work things out and complete the finishing touches, this table may help with ways of subscribing at finer degrees of granularity:

Program

Feed Reader/Podcatcher Target

E-mail Subscription Option

Hyperlinked History
Presented by Great Western Dragon/The Faceless Historian

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast
Presented by Stephen Michael Kellat

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

Tech for Techies
Presented by Michael J. Kellat

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

All Network Programs

Link on Feedburner

E-mail service provided by Feedburner

Programming will post throughout the week instead of in a single flood on Monday morning Coordinated Universal Time.

Quick Word

This will head out over e-mail and RSS. In the midst of shifting things over to the LISNews Netcast Network model, some things are slightly messy. Some things are also beyond my ability or access permissions to fix. Please bear with us in this faster than planned transition.

What is the LISNews Netcast Network? See: http://erielookingproductions.info/archives/2009/02/10/index.html#e2009-02-10T15_53_31.txt

It should be noted that your podcatcher feed does not have to change. The good thing about this transition is that is the one thing not changing. iTunes will automatically change things without user intervention. People getting copies of posts via FeedBurner E-mail Subscriptions have nothing to worry about too.

More details to come along with more programming each week.

Financial thoughts

"God watches out for fools and little children," an old proverb states.

Times are interesting for LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast. The production engineer has been at risk since last Saturday of being unemployed. As of last Saturday he has been a "grey market" employee with no known direction as to his continued employment. Every day has been such that one of the first questions asked was: "Were your termination papers sent into processing today?"

Jobs results yesterday put Nevada at 9.1% unemployment which for the measurement period year-on-year is 3.9% higher. The national average is 7.2%. The only places worse off than Nevada in terms of unemployment are South Carolina, Michigan, Rhode Island, and California. See: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm

I've been working on the podcast full-time since the end of July 2008. We've had a variety of interesting guests. Landing guests is not a simple matter and takes time. A single day's turnaround is highly unusual. Taking up a whole week is more average. Spending a month pursuing an interview, such as the recent one with Felicia Day, happens from time to time. While it seems that only mediocrity is expected of the crew here, I try to exceed that expectation. My work has been subsidized at some cost to the production engineer, my father.

LISTen apparently serves an audience. LISTen's audience is hard to quantify for an agency like PodTrac or Blubrry so that we could start pursuing advertising revenue. If anything, average American librarian behavior prevents that.

Today on LISNews we saw that Reed Business Information has been consolidating operations fairly harshly. Layoffs are common in today's news. If anything, the crew here in Las Vegas has nowhere to go but up.

Here are our minimum operating budget needs:

Item Monthly Annually Notes
Production Staff Compensation $3,485.00 $41,820.00 Includes compensation for both presenter and
engineer
Broadband $75.00 $900.00 Monopoly provider locally
Other Telecommunications $40.00 $480.00 Cover cost of fallback systems
Outside Freelancer Compensation Pool $50.00 $600.00 Unused balance to carry-over month to month
Equipment Repair/Purchase/Evaluation Pool $75.00 $900.00 Unused balance to carry-over month to month
Shortwave Broadcast $75.00 $900.00 To be negotiated with WBCQ
Facilities Cost/Contingencies $1,200.00 $14,400.00 Contingency in case need arises to relocate
production operations
Sub-total $5,000.00 $60,000.00
Tax Burden $1,500.00 $18,000.00 Currently estimated at 30% due to uncertainty in
possible tax law changes
Total $6,500.00 $78,000.00

Now it may be best to explain further some of the line items. For the staff compensation line, you need to split that a minimum of two ways. If split evenly, that would result in USD$20,910 per year. That is hardly living high on the hog and would only be considered well-to-do in one place in the US: American Samoa. Such would only be a little over twice the average annual income there. If individuals who happened to not be family were engaged for engineering tasks, the overall staff compensation line would easiily balloon to a minimum of USD$80,000 per year with a more likely point of USD$100,000 with compensation being divided in an asymmetric fashion. This is the cheapest this line item would get, in case anybody was wondering.

There is no broadband competition really in the Las Vegas Valley so that cost is fixed. Other telecommunications refers to the backup cell we use when broadband malfunctions. There is a need to commission freelancers in other realms to report on stories that we lack the ability to cover and, unfortunately, people will not do such original reporting for free. Equipment repair refers to the reality that things do break and while we can undertake repairs, we do not have funds to pay for replacement parts now. Shortwave broadcast is for a small low-tech expansion of program coverage that we want to start. The facilities cost/contingencies line refers to the possible need to outright lease space so that we have greater ease in recording compared to our cramped, ad hoc facility that doubles as a dwelling space.

For us to qualify as a media entity, we cannot take money directly. If somebody wanted to contribute to costs so that we have a firm foundation and not have to worry about people's day jobs disappearing, send the money to Blake. Blake is effectively the fiscal agent for this. Consulting the details at http://lishost.org/order.php might be worthwhile, I presume, for reaching Blake. This would allow for an appropriate paperwork chain that would indicate that the funds went for media purposes with all the intervening W-9 and 1099-MISC forms required. Don't ask me why, I don't write tax laws or the definitions of "media organization" in statutes.

Not-for-profit entities always ask for money. I get letters from my religiously-affiliated undergraduate institution asking for money to keep going. A post like this is much like a Salvation Army bell-ringer or an American Red Cross funds appeal. To say a post like this is something different is intellectual dishonesty. We've tried to wage commerce instead of war by offering materials for sale that nobody has bought. We've tried to secure advertising but found that librarians are too flighty of a demographic for that to happen. We've sought sponsorship in the Las Vegas Valley and after five inquiries we've come up with nothing as they did not want to touch the demographic of librarians. All other avenues are exhausted and this is what we are left with relative to stabilizing the money side of production for the podcast.

Why the MLS matters

In the news today, education professor Bill Ayers was turned away at the Canadian border. Professor Ayers noted that such seemed to be a violation of his academic freedom. While never tried and convicted in the United States for any Weather Underground related events, Canadian law cares not. Canada's counterpart to our USA PATRIOT Act can be somewhat more draconian and goes places that would scare Americans. The notoriety picked up during the campaign as well as his lack of repentance likely led the Canada Border Services Agency to exclude him as an undesirable alien. While he would have let himself into Canada, Canada's standards are different from those in force in the United States.

In the United States, we often don't ascribe much meaning to the MLS. This has been a lovely topic over the past couple years. Once you exit the United States and cross a national border, the MLS means everything. In far too many English-speaking realms, the lack of the MLS cannot be compensated for by position let alone position title. Whether you head up a hospital library or make great pieces of software that means nothing in too many realms when it comes to border crossings if you attempt to cross as a librarian instead of as a library paraprofessional if you lack the MLS. Even though I am notionally in private practice, I am able to be recognized for border-crossing purposes as a librarian while those lacking the MLS cannot. No amount of action to make paraprofessionals feel more respected will change the rules of foreign governments in terms of professional recognition. The MLS is the sole recognized credential that says librarian.

Speech that was okay in the United States was deemed undesirable abroad. Such isn't a violation of the First Amendment because that only applies to the US government and not foreign administrations. Recognition of professional status in the United States does not export abroad easily as the MLS matter shows.

Globalization can be interesting. Who really thought Pax Americana was even possible? This shows that we're hardly there at all.

Thinking About Radio

Some thoughts were left at the Erie Looking Productions blog. Comments aren't possible there yet. I'm still working on integrating It was messy but I integrated Disqus with Nanoblogger so it is not like there is a switch that can be simply flipped on or off relative to allowing comments.

[Updated at 1626 PST on 3 January 2009]

Weather for the podcast team

My local weather conditions outside:

Snow?  In Las Vegas? 5

Clicking on the picture will whisk you away to Flickr to see the full-size version.

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas

Erf?

The weather was quite weird today. As I write, there are still fog issues. For the past two days we've had record rainfall.

(Click on the picture to be magically transported to Flickr for other picture sizes)

Sadly, no LISTen Halloween special

Due to illness, there will not be a Halloween special of LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast.

Works in progress for LISTen #44

For the sake of those who want something more than just plain text:

Random thoughts again

Between looking at the "biblioblogosphere" reaction as well as the comments on recent Annoyed Librarian's posts, I am confused. I don't get the virulence. I really don't. The rampant conservativism as well as fundamentalism is also breath-taking.

I understand that there seems to be veneration of Library Journal as an institution. I don't understand why there would be such a vehement reaction to this whole matter. What Library Journal did is hardly earth-shattering and has popped up elsewhere in far larger publications.

Librarians traditionally had at least a small amount of appreciation for what goes on in the content production side of things. This whole incident shows nothing in the same ballpark as that. The more I look at it, the more I get disturbed. Are librarians really masters of information in its many respects or are we merely warehouse managers?

It scares me that so many notables within librarianship would rail against this. As I said in the current podcast, if this is such an existential threat to the profession and its image there is the offer made to try to write your own counter-balance. What am I missing here? To a rational observer, librarians should be leaping for the opportunity. Yet as far as can be seen, nobody has stepped up to the plate. Is it that much easier to just whine about how bad the hiring of somebody like the Annoyed Librarian is rather than make a difference that could even help tenure cases potentially in terms of intellectual output?

Blogs are blogs. The Annoyed Librarian's presence is grouped with other opinion entities. I am not worried about the Annoyed Librarian harming the public's view of the profession. If anything the Annoyed Librarian has plenty of analogues in publications from the tech realm like Robert X. Cringely or Spencer F. Katt. When one regards Library Journal as what it is, simply a commercial publication, then this is a pretty mundane thing. To see an example of a Spencer F. Katt piece, all you need to do is get up and move around in your library in the direction of your periodicals and look at the back page of any recent issue of eWeek. In this case, you potentially have a non-librarian analog to the Annoyed Librarian in print within your facility...and you likely pay good money for it too.

What is being taught in MLS programs lately? I know these things not due to library school but because I have been in the media business off and on since 1998. Librarians certainly do not speak with one voice and never really have. If these strictures by various online personalities were applied to Sandy Berman when he challenged the validity of various subject headings in Hennepin County, I frankly imagine that we would not have as accessible of an LCSH as we have now.

Sometimes things that help may be bitter or just not taste good. Why else would so many medications say to take with food perhaps? The Annoyed Librarian does play a valuable role pointing out issues to think about. Today's post brought up an interesting point or two about separating knowledge and counter-knowledge as well as pondering the role of librarians in such.

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