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. . . Is this thing on?

By Patrick O'Grady
Mad Dog Media

  RADIO FREE DOGPATCH hit the virtual airwaves on Nov. 5, 2005. The short inaugural effort was a podcast of sorts, in the same way that The Daily Dog was a blog — which is to say, not really. The Daily Dog didn't permit talkback, so it remains forever wedded to the old journalism, which was me talking to you (or at you). Radio Free Dogpatch simply added an audio component.

  So why bother? Because I always liked radio. Like print (and unlike TV), radio requires that you, the audience, take an active role in your own entertainment by using your imagination to fill in the blanks. Adding sound to my portfolio provides me with a few additional tools to grab your attention — background music, sound effects, voices other than my own ... you get the picture. See it? It's right there, playing now, on the backside of your forehead.

  If you have to blame anyone for this diversion from the printed to the spoken word, you can start with The Firesign Theatre. First heard 'em in high school and they're still funny today. Then there's the National Lampoon Radio Hour, a precursor to both "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV," A Prairie Home Companion, Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre ... the list goes on and on.

  I lost interest in the medium for a few years, then returned to it in late 2013, hoping to hack a few new paths through the weeds clogging my aging cranium. If you'd like to blame anyone for this revival, there's Adventure Cyclist magazine, which has me shooting two-minute videos to accompany my print reviews of touring bike; and podcasters Diane Lees and Mike Creed, both of whom invited me to appear on their shows.

  My feeble attempts are likely to remain one-man bands, infrequent mini-rants with sound effects. As always, your thoughtful comments, sage advice, purposeless ravings and gibbering lunacy are welcome — send those cards and letters to Radio Free Dogpatch in care of Your Humble Narrator at maddogmedia [at] gmail [dot] com. And thanks for listening.

  Technical notes: Radio Free Dogpatch originally was produced on an Apple iBook G3 800 (OS X v10.2.8, 640MB RAM). Other hardware included an Audio-Technica PRO 24 stereo condenser microphone, a no-name Sony headset nicked from an FM/AM Walkman radio; and a Griffin iMic USB input/output adapter. The software, which came stock on the iBook, included Felt Tip's Sound Studio v2.0.7 (recording and mixing) and Apple's iTunes 3.0.1 (translating AIFF files to MP3). Things have become more complex since those early days. First I upgraded to a MacBook 2GHz Intel Core Duo and GarageBand 3.0.4, but kept jabbering into the Audio-Technica via the iMic. In 2013, I'm using a 3.06 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 12 GB of RAM, GarageBand '09, an Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lapel mic', and Sennheiser headphones. More complexity, same ol' song and dance.

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