I started listening to podcasts recently, and being a long time fan of NPR, I started with what I could find on the NPR podcast page. One of the sections there is something they call alt.NPR, so I decided to see what NPR's idea of edgy programming sounded like. And found an amazing piece of work.
It's not clear how something gets to be an alt.NPR podcast, but if this item from the Love and Radio site isn't entirely tongue-in-cheek, it may very well be that someone at NPR decides what you're doing is cool and poof!, you're alt.NPR.
Somehow, Love and Radio has managed to become an alt.NPR podcast, helping us move into stage two of the Official Love & Radio Business Model. It should come as no surprised that both Adrianne and I are pumped beyond belief to be associated with the gentle and reassuringly reasonable voice we've known since childhood. And I for one can't wait for those NPR groupies to start lining up.The first episode I listened to simply blew me away. It's sort of a disjointed audio montage, which makes it hard to have as a background audio channel while doing something else, which is my usual mode of listening to NPR. A clip of someone describing something odd. Followed by a couple of minutes of interview, subject unknown, about an apparently unrelated topic. Then the first voice again, describing something else, without context...
Currently, L&R is the only podcast on npr.org with an tag, and we plan to milk that baby for all it's worth....
This one is a drawn image of Babar, from the children's book, and next to it there's a story that reads "When I was a child I was constantly terrified that my entire life was just a story being read by King Babar to his children, and that some day he would close the book, and my life would end.And suddenly it isn't background anymore; a chill goes down my spine and the podcast becomes the focus of my attention. Another odd little story, another description, a hint that sends me googling to find one speaker's web site ... all gradually fleshing one-another out into this remarkable reflection on life. I highly recommend it.
Spoiler alert: Reading the next paragraph and/or following the link below, while rewarding on its own merits, may detract from the 'unpacking a puzzle box' aspect of listening to "Secrets". You may want to listen before reading further.
The hint that set me to googling took me to PostSecret, an amazing community art project that's clearly grown well beyond what its originator could have possibly imagined. Some of the contributions are stupid, some purile; some are chilling, and some heartbreaking:
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:41 AM
Subject: Thank You for posting my Secret
I finally got around to checking PostSecret and there was my card. I don't know if you are aware of the importance of this project. I am 31 years old and for the first time since that boy molested me 25 years ago, I cried.