Monday, March 16, 2009

Margin Notes: Obama, Hats, Radio, Ice

It sure looked like Barack Obama was visiting Toronto on 15-March-2009, but it was really just the Republic of Cork's entry in the St. Patrick's Day Parade

TORONTO, ONTARIO - President Barack Obama's popularity may be fading slightly in the United States, but he's still as popular as ever in Canada--and apparently in the Irish city of Cork. The "Republic of Cork"'s entry in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto held yesterday was an attempt to simulate what Obama's participation in the annual parade would look like. As the vehicle passed, the chant "Yes We Can!" could be heard with a bit of a brogue.

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An enthusiastic attendee of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 15-March-2009 modeled the "pint" hat

The new fashion for St. Patrick's Day this year seems to be a dark, nearly black top hat that upon closer inspection looks more like an oversize pint of Guinness with a layer of foam on top. A limited number of these hats were seen around the parade route in Toronto yesterday. Many more photos from the parade will be appearing on my photo site soon.

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Coverage of the parade was almost non-existent on CBC radio; coverage of cultural events beyond "Big City, Small World" on Saturdays is almost non-existent on the CBC on the weekend. Has anyone else noticed that CBC's "Nightly Review" of earlier programming that airs at 8 pm local time on weekdays has been playing material strictly from "The Current" of late? Once, the "Review" replayed segments from both the "The Current" and the now-canceled "Sounds Like Canada." After the new show "The Point" debuted, the "Review" was airing some segments from "The Point," but not lately. Is my original opinion of "The Point" proving widespread? Will that show--or for that matter, "The Current," survive what seems to be inevitable cutbacks at the CBC?

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Elsewhere in the radio world, some follow-up is due on KALW's attempt to get public input on its noon time slot. It auditioned four different shows as a potential replacement for a canceled national show, and General Manager Matt Martin asked for listener feedback on a blog. However, with no clear winner and not much passion for any of those alternatives, Martin took a suggestion and decided to introduce different weekly programs on each day. I applaud both Martin's methodology and the ultimate decision, which is in line with the KALW tradition of presenting diverse programming. I will continue to look to KALW as an example of a station that actually understands what it means to be a public radio station.

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In a final note from the audio realm, I knew I must be in the target demographic for the CNET News Daily Podcast because of their two advertisers--Amtrak's Acela Express high speed trains between Boston and Washington, and CBS Radio's newsradio stations (like WCBS in New York, KCBS in San Francisco and WBBM in Chicago). Those are products that I tend to use whenever I'm in a position to do so--though neither is accessible to me here in Toronto.

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A strange ice formation was noted above the Humber River in Toronto, Ontario on 13-March-2009

Easily accessible to me in Toronto is the Humber River. When walking along the urban refuge on Friday, I noted a number of these unusual ice formations pictured above. They seemed to have formed from a combination of flooding conditions and near-freezing temperatures, but they certainly struck me as unusual--and they were a reminder of the fact that while spring may start officially on Friday, winter is not over yet!

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