Two important breakout sessions at Thursday’s public radio conference had real relevance to us at Spokane Public Radio. The first explored ways of involving kids in classical music on radio. And we got honorable mention in front of an audience from all around the US for our long-term partnership with MusicFest Northwest that brings young performers to the KPBX studio to play on the air and do a short interview with Verne. Food for thought, though, was the more extensive (and quite creative) involvement schemes developed by a couple of the major players in public broadcasting, Minnesota Public Radio and WFMT in Chicago.
Another session brought a fascinating, sobering and occasionally frightening discussion of something on the horizon for all stations that broadcast music, regardless of genre: digitizing. Basically, all the wonderful classical, jazz, world music, folk and blues LPs and CDs in our library may ultimately be translated into sound files (think iTunes). Likewise, CDs themselves are beginning to travel the road of the Neanderthal. Digitizing sure seems to be the wave of the future, and everyone who spoke and everyone I talked with after the session is beginning at least to think about how this can happen. Interesting to note: of all the recording media, the CDs time in the sun may turn out to be the briefest.
After an intense day, an entertaining night followed with one of the many Cirque de Soliel shows in Las Vegas, “Love,” a tribute to the Beatles. The trademark of the Cirque is the incredible athleticism of the dancers, acrobats and other players, and that is certainly present in “Love.” But what I was completely unprepared for was the awe-inspiring use of special effects. Lighting, projections, draperies, streamers, an elevator stage that created all manner of levels and chasms all working for an effect going way beyond spectacular. As with all Cirque productions, there was a story line, but, again typical of the Cirque, it was highly fanciful one, held together in this case by the Beatles’ music. And the sound track included some recording session outtakes and other rarely, if ever heard material.
We’ll close the journal next time with news from the last day and the journey home.