The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rob Lowe From Santa Barbara by ISDN


It's always my goal to have the studio ready before each session. And it's not unusual for me to feel a bit nervous before working on a project  like this.  Bad things can and do happen.

Today we were scheduled to piggyback two different studio clients recording scripts with Rob Lowe. That meant one session immediately followed by another from two different remote studios on a day that was booked solid.  

My work on this session began as soon as the bookings came in  several days ago. I made sure scripts were delivered, payment options were locked in, W-9 forms relayed, contracts forwarded and studio engineers ready for dial ups. And I was at the studio early this morning to run ISDN tests before the session.  That extra work pays off when the talent steps into the booth and everything is perfect. Thankfully everything was perfect!  I enjoyed working with Rob and he was kind enough to record special greetings for several people on the project. He also posed for this snapshot which I forwarded to the clients just a few minutes after the session.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hear Matthew Stewart via Santa Barbara ISDN On CBC Radio 1

Once again CBC Radio in Toronto  contacted The Production Room in Santa Barbara to provide local ISDN services.

And once again host Anna Maria Tremonti conducted an interview for "The Current". 

Our friends in Canada know that The Current airs nationally in Canada and is heard across the country at 8:30 AM
(9 in Newfoundland) on CBC Radio 1 and on Sirius Satellite 137.

Last week, our guest in studio was Matthew Stewart, author of, "The Management Myth. Why The Experts Keep Getting It Wrong." The interview aired as part three of  The Current, Monday Dec. 7.  You can click the link to hear the fascinating discussion.

I'm also hoping you'll notice the technical quality of the ISDN from Santa Barbara.  We've recently switched out our always compatible and lovely sounding Neumann TLM 103 and replaced it with an older Microtech Gefell M900

We mated this unique "large diaphragm" condenser mic with some older outboard gear that had been gathering dust in the closet. Listen to the sound as Matthew Stewart begins speaking.  It is rich, full, and pleasing to hear.  There is real "presence" in the recording.

It seems we may have fallen for the breathless audio and computer tech hype of the past few years.  The idea is that you can plug a digital simulation into your signal path and get, "that classic sound".  What we're really getting is homogenized sound as everyone reaches for  mass produced hardware with the same digital algorithms instead of plugging in a real classic. For this session we simply  used older outboard gear that wasn't built in China and set it up in a very basic configuration.

It might be a bit heavy on proximity effect even though the mic was placed about 7 inches from the subject.  But I think it sounds pretty nice. Let me know what you think.

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200912/20091207.html

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pirate Radio - The Boat That Sank

I went to see Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked) yesterday with my 17 year old son.

Verdict? I'll have that for you, right after these words...

Boss Radio hit Boss Angeles in the summer of 1965 as Drake/Chenault and Ron Jacobs used 93KHJ to dismantle what had been LA radio. By the end of the year, my home town of Santa Barbara California had it's own top 40 legend, complete with the PAMS jingle package. In those days, 1340 KIST was scoring a 70 share in the local surveys.

Anyway, I was raised on the sounds of Top 40 AM radio on a Montgomery Ward transistor radio smuggled under the covers at 11:00 PM. Years later, I became part of the last wave of top 40 radio when I became a DJ and a program director. I started when I was just 20 and working part time on a Top 40 AM station on the California Coast. I wasn't legal to drink but I had a license to play rock n' roll on KUHL (The Super Cool) radio at 2:00 AM on Saturday nights.

And now about the movie...

The Bad News.

It didn't happen like that. Radio Caroline has a much more interesting story. Too bad they booted it in favor of a fantasy that pales in comparison. The offshore pirates did have a major impact and Brits loved their home grown radio and the American influenced fireworks that followed. But this film isn't doing that any justice.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is a fine actor who absolutely SUCKS in this move. He was badly mis- cast here. He's 43 years old for Christ's sake! Too old to play a rock DJ in 1966 - an era that didn't trust anyone over 30. He should have been 26 and thin as a rail.

The story was re-edited for the American market... but apparently not for coherency. It's a film clipped together from what must have been a fun shoot. And it ends in a tragically over hyped and lame finale. Once again, sticking to the truth would have been better.

The disturbing irony is that this film is a tribute to artistic and cultural freedom that ends up mocking it. It was hacked by the studio to try and salvage box office. In other words this is what the 60's would have looked like if the international entertainment corporations had supervised the birth of R&B. It's clear that the creatives lost. And isn't that what really happened to radio.

The good news.

There ARE bits and pieces worth seeing here. There are moments of what are (or could easily be) radio truth. The cruel groupie. The young man getting laid. The live broadcast of the young man getting laid. The comradeship, the desperate heart break, the ridiculous attitudes, the egos, the outrageous moments that came out live on thousands of watts of radio energy - they were all represented here. Those are things that I saw or participated in as a young DJ. And it was wonderful.

My son liked the movie. He liked the "Young Carl" angle of the story. But as we left the theater I realized another reason why this film struggled to find an audience. Nobody under 30 understands it. How could they?

Remember American Graffitti? All of the cars out cruising on Saturday night had their radios tuned to Wolfman Jack. You could get out of you car and walk around town and you'd still hear the same radio station coming from 100 small speakers all around you. That was rock and roll radio. And for a moment I was part of it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Did Obama Say About Afghanistan?

We have seldom had a president with such command of language. That ability placed him firmly in charge before he was elected. When he went to West Point to speak on the Afghan War, the nation and indeed the world stopped to listen.

I found his speech well constructed and well delivered as always. Barely had he finished speaking than interpretation of his remarks began. It's one of the hazards of instant punditry. When a leader, even a master communicator who knows how to choose his words with precision delivers a clear message the fog of analysis sweeps in immediately to obscure his thoughts. It's an odd effect.

As someone who focuses on communication I listened carefully to the post-speech commentary to find out what Obama had communicated.

The rejection of his message was swift on the left. The right gave it a tepid nod of approval, with several notable exceptions who burst into applause.

Some progressives already frustrated by the pace of reform branded this as the final straw. The policy statement was a sell out of their desire to end both wars and concentrate on their domestic agenda. The speech itself was not well heard.

Some on the right, including Karl Rove, applauded the policy politely while rejecting aspects of the speech itself and it's specific wording. I have the feeling that the right is all too eager for Obama to ante in and double down. This not only shifts the burden of this war to Obama, it validates their point of view after a long period of withering critique.

Overall, the president's verbal power was reflected in our news media which went to 'round the clock discussion and analysis of what he said. In broad terms what he said is in fact policy and what I heard from the public were a variety of coping strategies for dealing with an unpopular war.

Our media and our political ideologues are nationalistic to a fault. No mention was made of the NATO charter or the US call to lead NATO allies in this campaign. No thought was given (until today when Defense Secretary Gates addressed it) about the timetable some of our allies have already adopted for the end of this mission.

So what did the president say about Afghanistan? It depends on whether you stand on the right, the left, or somewhere overseas. The rest remains to be seen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

California Dreamin'

(NOTE - This post was originally published on the Dunn Creek Farm blog.)

CLICK - HEAR - Today's Podcast

November in California is my favorite time of year. The days are clear and warm, the nights are cool and the tourist traffic is at a minimum.

I was invited by Westlake Audio to come down to Hollywood for a presentation on the newest Source Connect software from Source Elements. It took advantage of the opportunity to drive down the coast and catch up on some of the latest in audio technology.

Along the way, I stopped in at Emma Wood State Beach to check the surf.


A small day at Emma Wood - On the Way to Hollywood.
(click to enlarge)


The Rincon, Ventura County, CA., from Emma Wood.
(click to enlarge)


Westlake Audio. Jeri Palumbo, Rebekah Wilson, John Quimby, Ryan Kahler
(click to enlarge)

I got a personal tour of the software from Rebekah Wilson. The New Zealand native is the architect of the software that allows studios to connect and record or send high quality audio over the internet. Fascinating stuff and part of the learning I intend to bring back to PEI this spring.

Working on the farm isn't just about growing organic vegetables. It's about growing a business and connecting to the outside world as a professional media producer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Book No One Has Read Can Make You Famous



Sarah Palin knocked Miss California's masturbation video off the page this week. (Both replaced the Fort Hood shooting, which arguably was another made for media event.)

It's interesting how similar both stories are and how they illustrate what's happening in the world of infotainment. Carrie Prejean didn't mean to distribute her act of self gratification. Sarah Palin did. And both went viral.

I'm not interested in being critical of either woman. I am interested in the phenomena. Both women scored a media knockout. Both women are in a position to capitalize on instant blazing fame. What will they do now? Will message trump substance?

In the case of Carrie Prejean she stands on a pile of the hottest 'keywords" out there and is sure to generate intense interest because of what she brings to the public square. Consider the words she conjures up: hot babe, boob job, California girl, bikini, conservative, anti gay, Christian, beauty pageant winner, sex videos, topless photos...

Let's face it she is guaranteed traffic - a major attraction. Now will someone please help her GET A GRIP. She's been given super powers. Time to be Wonder Woman.

And then there is the release of the "best seller" that no one has read. Advance orders propelled this book up the charts. So what. Who's actually going to read it? The real news is that Sarah is the talk of every media outlet and blogger in the America-centric universe and she did it by publishing a book about herself.

Like Carrie Prejean, Sarah Palin is a pile of keywords and contradictions that create the kind of dynamic tension and expectation that plays so well on camera. She's a walking sound byte. And she has published her own back story - consisting of just what she wants the public to see. It's brilliant. And her media fan-dance is working.

My point is that both these women have worked to create a public image and then have published (sometimes involuntarily) a narrative that people are eating up. Yes, their entry into the spotlight was big (Miss California, Republican VP candidate) but this is bigger. And now, they have to figure out how to keep publishing, promoting and profiting from the fact that they ARE the news.

Both are relative lightweights who are punching above their weight. They are giving the public the right combination of sex and searchable terminology. It makes them irresistible. But for how long. The question isn't, "Will Sarah Run?" The question is, "Will we still care if she does?" (Even money says Prejean gets interviewed about joining Sarah's team.)

In our current, "pop-culture as news" reality, where real news organizations are weak and wobbly, Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin have the power to punch out the press. And who wouldn't pay to see that?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Web Marketing in 2010

We're working with clients who are already looking ahead to 2010.
This week:

- We produce video messages that are inexpensive, easy to create and simple to use.
- We assess your needs and propose solutions.
- We assist your web marketing and web design professionals to include video.

video

Your Web Video can be built in to your website. It can be linked to a blog. It can be embedded in an e-newsletter. It can be uploaded to your YouTube account. It can be delivered to TV for broadcast. It can be linked to your Facebook page. It works across all media and once it's produced, it can be distributed for free.

The Production Room is based in Southern California. Contact us for local audio and video capture for podcasts and web media.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Media Tipping Point - Content VS Distribution

Firesign Theater once put out an album...you know, an album...those funny flat plastic discs that are bigger than CD's. Um, you DO remember CD's right?

Anyway, the album was called "Everything You Know is Wrong".

I mention it because that is precisely where we are in the media world. Everything you've always known about multimedia marketing and advertising is wrong.

Think I'm kidding?

Check out today's story from the AP:

Broadcast pioneer NBC prepares for cable takeover

The headline means that NBC - the company that invented the broadcast network - is about to be taken over by Comcast Cable.

For our purposes, the point of the story is this:

"...By owning more content, Comcast further hedges its bets as mainly a distributor of shows in case viewers ditch their cable TV subscriptions and migrate to the Internet, mobile devices or a platform that has yet to emerge. The company could charge for the shows or sell ads wherever the viewers are."

This should tell you something about the value of content versus the declining value of distribution. And that's why everything you know is wrong.

The Tipping Point

We can read about the actions of media titans, but frankly they aren't leading the trend, they're struggling to keep up. In a media world that is broadcast globally and originated individually it isn't a matter of what happens next in the boardroom, it's what happens next in the bedroom. Just ask Carrie Prejean about the value of personal content distributed globally. And note how, in the context of your awareness, Carrie Prejean's story is equal to major breaking news.

What It Means To You

For 80 years people have made media buys on the basis that distribution to a mass audience is what you pay for in a broadcast schedule. On the local level, if you buy an ad schedule your commercial message production is free! But that's all changing.

In a market where global distribution is free, attracting an audience is a matter of search engine traffic and content has more value than distribution.

This underlines what my clients are learning now. They are finding that they must plan a new annual budget for marketing in a landscape that is changing every day. My advice to you is to get ahead of the curve by doing more to create your own media content. You must become a contributor to your own media. You must tell your own story. There are no longer any limits to distribution and the cost of producing content has dropped for 10 years in a row.

The NBC story marks the end of an era. But don't get hung up on that. The NBC story marks the beginning of a new era and that's what should matter to you.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Beyond SEO - Clients are Optimizing Content

Today's Web Video Profile 11.02.09

Search Engine Optimization brings customers to your door.
It's up to you to greet them when they get there.

video


Chevron Oil hires The Production Room for Film Narration

One of the largest oil producers in California, Chevron has extensive operations and training facilities in Bakersfield. John Quimby has recorded narration for two projects associated with Chevron's operations in Bakersfield. The read is very straight, no selling, just facts.

Sample Chevron Narration

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tomatillos on PEI? Yes You CAN

(This post also appears on the Dunn Creek Farm Blog. We use this blog and our podcast series to promote our farm business and interact with our customers.)

CLICK - HEAR TODAYS PODCAST!

Please enjoy this recipe for authentic Mexican Salsa Verde!

Jane Dunphy prompted this post because she grew tomatillos in her PEI garden this year and has been searching for information about how to use them. Turns out you can freeze them or can them and of course, they make wonderful salsa verde, one of the most popular condiments in Mexico. But all of the ingredients can be grown and used in PEI!

You can simmer your salsa verde with pork to make chile verde or you can bake chicken, shred the meat, cover it with salsa verde and serve with beans and rice. Salsa verde It's spicy but not too hot and the tangy fresh flavor is a delicious change of pace.

Please enjoy!





Ingredients
  • 3 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed
  • 2 large jalapeƱo chiles, stems removed
  • 5 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, thick bottom stems trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Preparation

Mix first 2 ingredients in large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Drain.

Coarsely chop tomatillo mixture, garlic, and cumin in processor using on/off turns. Add next ingredients; blend until herbs are chopped and salsa is chunky.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add salsa and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt.

NOTES: This is a recipe from the web that most closely resembles Monica's description and technique with measures to help you.

You can add other herbs (mint, etc) and lime juice is a common addition too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Entertainment Based Marketing

New Elements, New Strategies in New Media

Prod Room produces a radio campaign based on a podcast.


video

John created the "True Car Stories" concept for Ayers Automotive Repairs several years ago. But sounding "true" with voice actors reading testimonials in a studio was challenging.

A summer road trip and a podcast series changed that. The Production Room hit the road and captured true car stories as they happened. And John demonstrated how easy it is to add reality to a marketing campaign that isn't tied to a studio location or the printed word.

Here are 3 of the radio spots currently running in Santa Barbara:

Ayers Road Trip Radio 01
Ayers Road Trip Radio 02
Ayers Road Trip Radio 03

Contact John Quimby:
record@prodroom.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Time for Sponsored Podcasts

A few years ago I had the idea that a radio series could be produced and commercially sponsored by local clients who need to establish a local brand. I started with my own interest in local history which led me to Barbara Tompkins, widow of one of Santa Barbara's most popular historians and the creator of a long running radio series. It was Mrs. Tompkins herself who reviewed the first scripts and gave her input direction on the project. The demo programs were also reviewed by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

I have adapted material originally presented by Walker Tompkins and others into an entertaining and condensed format that can be easily produced and distributed. The result is "A Time In Santa Barbara", a two minute long audio program that includes a :30 sponsor break.

Though originally conceived as a radio program to fill dead network breaks with local, sponsored content, this feature is also suitable as web content. And while the program was created to strengthen a local institution (in this case a bank) It could be easily structured to promote interests such as a hotel, a conference center, a winery or even the County of Santa Barbara itself. Because every effort is made to present information that is factual and historically accurate, these stories can also be used to illustrate California History in local schools.

I invite you to listen to the demo tracks linked below and enjoy these true stories about Santa Barbara County. If you are interested in knowing more about A Time in Santa Barbara, please contact me at The Production Room (805) 563-0346 or email: 2prodroom@gmail.com

Click the links below to hear, "A Time In Santa Barbara" DEMO TRACKS

1) Tecolote Tunnel

2) Pearl Chase

3) El Capitan

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Production Room Service Update

Greetings from Prodroom North. I'm in Prince Edward Island, Canada and the good news is that the studio here is all ready to continue production work for our clients.

Even more good news is that high speed wireless is now online here so sending and receiving media files is as fast and easy as it is at the Studio in SB.

I've also hired some help in Santa Barbara to continue providing studio services there, so our ISDN business will continue to be available and supported on demand. Booking service is as easy as sending an email to me: 2prodroom@gmail.com

Or you can call the Production Room at the local nimber: (805) 455-5134 and it will forward to my mobile phone here. And since the studio here in Canada is no longer using dialup, you can call the studio directly at (902) 962-3755. If I'm not in, please leave a message.

I have a fully equipped room here for voice tracking, editing, mixing and delivery of finished audio. The studio features some benefits we don't have yet in SB. We have a really sweet focusrite mic pre-amp which tracks audio to directly to a digital input on the computer for a very clean signal. It sounds great! I'm using our very nice Microtech Gefell microphone for voice recording and I also have the same complete music and sound effect library we use in SB.

I've brought our production archive here too, so we can update exisiting production for you from this location and deliver revised production to you.

Basically, anything I can do in Santa Barbara, I can do here - at the same level of professional quality you expect.

Email is the same as always, and is probably the best way to reach me. Keep in mind that I'm four hours ahead of Santa Barbara, which often helps me deliver completed production faster. And since I'm able to finish and deliver production while the west coast is still asleep, it's likely that your finshed production will be on your desktop when you arrive at work the next day.

I am continuing production on our new weekly podcast series for the Homecast Show, a daily podcast from Los Angeles. And I'll be working on new projects for the 5 Minute Media Manager on this page.

For more about our location this summer, please visit: http://www.dunncreekfarm.blogspot.com

Thanks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On the road to Canada

For continuing pictures and stories from our road trip please visit:
http://www.dunncreekfarm.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 3, 2009

On Route 66 from Albuquerque NM to El Reno OK

Please follow our trip with more picture from the road at:

http://dunncreekfarm.blogspot.com

Thanks!

The Production Room is happy to help you with your projects and studio services while I'm on the road.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day Two - We Turn Left at Albuquerque

Saturday, May 2

We started off this morning from Scottsdale Arizona. My brother in law, Tom Frazier and I, checked that all systems were go for the road.

Then we were off and running toward Albuquerque. North from Scottsdale to Flagstaff, Winslow, Gallup and into New Mexico. We detoured onto the old Route 66 at sunset for the run to town. We had planned to go all the way to Tucumcari but we just couldn't push that far today. We did have some fun though...

We Stopped around mid-day on the Yavapai Apache Reservation to visit the ancient cliff dwellings.












Then we detoured off the I-40 to Winslow on the old Route 66...


We're stopped in Moriarty New Mexico. It's late. I'm pooped. We have another long day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Adventure of a Lifetime a Lifetime of Adventure


I was pleased to visit once again with Jean Michel Cousteau in the studio today. He was a guest of the BBC and presenter Nick Haslam. Nick interviewed him for an hour about his life, his father and his work. It was fascinating. Mr. Cousteau was relaxed but ready to speak clearly and passionately. He told some marvelous stories about his life aboard Calypso as a 13 year old boy with his 10 year old brother. To have been part of his father's voyages of discovery in the 1950's and 60's and to be part of the crew was obviously transformational for Jean Michel.

This was real adventure in an age when communication from across the world was by morse code and the ship stayed at sea for many months. And no one knew what they would find out there. "As my father said, 'If I knew what I was gonna find I wouldn't go'."

I'll post the link to the BBC interview when it becomes available.

And this week, I'm heading off on my own adventure with a portable Production Room. I'm driving from Santa Barbara to Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada in a 1965 GMC pickup truck. I'll be posting updates so you can follow along the way. There will be a podcast updating the trip and Ayers Automotive Repairs, the shop that does all my service and maintenance, is going to run radio commercial updates from the road.

And what will we discover along the way from the southwest to the northeast? If I knew I wouldn't go.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ten Four Eleanor! So Long Steve Gordon!

"These Suck!" doesn't really fully detail the craptiousness here...

-Eleanor Roosevelt


At the risk of hurting someone's feelings at the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, this was Steve Gordon's evaluation of radio scripts he was bidding to produce for the Chamber at the end of January. He had emailed them to me for review and asked me to bid on re-writing them for production. He was proposing a collaboration. It would have been our last but he didn't get the job. And there it all is in a nutshell.

The blunt (and correct) evaluation of the scripts - linked to the email sign-off from Mrs. Roosevelt is vintage Steve. He was absolutely honest in his evaluations but he loved to leave 'em laughing. I think he found the world to be absurd. He understood that taking the world seriously was fine as long as you realized its absurdities were seriously amusing.

Steve was a Libertarian who used to love to taunt my liberal sensibilities with editorial content from the CATO institute and Glenn Beck (before Beck went totally insane...) We had more than a few rounds on society and politics which I appreciated because I enjoy that sort of thing. Unfortunately, Steve shared commonality with a large population of gracelessly aging, despondent white males who find themselves left behind, broke and bitter, unwilling to yield their independence but unable to fight for it.

Steve ended his life as a brilliant man. As a brilliant man he ended his life as an under employed, under appreciated casualty of change. I've seen more than a few of the walking wounded come out of radio in the last 15 years...and you know who you are. The death of radio has killed or crippled more than a few of the brilliant people I love dearly. The survivors carry scars you can't see because radio is not a visual medium.

The pictures here are from what some people have told me was the best party they've ever been to. Certainly it was the best party I've ever hosted.

In January of 2007, we sent out a tarot card image of the Magician to invite our guests to an open house for creative talent, clients, marketing executives and a cross section of the community. We demonstrated the magic of our ISDN studio with a live studio link to San Francisco and Los Angeles. We played a hilarious short film Steve had worked on in the studio. We showed a rich media web site from the Beatles that showed the direction we knew our clients should embrace as the future of communications media. At the after party, we turned up the music and we DANCED!

There was live music and food and there was video on every screen. There was a close-up magician and a hand writing analyst. It a was a memorable and magical alchemy of the sacred and profane, of technology and artistry and the vibe of unlimited possibility hummed above all. I see these pictures now of Steve in his favorite position, at the console.

Sadly my old studio is gone. That desk which I built with my own hands in my dead father's workshop is gone. Steve is gone. All gone because the world changed. Gone because the only work we knew is gone. Gone because we couldn't afford to make them stay. Gone because we didn't need them any more. Gone because they could go no further in this world.

People say after they lose a limb or a physical part of themselves that they feel phantom pain as if the limb were still there. These are my limbs. These are my phantoms.

Steve lived the way he died. He made his own terms and stuck to 'em in a world that no longer cared to negotiate. He was a hostage to fortune who drew the short straw one too many times.

The Firesign Theater created an alternative reality in sound. Steve and I spent hours in their expansive theater of the mind. Put on some old Firesign and maybe you'll find Steve. Clever, ironic, brillliant, cerebral, silly and decidedley off the Interstate in an alternate Universe.

Steve's still part Nick Danger and part George Tirebiter. A tarnished star, a hapless bit player, a cool film noir detective down on his luck. Just listen. Somewhere between Heater and Hellmouth, Spud Coolzip is cruising to Three Finger Mickey's in search of the answers.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How To Make Money With Online Media

Check out the little widget below from feedburner...

↑ Grab this Headline Animator



By clicking on this widget you can select a 5 Minute Media Manager podcast to hear. You could also use it to add The 5 Minute Media Manager to your blog or other online content.

The 5 Minute Media Manager series is designed to be short, useful and targeted to business people, professionals and accomplished individuals who want to profit from using their social networks, blogs and websites.

Podcast 012 - Profit from Promotion - will tell you how I've been using my online presence to build business and make money. Is that worth 5 minutes of your time?

You can design and program a blog page that delivers your message through your media.
To find out more, contact The Production Room.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama and the Media - A Full Court Press

It's been a while since I wrote on the president and his communication-media-political style. Last night's 1 hour press conference with 300 reporters was a high profile display of how the President of the United States chooses to communicate and what the media reports about it. So I have some thoughts on form and substance (or lack thereof).

The Message:

The president restated his position and elaborated on the need for spending on education, energy and health care. He did a great job of staying on message for the full hour and provided details as he answered questions from the press. He was particularly effective at explaining why investing in future growth was required to lower the deficit. He very nearly quoted Reagan circa 1982 in his call for cutting taxes, eliminating government waste and increasing deficit spending.

The President and the Prompter:

He looked a bit tired...it was the end of a long day. He was criticized almost immediately on the use of the teleprompter in the back of the room. The image makers at the White House were no doubt trying to deal with the recurring conservative meme about Obama being unable to speak without a teleprompter. So they took the small screen from his face and moved it away from the cameras.

I'm willing to bet that Obama hates the teleprompter. Unlike Bush, he doesn't need one in order to speak clearly or coherently. Obama is a master of delivery and the prompter is a distraction that breaks his rhythm. I've used a teleprompter and it essentially makes you read a script into a TV camera. It tends to make you look as though you are reading a prepared statement - because you are. What he has probably learned (and been told) is that the teleprompter is there to help him remember the key points, names, dates and figures he needs for greater impact on the national debate. I think we'll see him improve. Meantime, the White House should disregard the critics and let their man work.

Press Reports Top Story of 2009: The Press!

It's amazing to me that one of last night's first headlines on Huffington Post pointed at another post on Politico, reporting that the President didn't call on the Washington Post or the New York Times.

HUH?

On the day the president re-affirmed his vision of a transformative economic agenda, the top story is: one media outlet covering another media outlet covering other media outlets.
(HELLO HEllo Hello hello! There's an ECHO ECho Echo echo!)

The press really loves the sound of it's own voice.

The Political Bout - President Ahead on Points

On :60 Minutes, Steve Croft asked, "Are you punch drunk?" Let's take that fight analogy to the press conference. I watched the full conference then looked at the transcript of a live blog on the Washington Post.

President Obama did two things that showed his control of the Press and the Opposition.

1) The president was asked whether or not he would sign a bill that did not include several of the budget items he has asked for. He patiently explained to the press why he wouldn't comment on signing legislation that hasn't been written yet. He has a backhanded way of scolding the press for not asking smart questions.

Bush used to tell the press what he was going to sign becuase he already knew what the White House had directed Republicans to pass. Then they'd give a press release to the media. Obama appears content to propose legislation and then wait for the legislative process to deliver a bill to his desk. This means Congress has to work harder and so does the political press.

2)He repeatedly hit GOP critics for leaving a record deficit and being unable to deliver an alternative budget plan.

On this point, conservatives are stuck. The WaPo blog comments I read last night illustrate why. They howl about Obama leading us to more government intervention but they won't propose an alternative because they can't without contradicting their own rigid ideology or acknowledging their own political failure.

Being opposed to all government solutions means being incapable of imagining any government solutions. Obama knows that they are in a logic trap while people are looking to him for answers.

The Strategy:

Team Obama may not be smart enough to create it's own opportunities, but it is smart enough to sieze them. Secretatry Geithner was on the Hill yesterday explaining why the treasury needs more regulatory power to deal with investment firms. Obama repeated that position last night when talking about the banks and answering a question about AIG.

The outrage over AIG has created the perfect setup for bi-partisan support of market regulation; something that would have been impossible in February. Populist outrage will give GOP members all the cover they need to put those greedy bankers in their place.

In response, an AIG VP publicly resigned in bitter protest this morning. Gee. And after all you guys did for us too.

Sorry Mr. DeSantis, there are no blue collar equity traders. You had opportunities like few others. That includes a chance to yell, "take this job and shove it!" in the New York Times.

FINALLY

After town hall meetings, Leno, :60 Minutes and a nationally televised press conference, the president still has a long way to go to convince Congress. But he apparently scored with the public. He may have a problem with financial capital, but not with political capital. And Steve Croft - there's a reason Obama is laughing. He's the only heavyweight champion in a division of lightweights. Real Politics shows him at 67% approval.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet Dreams Down Under With Robert Bosnak

I haven't done a live airshift since 1995 but I still have dreams about being on the radio.

I'm on the air doing my DJ shift and the song on the air is beginning to fade. That's when I realize I have nothing cued up to play next and no idea what to say. That actually happened a few times while I was awake and the feeling is enough to give a person nightmares. We started on a similar note on this ISDN connection to Australia - when technical problems had us stumped.

The mix of dreaming and consciousness and the space in between has fascinated human beings for quite a long time. Psychoanalyst Robert Bosnak, believes we can consciously work inside of those dreams in that strange space. I was introduced to Mr. Bosnak, thanks to The ABC - that's the Australian Broadcasting Company - which invited Mr. Bosnak to guest on their program, "All In The Mind" using ISDN studio service from The Production Room in Santa Barbara.

The Interview was conducted by Natasha Mitchell, a journalist and ABC presenter with a depth of experience.

You can listen to her interview titled, "Dreams - The Body Alive" on "All InThe Mind". You can also read Ms. Mitchell's blog and listener comments about the program. I don't know if Ms. Mitchell has dreams about radio, but she came to her interview prepared to explore their nebulous nature.

Mr. Bosnak has written an internationally well received book that just might interest someone who'd like a brief course on dream work. You can review excerpts of his book, "A little Course In Dreams" at Amazon's online reader.

I'm honored by the opportunity to provide links that connect interesting people I'd never meet were it not for the larger world and the curiosity of the people in it. I hope you'll listen to to this example of radio Australia's excellent reporting and the latest on dream work from Mr. Bosnak.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Barbie Turns 50 - ISDN Connects NPR On Point


Robin Gerber is a keynote speaker and the author of several books, including, "Barbie and Ruth - The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her".

And that's why Tom Ashbrook wanted to speak to her. Tom is the host of NPR's "On Point" which is produced at WBUR in Boston.

On Thurs., Feb 12, Robin Gerber was connected by our ISDN studio-to-studio link for a one hour live segment.

You can link to the show segment called "Barbie Turns 50"

It's an interesting conversation about about a woman, a toy, an icon and an image that continues to play a significant role in the world. And it all came from the imagination of Ruth Handler Elliot, founder of one of America's great companies.

The Production Room is an approved provider of ISDN service to NPR network programs and producers. We use the Telos Zephyr XStream codec to convert analog signal (such as a voice) into an mp3 digital signal that streams over digital phone lines (ISDN). A second codec on the other end converts the mp3 digital signal back into analog sound - in real time. When you listen to the show, it will sound as if Robin Gerber was in Boston.

Our ISDN studio service allows professionals in our area to guest on programs, narrate commercial or films, deliver interviews or be part of media productions anywhere in the world - without leaving town.

For more examples of our service, subscribe to this blog. For a booking inquiry, please email
The Production Room (2prodroom@gmail.com)

And now, here's a little video artifact from YouTube to enjoy:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Obama's Identification With Lincoln Matters

On the surface it seems obvious. Even poetic. The African American man, married to the descendant of American slaves and their children are living in the White House. The realization of Dr. Kings dream is also the redemption of the 16th President, who chose to change a war for Union into a war for freedom.

As a counterpoint, there is also the use of the abbreviation, Neo-Con to describe the deep opposition to this president and everything he stands for. The modern translation of this abbreviation is Neo-Conservative. But I prefer to think of it as Neo Confederate.

The Lincoln / Confederate divide is very much present in our news today. And the danger it represents to our Union is just as real.

President Obama is a Lincoln Republican. He's a lawyer, a brilliant orrator and a disciplined campaigner who belives in the Republic and the Union over all. The libertarian mind that saw no trouble with the elite slave owning class in an unregulated market fought any government move to end their special interest. They are very much alive and with us today as well.

While some are romanced by Lincoln's apparent liberalism, it's important to see that he was a very skilled railroad lawyer who represented corporate interests and became wealthy defending thier interests. He knew how to adress the common people in the words of their democratic ideals. But he also made the industrialists rich.

We don't know yet how President Obama will prcoeed, but in his first weeks he has skillfully managed the Congress and moved to find the new political center of America. He doesn't look like the scary socialist that some are afraid of. He looks more like the kind of leader who knows that he can gather support from both extremes and strengthen the center - where he knows how to operate.

Lincoln was very similar. In raising an army to enforce Federal law in the southern states he saw many states rise up to secession. But he also managed to hold slave territory in the Union.

In passing a bill to fund economic recovery, President Obama has seen much of the populace rise up and demand that GOP leaders refuse the stimulus package - almost as if it were an insult. But he managed to hold a few in the center. And he will strengthen the center to make room for more.

Deep within the struggle for this vote is a country in an ideological Civil War during an economic crisis. We are in desperate trouble.

I can only hope that this President is equal to the man he admires.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Los Primeros" Film Premiere in Santa Barbara


Last Friday night Susan and I spent the evening in celebration of old California.

There are those who say that the golden age of California wasn't the 1930's or the 1960's. It was the 1840's - before the gold rush that changed everything.

That era has been part of the romance of the Golden State ever since the 1920's when the mission architectural style became part of the landscape and silent films like "The Mark Of Zorro" with Douglas Fairbanks introduced the Romantic image of Alta California to the world.

So, in a semi glittered and western attired crowd we met in the heart of Old Santa Barbara at El Paseo and mingled with some of the oldest families in the State. We were invited to see the newly restored "Ranchero Room", traditional headquarters of the famous (and infamous) Rancheros Visitadores. The room is decorated with original western art painted directly on the white washed surface of the interior walls.

But I digress...

What the Spanish established and cultivated in California still exists, despite the distortions of Hollywood or the arrival of the worlds' elite.

That is the story told in a series of films by Susan Jensen and Paul Singer. In Los Primeros, they show us the origins of Vaquero culture in Spain, it's movement to the new world 500 years ago and it's eventual spread from the great Haciendas in Old Mexico to the Grand Mexican Ranchos of Alta California.

The 1840's must have been a great time to be a wealthy patron - to be independent and self sufficient in a place with generous resources and Mediterranean climate. History informs us that it was also a lonely frontier and that there were winners and losers in the fight for this land. After the Gold Rush, many Mexican families were themselves displaced and many were bitter over the loss of property and status. Hence a nostalgia for the "Old California" that was lost to the Anglo Americans.

But the remarkable footage in Los Primeros vividly depicts a way of life that is still found on California's ranches today. We see glimpses of what was, and of what was lost.

The care, the elegance and the technical quality of the California horseman has made me appreciate the difference between "Vaquero" and the generic term "western" when it comes to equestrian style. There is a lot in this film the for those like me who enjoy picking the brains of those who know the old ways. For others, the details of technique and gear may be a little too much.

Even so, the film makes much of the people we meet along the way from Spain, to Mexico to the Pacific Coast. It's easy to see that their music and stories come from the heart and I felt a warmth for them and from them throughout the film. This is a tribute to Susan and Paul, who approached a normally reluctant group of very private and often maligned people and allowed them to speak of honor and traditions that have passed from hand to hand for generations.

The story of the West can be dismissed as dime novel fiction. Or it can be read as prelude to the issues we face today. In this film we are reminded again that American culture is not solely the East to West migration of Europeans. The New World mixing of Spanish, Mexican, Indian and American skills and traditions created a unique bond between people, the land and the horse.

UPDATE - 02.11.09

To purchase your copy of "Los Primeros" on DVD visit: J&S Productions
You'll also find information about the other films in the Vaquero series including:
Tapadero, The Remuda, Holo Holo Paniolo and Houlihan

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Model, Super Mom, Super Nice



Kathy Ireland came into the studio at The Production Room in Santa Barbara today to record 4 new radio commercials for her company, Kathy Ireland World Wide. Then we began recording her new audio book, Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success and Sanity.

We've worked together in the studio several times over the years. Kathy is a Santa Barbra native who's right at home around town. She still lives here with her husband, Greg and their three children. Working at the Prodroom keeps her close to home and family which is clearly her choice since she could work anywhere she wanted to.

She is very tall, and I had to re-arrange the booth to allow her to sit upright on a stool and later, to stand as she read. She is very focused and she powered through pages of material that might have left another talent gasping for air.

Kathy is a committed Christian who shares her compassion for working moms, her good sense about living well and her active faith with readers and listeners. While some might find it odd that a woman they know primarily from swimsuit photos is so strong on faith and life affirming values, it actually is in keeping with who she is and why she has remained healthy and grounded in her home town with her family.

We should all mature so well!

The print version of her book will be available on April 7. Pick up the audio book after it is released and you'll hear the work Kathy recorded here today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Homecast Show - A Podcast That Works

You might know that I spent a few odd years in radio. Yes, I do mean odd.

During that time I learned to love the medium and I worked with a lot of really cool people. One of those people contacted me this week. Liz Fulton, who you may remember from the news room at KTMS, Y-97 and K-lite radio in Santa Barbara, or from her run with Rick Dees on KiiS FM in Los Angeles.

Liz has re-connected with several of her underemployed radio pals and with Danny Lemos at the helm of "The Homecast Show" they are creating a daily podcast that is smart, funny and nicely paced. This is a podcast made by professionals.

I've written before about podcasting, and described what makes most podcasts horrible. I'm so pleased to have a positive example to share. Whether you're interested in creating daily podcasts, image and marketing content, or training/informational programs, you need to listen to this program for ideas.

Better yet, why not BUY this show?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Green Revolution Starts Now

Note: This was written on Jan. 11 for my Dunn Creek Farm blog.

Barack Obama is setting his course in a radical new direction.
As he takes office on January 20th, he'll be holding most of the cards of his "New Deal" close to his vest. We aren't sure what his program will actually look like. But we do know that the issues of global climate change, North America's energy future and international security are on the table.

While each of these issues has been part of the political discussion for many years, my sense is that this will be the first time that ALL of them will be unified by a single major policy maker who has a popular mandate to take action. The resulting period of change could be deep and long lasting.

The political risks are equally large. Attempts to form policy on the incremental issues have failed internationally. Technical, Economic and Ideological limitations have doomed previous attempts to deal with climate and energy issues. That's why I believe that this is the moment for sweeping change. President Elect Obama has made cabinet appointments that show he is preparing to seize the moment. Green energy will finally get a green light.

When Canada's Liberal Leader, Stephan Dion, ran for Premier last Fall, he did so on an agenda that included sweeping reform to reduce Canada's carbon emissions. He must have believed that Canadians in general support high environmental standards and would therefore support his plan. It didn't work out that way. Voters sensed economic panic and couldn't quite fathom how his complicated carbon tax would deliver positive results. There was another problem. Canada is now one of the largest petroleum exporting countries in the world. One hand simply doesn't wash the other.

President Bush also dealt with the questions of sustainable energy, security and the environment in a piecemeal fashion. The result was a sidestep of the Kyoto protocol and the deployment of about a third of Americas' military assets to the Middle East. We have ground troops throughout the region and at least 1 Navy Carrier group in the Persian Gulf at all times. All to guarantee the status quo in global energy markets. The argument for this policy is based on the ideology that government doesn't provide for people, private enterprise does. Therefore, the government should protect private enterprise.

Obama seems to have a very different outlook. He realizes that we don't have to deploy our military to protect a pipeline that sucks oil at one end and our wealth at the other, IF we can develop a sustainable, secure domestic energy industry AND reduce our greenhouse emissions while boosting our economy. He's going to hire the private sector to deliver a tri-fecta.

Some people here in the States are screaming that the Obama plan is socialist. These same people saw no problem with starting a war and then funding private enterprise to run it with no bid contracts. Haliburton was hired on a blank check mission because it was,"the only company big enough to handle the job". Conservatives and Libertarians are now demanding that there be a "market based solution" to the problem. Well frankly, at this time there is no private or international entity who can meet our need for increasing domestic energy supplies for the next 200 years. And there won't be unless we invest in our own interests.

Last week Vladimir Putin brought Europe to it's knees by shutting off one pipeline. If they didn't know it before, the EU knows now that it is vulnerable. On the current basis, NATO can't guarantee security or stability in Europe unless it intends to invade Russia. The whole global free trade initiative was trumped by the Russian gas company.

This "tweak" at NATO weakness and the conflicts that tie our hands in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. are just a few of the reasons that the table is set for Obama to orchestrate change.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dishing with the Executive Chef



Foodies will know that Cat Cora is the the first woman to win Iron Chef America. She is also the current Executive Chef of Bon Appetit Magazine. She's written two books, just opened a new SoCal Restaurant and happened to be in the studio at The Production Room Santa Barbara yesterday, recording a promotional announcement for "Vegas Uncorked" featuring 4 days of events with celebrity chefs and vintners.

As we were setting up the session with David Miller at R&R Partners in Las Vegas, I had a few moments to visit the chef.

She is petite, attractive, fit and has a bit of intensity about her. She came in ready to work. As we set up I told her that I grow organic produce on a farm in Canada. I asked her what she'd like to find in the farmer's market. She opened up and shared some really great suggestions with me. She likes to work with what she finds in the local markets.

We talked about baby herbs, french carrots, baby beets, mixed greens and fava beans. She asked what we grew and I described the mix of fun and gourmet varieties we usually plant along with down home favorites like peas and potatoes.

Cat is a southern girl. Her voice retains a hint of the deep southern notes of Jackson Mississippi and her manner caries a bit of old southern hospitality. Along with her modern style, she's the traditional voice that says, "Here. Y'all come and eat."

I appreciated finding that her approach is very much in tune with what's fresh and local. No need to fly in baby artichokes from Argentina when the local market has other interesting choices to work with.

For me, preparing and eating food is the natural result of growing and harvesting crops. And part of what I'm doing is working to create sustainable farms and local markets by simply providing all the ingredients of a really good meal.

Triumph of the W

My Commemorative Remarks on the Occasion of the End of the Bush Presidency

By John Quimby

It wasn't easy. It was hard work.
Yes, through hard work and solid determination, George Bush has forever lowered the requirements and claimed the title of, "Worst President of All Time".

Quite an achievement for a wealthy man who was sort of from West Texas. A man who learned early on that he didn't actually have to work for a living.

But now, the public hushes, and we speak in reverent tones as the man himself lowers himself even further to take a final bow when surely none are needed.

I know that the Detroit Lions are glad this day that no one can ever take away their title by losing more football games in a single season. And who can predict another epic failure like New Coke or Windows Vista?

But the sad truth for Mr. Bush is that one day, somehow, we will have a president who is an even bigger loser than he is.

It won't be hard to find that person, because I know that someone out there has the grit, fortitude and American determination to take the Presidency to a new level of arrogance, blind ambition and stupidity.

And so tonight, in the dim awareness of a blindly led Republic, former Hall of Fame greats like James Buchanon and Warren G. Harding shine a little less brightly in the Presidential pantheon of losers.

For tonight they await the arrival of their new champion.

I'll watch the prime time event. I just hope I don't cry.