With help and a connection from my project Adviser Kirsten Ervin, I was able to be a guest on an RIS radio show called Town Talk. RIS stands for Radio Information Service–I’ve mentioned them before on the blog. The interview was recorded yesterday, and will be broadcast this coming Sunday. I would invite everyone to hear it, but RIS is only available to anyone with a disability that prohibits them from seeing or holding print materials. The host of the show, Marilyn Egan, explained that because copyrighted material is read over the airwaves to its constituency (such as the daily headline content from newspapers), the general public may not tune into the station.
I had a lovely conversation with host Marilyn Egan of Town Talk. She’s volunteered for RIS (Radio Information Service) for more than 25 years. I also know Marilyn from my collaborative work with the Pittsburgh Opera. She is their Director of Education. It was fun talking to Marilyn about the ringtone project because she has studied Ethnomusicology–she enjoyed describing the Gamelan and Mbira instruments for her listeners. She’s also a very sharp thinker, so she sent some provocative questions and prompts my way regarding media literacy and nascent technology issues. She talked about her experiences out in the world as an educator, when she observes people who are so engaged with localized media technology (texting, emailing, twittering via cell phones), that they’re not fully present or focused on experiences at hand. I mentioned a term I like to use to describe this sort of situation called “continuous partial attention.”
And instances in which people aren’t very attentive because of their engagement with cell phones doesn’t just bother Marilyn–they also bother our President’s Press Secretary. The Colbert Report had a funny segment which aired last night on how Robert Gibbs hates ringing cell phones during his press conferences.
The kicker for me, though, is that neither of the ringtones that went off during that session were very interesting! I mean, if you’re going to interrupt the President’s Press Secretary, it might as well be at least somewhat interesting, like the Hobo’s Da Man ringtone or Taylor’s tone.