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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Podcasters interview Burlington Telecom Director

Two weeks ago, Tim Nulty , director of Burlington Telecom, the city's municipally owned fiber-optic network, stopped by the Radio Bean coffeehouse to take part in Bill Simmon's Friday Coffeeblogging podcast. Nulty, fyi, is a former chief economist for the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, a former senior economist and project manager for the World Bank, and worked for two years as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy. The podcast is available here  (thanks, Bill).

This is a noteworthy event. If you haven't tried podcasts yet, try listening to this one (ideally on iTunes 4.9). I haven't heard it yet, so I can't vouch for it, but I was there, listening in, while they recorded most of it, and I was impressed. Why? Because these guys aren't professional journalists. They're not reporters, or talk show hosts. They're just a few nerdy guys who sit in a coffeeshop on Friday afternoons, talking into their overlarge microphones while IMing friends on their laptops. And yet, here they are, broadcasting the first real extended interview with a guy who's in charge of a controversial and innovative multi-million dollar municipal project that's raising eyebrows  across the nation.

It worked, I thought, because though they're not reporters, the fcb guys are Nulty's second most critical audience (behind the pro-privatization industry types). These guys know more about the technological capabilities of Nulty's network than most reporters — including this one — ever will. The Burlington Telecom Project hasn't received nearly enough scrutiny or publicity. The public really doesn't understand what's going on or why. I think that's partly because news reporters don't know how to report on it. It's complicated, technological stuff, and they'd don't get it. And for the most part, they don't try. Obviously technological issues aren't on the radar screen  of most of the Vermont media.

We need an extended public conversation about these issues, and right now, you can't look to WCAX, or VPR, or the Burlington Free Press to find it. But you can download this podcast. This is new media, flexing its muscles. The old guard had better start paying attention.

June 30, 2005 at 09:51 AM | Permalink


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Tracked on Jun 30, 2005 4:56:46 PM


When I saw this I also thought it was cool.

It would be great if someone, if not fcb, interviewed local people about stuff they are experts in (local, national, art, whatever). It would be another way to get news out there by non-news people (who have their own many reasons for not doing more of that).

I don't understand the full Burlington Telecom issue, so I am looking forward to listening to this. (and I don't listen to the regular podcasts; hint: there's a market for this kind of stuff)

Posted by: Eve | Jun 30, 2005 10:52:53 AM

Now this podcasting thing is starting to make a little more sense to me.

I have tons of $$ sunk into various technology, none of which is a laptop. I think it's the last step before total geekdom.

I hope Burlington Telecom puts computer chips in our heads.

Posted by: casey | Jun 30, 2005 12:01:27 PM

Ok, I listened to the podcast. I found it kinda hard to hear, but very informative. And fun. If you're a techie, and you haven't been keeping up with the project, this is a must-hear.

Posted by: cresmer | Jun 30, 2005 2:25:18 PM

Yes, Tim didn't hold his microphone very close to his mouth and I had to keep turning up his level. It's a problem that comes from being the "host" and engineer all at once.

Thanks for the great post, Cathy.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Jun 30, 2005 4:50:03 PM

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