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New Media Pioneer: Tom Schulte of Outsight Radio Hours

outsightradioEclectic, freeform “iRadio” program Outsight Radio Hours starts its second decade available free on iTunes or in podcast form wherever fine podcasts are served like here.

Q) Tell us a little bit about your site. What inspired you to start it?

A) After several years of music journalism – reviews and interviews for an alternative biweekly – I participated in a pirate radio station as an act of civil disobedience with the then active microwatt revolution. We literally couldn’t get arrested for years (I think the FCC didn’t want to deal with the paperwork) and along the way I became enraptured with the immediacy and currency of live radio as opposed to waiting weeks if not months for dried ink to hit the streets.

Q) Why do you believe new media resources (i.e. blogs, podcasts, internet radio stations) have become so popular? How have they been beneficial to artists? How have they been detrimental?

A) The new media resources are popular precisely because they are populist forces. They democratize promotion and distribution by putting these formerly scarce resources in everyone’s hands. Revolutionary change has always had pros and cons. The benefit is less marginal effort (much less) to access the services for the artist, the detriment is the same thing. The budding artist has that much more competition for attention: every other blog, MySpace page, ringtone, and personal IPod trove of ripped vinyl – whatever. The new-media-age artist must juggle a thousand time-consuming tasks (e-mail blasts, MP3 leaking, forum posts, a gig diary blog, whatever) and still summon the innovation to stand out for the background noise.

Q) Media 2.0 has changed the way artists communicate with fans. Where do you envision online communication going next? Any thoughts on what Media “3.0” will look like?

A) The average entertainment universe is still fragmented between the car (the original mobile platform), the home entertainment center (cable-fueled TV is now the ultimate thick client) and modern handheld devices (lots of possibilities, very little surface area). Somehow at least two of these are going to converge and that is going to be another quantum evolutionary leap. I think it will be a surprising blend that will capture people’s attention. But what specifically, I don’t know. Virtual Reality on the TV seems too obvious as that medium wrestles with the hope of 3D before it has even fully digested HD. Social Networking on the car radio? “On the Social Band, you can hear and chat with your Facebook friends while you drive thanks to a partnership between Bluetooth and On*Star! Wherever your friends are at, even when are in traffic you can tune in with them to a concert ten time zones away” Yeah, something like that.

Q) What does an artist have to do to get your attention? Are their specific characteristics that you look for?

A) If it grabs my ear, I count on it to grab the ear of my listeners, too. I look stunning authenticity – like a daring experiment that succeeds and sticks out, or that instant air of familiarity that a good tune, a good melody has even if you have never heard it before.

Q) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your site?

A) I hope my interviews stored over the years on will be a time capsule for throwbacks of the future and in the present day my 2-hour episodes produced weekly will give some music enthusiasts that wonderful moment when they first meet their next favorite band.



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