Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Country For Old Men? Thoughts On KAXE Turning 33

by Scott Hall

"Social Networking" - Facebook, Twitter, and other kinds of on-line commuication - was the topic on "Between You and Me" with Heidi Holtan on Saturday, April 18th. During the program three "old guys" - Mike from Bemidji, Don from Suomi, and Ed from Deerwood - called with varying degrees (dour to mild) of concern and disapproval over what the new modes of communication will do to us and how they will change us - our values, our connections with each other, and our relation to the world around us. I know these guys. We're about the same age. Another friend can't stand a lot of the mundane detail on Twitter. I still don't get the appeal of music videos. Music is the sound of my imagination, my experience, my heart. I admire the video craft and artistry, but it's usually not the song I hear in the images they show.

I was hosting KAXE's Green Cheese trivia show one Saturday night, about 15 years ago. A guy calls in on his cell phone from a fishing boat, and I thought "why spoil a fishing trip with a phone on board or, for that matter, a radio?" But I've done that many times since then. Catch a nice fish, take a picture of it on the phone, let the fish go, call someone to tell them about the fish - no lie!

So my heart is with these guys, but my head and gut aren't. And I think eventually my heart will betray them too (you can get to this blog post via my twitter). I love radio, especially community radio, and especially KAXE, and I hope it has a great future. As much as I love the medium of radio, I believe in the community part more - the local ownership, the celebration of where we live and our cultures, a place to talk about our shared concerns, and, of course, the wide world of music.

So it seems prudent for KAXE to venture into on-line media as well as sustain the radio. It's a tall order, especially in this economy. When KAXE went on the air 33 years ago, its founders had little more than their belief that community-owned radio is a great idea, and their committment to try it. Northern Community Internet is the beginning of building new media based on those good ideas. We're not sure what it will look like when the dust settles. The internet is able to transmit in multiple media, including radio. But I'm up for following the younger "digital natives" who already know their way around these new media. It doesn't have to be a cultural or commercial wasteland. Hope you are up for it too - enough to contribute. Here's how.


gordmett said...

Interesting thoughts from Scott - about "old men" and the means they use to connect and relate. As I recall, the movie by that name had menace and brutality in a "country" beyond law.

As we moved from printing press to telegraph and camera, telephone to radio, television to satellite, language is still the common thread of our communications.

A big deal is being made of the death of large newspapers these days, but it's the financial barons who bought them up with merger and debt, who now trigger their collapse. Like the dot-com and housing bubbles, crooked mortgages and bogus "securities," greedy swindlers will continue to outwit a society that fails to check credentials.

Good authoritative journalism is still a necessity. On KAXE we have Marshall Helmberger, Scott Hall, and Heidi Holtan, who give us news, newsworthy interviews, and ideas to connect our community.

Whether we have printed copy, radio in the kitchen or car, or an internet tweet, it is still the words, news and ideas, that can make sense out of our daily walk. For old and young of every age.


Joe said...

Interesting perspective from Scott. All of the same issues discussed at the "CAB" meeting in Brainerd on Monday, 4/27/09. The KAXE is indeed "a rare medium well done" . I appreciate all the work and commitment that is being done to keep the KAXE community connected in this ever widening digital world.