A Complex Carrier

May 29th, 2010 | Series:

It’s nearly 1am on Saturday. I haven’t slept more than 5 hours in the past 3 days. My body’s about to quit on me. But something has compelled me to be up right now and writing this post… and that something is Scott Carrier.

Scott Carrier presents on Friday at Deep Wireless/Radio Without Boundaries

Scott Carrier presents on Friday at Deep Wireless/Radio Without Boundaries

For those who don’t know his work – lucky you. When you’re having an especially dark day or moment that makes you question whether anything could possibly inspire you ever again – click HERE. There now, that should keep your ears busy for a few weeks.

I’m doing my best not to drown this post in hyperbole, so I’ll just leave it here at my non-secret that I’m a bit of a fan of his work. And I’ve intercepted more than a few whispers from folks at this festival that Scott’s been a big reason for them either getting involved in radio, keeping them involved in radio, or making them believe clearly and more fervently in the power of the voice and the story and the medium and the struggle. Which makes moments like these from Scott’s afternoon session keep a person like me up at night:

SCOTT: “I look for the soul qualities of what you can hear from someone’s voice – whether I think I can hear the soul of the person in their voice. When I hear American radio – that’s what I think is missing – it’s soulless, empty and dead…I don’t think it’s going to come back – I don’t think there’s going to be resurgence – not in my lifetime. I think it’s over in the United States.”

Say WHAAA? A radio hero despairs. A radio audience containing radio newbies and radio hopefuls crinkle foreheads and hearts ever-so-slightly sink.

We see Scott’s points and our brains churn for evidence to the contrary. And he has many reasons to justify the additional opinions he holds concerning the state of the industry. Fellow blogger Andrea Silenzi filmed some of those thoughts as we went out for coffee with him after his session. So we’ll let Scott tell you them in his own voice. Click HERE for that video.

And It may just be that we’re all used to hearing talented people who have “made it” spouting pep-talks at such events, assuming the role of cheerleaders with niceties about how all it takes is hard work, determination, a vision and perhaps a dollop of luck. But Scott made no such overtures. He was stone-cold honest – just as he is in his work. I respect his consistency.

scott with andrea

Plotting an escape for radio’s survival.

Despite Scott’s dire predictions on the future of the medium, he remains one of the most compelling storytellers working today. In his afternoon session at Radio Without Boundaries, he shared excerpts from three of his stories including, “The West Desert” and “The Neighborhood” (which he explained was a kind of audio inspired version of this photography book “Suburbia” by Bill Owens).

And hearing these pieces again got me excited enough to have spent this perfectly summery Friday evening holding my dear friend Melissa contentedly hostage, DJing her Carrier pieces deep into the night/morning.

Proof:

Melissa is rapt as she listens to "Invisible Girl"

Melissa is rapt as she listens to “Invisible Girl” by Scott Carrier

Maybe we’ll decide on whether it’s wise or not to subscribe to Scott’s predictions about radio’s future after a few more of his pieces… and maybe a little bit of sleep. For now, we’re too inspired for a full on heartache.

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SLIGHT UPDATE: In the week since the Festival and the Carrier conversation I found this fascinating article in the Atlantic that Scott may find intriguing and perhaps even cause for hope. Although it focuses much on print media, there are reverberations that could certainly echo through radio. As the kids say, time will tell…

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