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Where's My Jetpack?
30 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
Real AI for Risk Prediction
Canada’s biggest life insurance company has seen a lot of change in its history. Not since the invention of the adding machine a year after Manulife first opened its doors in 1887 has the company had a more powerful tool at its disposal. And this tool predicts the future.
25 minutes | Sep 11, 2021
Real AI for Missing Children
Every parent knows the heart-stopping experience of losing sight of their child at a park or that first time they go out into the world with their friends. More than 30,000 children disappear every year, and while most of them are found within 24 hours, time is critical for investigators compiling the case. Missing Children Society of Canada is leveraging artificial intelligence to comb through social media accounts looking for critical clues in a race against the clock. Our Michael Hainsworth spoke to @MCSCanada's @AmandaRightNow and Microsoft's @WirelessLife to learn how #RealAI is being used to reunite families.
36 minutes | Aug 19, 2021
Real AI for Healthcare
Real AI is being used today to help stop a killer in its tracks, one that will claim 25% of Canadians in their lifetimes. At BC Cancer in Vancouver, Doctor Sam Aparicio says he has “huge optimism” over the role artificial intelligence is playing in cancer research and precision treatment. Meantime, AI is being used to make hospitals more efficient for patients, families, and staff.
18 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
Real AI For Agriculture and Climate Change
"We're eating the planet to death," we're warned. But Real AI is being used today to fight climate change while feeding more of us more efficiently. Terramera's Karn Manhas and Ranveer Chandra of Microsoft show Michael Hainsworth how artificial intelligence is being used for the good of the planet and its people.
32 minutes | May 20, 2021
Real AI for Sustainability in the Public Sector
Artificial Intelligence is being deployed to protect the environment by cleaning up abandoned mines, determining the best locations for electric vehicle charging stations, and keeping cheating appliances off the electrical grid. At Natural Resources Canada, Vik Pant is leading the charge, but he can’t do it alone. “That's not something that can be done humanly at any scale,” he says. There’s simply too much data to wade through.
1 minutes | May 20, 2021
Geeks & Beats Announcement
Big news from the world's most popular podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth!
77 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Series Finale Intern Appreciation Livestream
COVID-19 killed Geeks & Beats. While Alan and Michael are still healthy, so is the demand for business to business podcasts and a documentary series. Join The Internet's Favourite Dad, Brittlestar, as he hogs the virtual open bar while we thank members of the World's Worst Intern Program one last time as we talk about 8 years of The World's Most Popular Podcast (with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth)
33 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
Raffi vs. Fascism, Black Lives Matter, and Augmented Reality
The children's musician Raffi on fighting fascism, supporting Black Lives Matter, taking piano lessons at 75, and the science of writing children's music. Plus: why he's not answering the Augmented Reality call on Bananaphone 2.0
30 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Neil Peart and the Apple Announcement
Rush fans don't need to be told Neil Peart is a percussive hero, but on what would have been his 68 birthday. A Chinese smartphone maker eclipses Apple after Cupertino fails to release a new iPhone. And an American fighter pilot claims aliens have committed an act of war. Wait, what?
32 minutes | Sep 8, 2020
The Elmo is Back
It’s finally happening: A beloved Toronto music venue, the El Mocambo, is coming back to life, palm tree lights and all. Delayed by COVID-19 and the cruel hands of fate, the El Mo will livestream its first concert on September 10, a performance from Big Wreck on the venue’s second-floor stage.
35 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
How COVID-19 tech changed society and sex
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZmV88Rk0Pg&w=560&h=315] Sex Tech CEO Lora Dicarlo joins us to talk about what COVID-19 has changed in society and sex, and why the last thing you want is your Internet-connected dildo hacked by the Chinese. QR Codes, Video Conferences and Sex: Covid-19 Really Did Change Everything by Amber Healy Think back on the state of the world in January. Filled with the optimism of a new year, all bright and shiny with possibility, we went about our lives, maskless, taking for granted things like going out for dinner or drinks, watercooler chats with coworkers and maybe even the giddy anticipation of first dates. We were all unaware suckers. With the type of fury saved for mothers whose children have hung up on them angrily, or the historic trope of the “woman scorned,” COVID-19 giggled at our innocence and optimism and smacked us all around. We’ve changed since then. We’re weary and cautious, knowing germs are everywhere and anywhere. We spent a good portion of the year inside. When was the last time you shook someone’s hand? If the answer isn’t “Um...March, I think?” you’re doing it wrong. But not all is lost! There are some ways in which COVID might have a positive influence on our world, at least from a technological standpoint. QR Codes: Those weird little boxes now tell you what’s for dinner QR -- or quick response -- codes have been around since 1994, believe it or don’t. Invented by Denso Wave, a Japanese company, QR codes were designed to be a faster kind of barcode for products, parts and other items. Among the first adopters were auto manufacturers to make shipping and production more efficient. Eventually that grew from internal corporate uses, including food safety tracing following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, aka mad cow disease, QR codes were slowly introduced to consumers in the early 21st Century But no one knew what to do with them. You’d have to download a special app to read them. Sometimes they worked, most often they didn’t. After a while, they were just boxes that looked odd and were ignored. When COVID-19 hit, throwing everything into a tailspin, some retailers got smart. If customers are supposed to stay socially distant, and if controlling and limiting the spread of germs is of the utmost importance, could QR codes be used to point and shop instead? QR codes are perfect for a pandemic-stricken world. Bars and restaurants have embraced with joy using QR codes taped or otherwise affixed to tables, doors, windows and other surfaces to allow patrons to read their menus without having to print out and sanitize them daily. Some are making it possible to incorporate online ordering via QR code-enabled functions, with patrons receiving a text when their order is ready. This not only limits interactions between customers and waitstaff -- angels and brave souls who do NOT get paid enough to risk their health in these times, by the way -- but it also allows establishments to have fewer staff on hand at any given time. This saves financial resources at a time when every dollar counts. It’s an elegant solution, really, and one that’s likely to survive into the future. Not having to print menus saves money and time. It’s more sanitary. It’s easier to update an app or website linked to a QR code, and so much faster, than having to create new tangible menus when seasons change. Some customers had grown a little more comfortable with QR codes, pre-COVID, as retailers like Starbucks, Macy’s, Whole Foods and some drug stores began using them as contact-free payment methods or linked with their loyalty rewards programs. It also helps that it’s gotten easier to use QR codes -- no longer is a special app needed to make them work! Most newer smartphones have QR code readers integrated into their camera. Just open your camera, point it at the code and voila, there you have it. Businesses were starting to feel optimistic about broader adoption of QR codes before the pandemic. A 2018 study from Juniper Research anticipated 5,3 billion QR-based transactions by 2022, a 400% increase over the 1.3 billion transactions in 2017. But COVID is likely going to help shatter that expectation now that North American and Western markets are buying in big time. Video Calls: Why wear pants to talk business? People love crediting The Simpsons with “predicting” the future, but let’s talk about the Jetsons. The show began in 1962 and anticipated treadmills, nutrition supplements to take the place of food, flying cars (ok, they weren’t perfect) and video calls. The concept, and the technology, didn’t appear in a real, useful way until 2003 when Skype was rolled out. But most people who downloaded the program used it as a way to make free phone calls to other users, or to keep in touch with international friends before limitless texting or social media was as widespread and easy as it is now. Skype was one of the first voice-over-internet protocol communication systems, retrofitting your computer to act as your phone instead of the other way around. By 2011, it was the cornerstone of Facebook’s video chat service. Facetime was introduced with the iPhone 4 in 2010, but only really benefited other iPhone users. But for non-iPhone users, for workplaces and for people who want to see their far-flung friends and relatives, COVID made it easier, and far more popular, to adopt video calling capabilities. When offices were forced to close in early 2020, there was an immediate need for people to communicate and try and mimic the daily meetings and office check-ins they were used to in their places of employment. Very few places went to Skype for assistance. Instead, products like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, even Slack became the glue that held corporate life together. Zoom, and similar apps like HouseParty, also brought friends together for socially distant gatherings and celebrations -- I had a series of video calls around my birthday at the end of April with family and friends -- while video call capabilities were integrated into Twitter and Instagram to make being face-to-face while socially distant even easier. Zoominfo.com, a totally unrelated publication, found that video conferencing has grown an astonishing (but not really) 87% in the first part of 2020 alone. While other apps and companies also saw a bump, Zoom itself saw a 418% growth in adoption in just two months. The casual user can sign up for a Zoom account and make unlimited 40-minute calls for free. Business clients can make longer calls for a subscription. And at this point, we’ve all had a chance to play around with the various stock and customizable backgrounds built into the platform to fancy up those boring conference calls. A video game developer also said, very simply, the call quality is just better in Zoom than other apps, including Google Hangouts. Smartly, Zoom also announced early on in lockdown that it was making its technology available for free for school districts as a way to try and help kids and teachers stay connected and finish the year from their homes. The bottom line: there’s a reason retailers are now offering “video conferencing style” sections in their clothing ads. As workplaces find a way forward in the era of social distancing, video conferencing is an effective tool to keep workers connected, allow managers to check up on employees, and it’s not likely to fade away when a vaccine allows everyone to return to the brick-and-mortar office. Assuming that happens. Someday. Sex, coronavirus and technology: Bedfellows with benefits How, in the world of a highly contagious and possibly fatal disease, are people having sex with their partners? Is the risk an adrenaline junkie’s aphrodisiac? Are there some who find masks irresistible? Does the pandemic make a naughty nurse fantasy even more enticing? Early on in the lockdown, the New York City Department of Health released some guidance to help people stay safe while getting their rocks off. In advice that spread as quickly as the virus itself, the city reminded people that “you are your safest sex partner” while also providing some, uh, tips for those who wanted to share the experience. The department also encouraged holding off on threesomes or other group sex romps, to wear face coverings (in addition to condoms, of course) and avoid kissing, and to consider taking a break from in-person hookups. “Video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, sexy ‘Zoom parties’ or chat rooms may be options for you,” the advice continues. In what might be a first, NYC also encouraged people to incorporate kink: “Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face-to-face contact.” It also urged people to explore mutual masturbation -- each partner taking care of themselves while close to the other, but with physical distancing and face coverings to reduce the risk of transmission. Sex workers were given similar advice by the government of British Columbia, acknowledging the “considerable support” these men and women were providing each other in this difficult time - emotionally and financially. It also encourages the use of sexting, video calls and other communication tools, along with “less is more” methods of arousal like erotic massage, stripteases and positions that don’t involve face-to-face contact. But let’s be honest: We want to know how sex will be transformed by technology as a result of COVID. “Sex tech is more than sex toys or objects used for sexual stimulation,” starts an article in The Conversation. “It is a billion-dollar industry that builds a wide range of products for interactive, immersive and connected erotic experiences. This includes but is not limited to: virtual, augmented and mixed reality, ‘teledildonics,’ dating applications and platforms, online erotic games and artificial erotic agents (or erobots) such as sex robots, virtual partners or erotic chatbots.” The sale of sex toys and dolls has exploded in the past few months, as has the market for sex-tech startups. A study on erobotics from the University of Montreal found that the “private sector is racing to develop new erotic products, to occupy an untapped sextech market that is estimated to be worth $30-$120 billion.” Teledildonics, or smart sex toys connected to the internet and, therefore, partners in other locations, have been on the fringe for a while, but according to Cams.com, there’s been a 20% increase in people logging into websites and interacting with sex workers and model’s toys since the onset of COVID. The models’ income also increased by about 20% at the same time. InputMag did a deep dive into smart sex techology and found any and all kinds of connected technology have seen profound increases in interest and usage since lockdowns started in March. At the same time, familiar partners and players, like Pornhub and other erotic sites, saw a spike in traffic almost immediately -- Pornhub alone saw a 13.7% spike in traffic in March alone -- while apps designed around sex have also received more attention. Spain-based Emjoy, “an erotic audio guide app,” had a 45% increase in downloads since early March, along with a 160% increase in usage; Beducated, based in Munich, had 185% more activity, mostly from binge-watching sexual education courses. When it comes to toys and accessories, especially of the higher-tech variety, the market has mostly been dominated by products designed by men with their needs and interests in mind. Lora DiCarlo, a woman-led company, is changing that. If the name sounds familiar, it should-- in 2019, the company was awarded a highly coveted recognition from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for its Ose’ product for women, only to have the award taken away and deemed inappropriate, despite dozens of other male-oriented devices not only recognized but openly displayed on the convention floor. CES later thought better of it and re-awarded Ose its Innovative Robotics Award after facing considerable backlash for being straight-up sexist. “When women and femmes show up in the technology industry, consumers get their hands on incredible devices designed specifically for clitorial and G-spot stimulation, achieving incredible partner or solo blended orgasms,” the company states on its blog. “Female-founded companies promote both pleasure and equity through high-tech microrobotics.” The company offers not only toys for women, but access to certified sexual wellness coaches -- sex isn’t just about getting off, it’s a key component in overall health, and let’s face it, our physical and mental health is pretty taxed right now. Moving beyond toys for solo or partner use, there’s also the possibility that people will embrace virtual or augmented reality to simulate sex with digital partners in virtual worlds, or go beyond that and take up extended reality (XR), a technology just starting to be used by doctors to train their colleagues around the world in a shared virtual environment. Just be safe out there, friends. And be like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: No kissing on the mouth.
30 minutes | Aug 4, 2020
Digital vs. Analogue Audio with Glenn Schick
We take a deep dive into your Dad’s stereo with Grammy winner Glenn Schick. We also find out why Alan can’t listen to Classical music on Compact Disc, and discover why an audio format that couldn’t beat the CD in the ’90s may be the next big thing in the ’20s thanks to 5G. The post Digital vs. Analogue Audio with Glenn Schick appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
37 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Mental Health and the Entertainment Industry with TSN’s Michael Landsberg
Wasn’t Kurt Cobain’s suicide a wakeup call? TSN’s Michael Landsberg knows how to talk about mental health issues. And on what would have been Robin Williams’ 69th birthday, the geeks speak about a topic that seems to have been largely swept under the rug by the entertainment industry. Robin Williams’ passing got us talking The entertainment industry can be all flashy lights, glitter, limousines, and big homes. It could also be a dark, lonely, and depressing spot to be in. The stories of celebrities taking their own lives have been sadly common in the past few years. It’s sad to think that our larger than life favourites weren’t as happy as we thought. Let’s take Robin Williams – who would’ve turned 69 this week – as an example. After Williams died, we cried, laughed, and mourned. The reality set in and we were confused. How can arguably one of the most naturally gifted comics of all time take his own life? This unexpected bombshell lit the helplines up like Patch Adams’ red nose. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline saw a surge in callers. The loss of Williams had everyone reeling. Soon after his passing it was revealed that Williams had Parkinson’s disease. Scratch that – Robin Williams had Lewy Body Dementia. He was drifting away Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider Williams, published an article called “The terrorist inside my husband’s brain” in the journal Neurology. She wrote about the joy of their relationship and she notes that many months before he died, Robin was under the care of doctors for many of symptoms including gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, and a tremor. He was treated with both psychotherapy and psychotropic medications. He went to Stanford for hypnosis to treat his anxiety. He exercised with a physical trainer. His voice weakened, left hand tremor was continuous and he had a slow, shuffling gait. He was beginning to have trouble with visual and spatial abilities in the way of judging distance and depth. His loss of basic reasoning just added to his growing confusion. The very complicated question In the article “Lessons On Depression From The Life Of A Beloved Celebrity” by Steven Schlozman, M.D. he answered the question of why Robin would take his own life. “This is, of course, a great and very complicated question”. “It’s not a great question because it’s perplexing; it’s a great question because it reminds us all that we are vulnerable to all sorts of diseases, and that these diseases sometimes win. Would the question be as potent if it concerned a different celebrity’s battle with cancer? Probably not, but it ought to be. Cancer, depression, substance use disorders…these are all diseases. They all have proven treatments, and we as a society need to remember that,” he wrote. “We also, however, need to remember that sometimes the disease wins. Whether the disease wins or not is not tied to talent or fortune; it is tied to the unique vulnerabilities of the individual and the disease from which he or she suffers.” Schlozman concluded, “We are all human, no matter how beautiful, rich or talented. We all have our histories, our vulnerabilities and our illnesses.” Mental health in the entertainment industry outside of North America While names like Williams, Anthony Bourdain and Avicii are some of the latest names to fall to their demons, mental health isn’t just a thing in the North American entertainment industry. Back in June, Sushant Singh Rajput, a 34-year old Bollywood actor that stunned fans in several top-drawing films, died by suicide. Rajput was found dead at his residence in Mumbai. Reports confirmed that he allegedly suffered from clinical depression because of a professional rivalry. Several of the actor’s friends in the industry spoke out about his struggles to make it. Others are pointing their fingers to the closed culture in Bollywood. “I knew the pain you were going through. I knew the story of the people who let you down so bad that you used to weep on my shoulder,” Shekhar Kapur, who was supposed to direct Rajput in a film that was eventually shelved, wrote in a tweet soon after the passing. In a separate tweet, actress Swara Bhasker called accusations against Bollywood personalities “the height of idiocy.” “We don’t know what he (Rajput) went thru. We don’t know the cause. STOP taking out your frustration using the pain of a troubled person… Let him have his peace & his family privacy,” she tweeted. Korea’s entertainment industry does some soul searching From Bollywood to the K-pop music scene. Two beloved female stars, Sulli and Goo Hara, ended their own lives in two months, exposing the painful side of being a K-pop idol. The K-pop phenomenon gets dismantled largely through social media. Their stars are exposed to both a flood of fan letters and hurtful comments and cyberbullying on everything from their looks to their singing skills to their private lives. “From an early age, they live a mechanical life, going through a spartan training regimen,” said Lee Hark-joon, a South Korean journalist who has produced a TV documentary on the making of a K-pop girl group and co-wrote the book K-pop Idols: Popular Culture and the Emergence of the Korean Music Industry. “They seldom have a chance to develop a normal school life or normal social relationships as their peers do.” “Their fall can be as sudden and as dramatic as their rise to the height of fame,” and all at a young age, Hark-joon added. “Theirs is a profession especially vulnerable to psychological distress — they are scrutinized on social media around the clock, and fake news about their private lives is spread instantly.” Sleep tight Goo was a former member of K-pop group, Kara. She had struggled with online abuse. The trolls spread rumours about her looks and how she had gone under the knife. Things got worse when she booked up with her boyfriend. More rumours spread that the two had a sex video. “I won’t be lenient on these vicious commentaries any more,” Goo wrote on her Instagram complaining about her mental health and depression. “Public entertainers like myself don’t have it easy — we have our private lives more scrutinized than anyone else and we suffer the kind of pain we cannot even discuss with our family and friends,” she said. “Can you please ask yourself what kind of person you are before you post a vicious comment online?” Goo’s suicide prompted a number of people who supported an online petition to the office of President Moon Jae-in asking for harsher punishment for sexual harassment. The petition more than doubled to 217,000 since her suicide was reported. In her last Instagram message, Goo uploaded a photo of her lying on her bed. She wrote “Jalja,” which is translated to, “sleep tight.” Is Hollywood doing enough? In 2017, the U.S rate was 14 per 100,000 people, up 33 percent from 1999. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 35. That’s right, as young as 10. According to the CDC, the highest female suicide rate from 2012 to 2015 occurred in the combined fields of arts, design, entertainment, sports and media. The World Health Organization states that around one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. UTA board member Tracey Jacobs tells us, “The pressure to perform, coupled with the intense proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, has affected young people in a way that many of my peers did not experience in their careers. Those factors can be overwhelming and often toxic.” L.A.-based psychotherapist Ira Israel, author of the book How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult, believes that anxiety and depression are especially prevalent in entertainment “because the stakes are so high. The industry attracts highly competitive people who believe they are playing a zero-sum game, and the spoils of war — cars, homes, offices — are excessively conspicuous. The power games and exploitation in Hollywood foment countless afflictions and addictions.” Euphoria is one of the few shows that talks about mental health Hollywood is doing better at using mental health as part of show storylines. There’s 13 Reasons Why. Other shows like ABC’s Million Little Things, HBO’s Euphoria centre around a tale of mental health. But within Hollywood, companies haven’t offered much beyond the basics — typically three free counselling sessions through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some have upped the benefit, including Hulu that offers six free in-person sessions per year. Over at Netflix, they get eight. NBC/Universal gives out ten. But the severity of the issues seems to be awakening Hollywood. The fact that it needs to do more in its own ranks, especially given that these are businesses where the most precious capital is brain power. “Mental health should be a priority for all of us,” says Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, who suffered from OCD and depression in his childhood. “We need to do anything we can in Hollywood to discuss it and create exposure.” Adds Jacobs: “I’ve experienced mental health issues within my own family and have seen the pain and devastation it causes. Like cancer, mental illness is a serious disease that needs to be treated. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma.” The post Mental Health and the Entertainment Industry with TSN’s Michael Landsberg appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
49 minutes | Jul 14, 2020
Before there was MTV with Tarzan Dan
MTV is pushing 40?!? Tarzan Dan from YTV’s Hit List drops by Studio 3B to talk about those in music television who came before him, he and Alan swap tops on how to interview a rock star, and we find out how he reacted to landing in the pages of Canadian music history. MTV airing The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” to launch the network was not the first music video ever broadcast. Nor was it the first music video ever made. It was far from the first time music appeared on TV, that’s for sure. But the two pop culture staples have often worked hand-in-hand for entertainment and cross-promotional purposes, a practice that dates back to at least the 1950s. How old are music videos? What qualifies as the first music video is up for some debate. For example, waaaaaaay back in 1894, a pair of sheet music publishers, Edward Marks and Joe Stern, hired an electrician named George Thomas, along with some musicians, to promote the sale of their new song, “The Little Lost Child.” Using a very early form of movies, a series of images set to live performed music was displayed and came to be known as the “illustrated song.” Does that make it the first video? Jump ahead to the late 1920s, as the “talkies” started to take the world by storm, and Vitaphone started producing shorts with bands, singers and dancers. Max Fleischer, an animator, produced a series of short cartoons called “Screen Songs,” which were kind of like a precursor to karaoke, in that the audience was encouraged to sing along. By the 1930s, we have the legendary incorporation of opera music into Looney Tunes cartoons — Elmer Fudd as a viking, anyone? — followed soon thereafter by Walt Disney’s Fantasia, one of the most visually and artistically stunning creations of all time (think about how painstakingly it was produced and how incredibly imaginative it was at the time before arguing this point). By the 1940s, we’re into the era of short films set to music, such as those from musician Louis Jordan, including a feature-length film called “Lookout Sister.” That’s been added to the LIbrary of Congress to be preserved for its historical significance. Tony Bennett claims he created the first music video with 1956’s “Stranger in Paradise.” His label at the time filmed the crooner walking through London’s Hyde Park and added that song behind it. The video was sent to TV networks in the U.S. and UK and it played several times on American Bandstand. About that Bandstand Two shows are inextricably tied to music and teenage culture in the United States: American Bandstand and the Ed Sullivan Show. The so-called perpetual teenager, Dick Clark was the affable host who helped provide apple-cheeked youngsters a place to dance, wholesomely, to some of the country’s top pop bands. The show started on Philadelphia public TV in October 1952 and ran well into the 1980s, featuring a respectable variety of genres: doo-wop, teeny boppers, psychedielic rock, disco and hip-hop over the course of its 30 years. Clark took over for the show’s original host (after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated) and helped kickoff the career of Paul Anka, the first performer to make his debut on a nationally televised show. A few months into Clark’s tenure, the show moved to Monday nights from 3:30 p.m. and expanded to a full hour, but the ratings tanked and they moved it back to the afternoon time slot, until it was eventually so popular and so important, it was moved to Saturdays. From then on, anyone who was anyone played Bandstand: Sonny and Cher, Gladys Knight, Ike and Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder (just 12 at the time!), Aretha Franklin, The 5th Dimension, The Doors, Michael Jackson as a solo artist and as part of the Jackson 5, Little Richard, Paul Revere, Annette Funicello, even Talking Heads and Prince. All good things must end, of course, and after refusing to cut back from a hour-long show to 30 minutes, Dick Clark left, the show moved from ABC to the USANetwork and, six months later, on October 7, 1989, the curtain fell for the last time. Equally important was The Ed Sullivan Show, famously the host of the Beatles debut in the U.S. It went on the air earlier than Bandstand, starting in 1948 when TV was still relatively new, and folded sooner, in 1971,but by that point the influence was obvious and unmistakable. In many ways, Sullivan was the polar opposite of Clark: Awkward, not all that telegenic, often tripping over his words when introducing his guests, which were not limited to just musicians but also comedians and casts from Broadway plays. But in many ways, his awkwardness was part of his charm. Sullivan has the distinction of twice breaking TV records, drawing in millions of viewers when Elvis Presley performed in 1955, swiveling those controversial hips — think of the children! — and again in 1964 when he introduced North America to the Beatles during their first trip to New York. That remains one of the most-watched episodes of television in history, nearly 60 years later. It’s the night that the British Invasion really hit audiences hard on this side of the pond. He also had more controversy than Clark: He booted the Rolling Stones from coming back after their first performance went a little off the rails. He had to explain to the audience why Bob Dylan didn’t appear after Dylan was prohibited from singing “Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues,” about the hunt for Communists in the U.S. at the time. And then there’s the incident with The Doors, who were famously asked to change the lyrics to “Light My Fire,” removing the line “girl we couldn’t get much higher” because, y’know, drugs are bad, kids. Jim Morrison sang it anyway, looking directly into the camera to avoid any kind of confusion about his intent. They were not invited back. There were others, of course, including Dick Cavett’s long-running shows in which he interviewed some of the biggest stars of the 1960s and 1970s, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon with Yoko Ono. Cavett would also interview politicians and Hollywood types and musical performances were few, but he deserves mention here for the conversations he hosted. Let’s also tip our caps to Lawrence Welk. The adults in the room needed their entertainment too, with ballroom dancing and all those bubbles. Let’s Get Dancing The immediate precursor to MTV and its ilk were dance shows. We’re definitely not talking about Welk here. Also not talking about Dancing with the Stars. Shows like Solid Gold and Soul Train blew open the doors for people who were bored with the dancing on Bandstand — though early-career Madonna had fun with her club-kid look and moves. Soul Train started in Chicago in 1965 when a UHF station broadcast two dance programs aimed at younger viewers: Kiddie-a-Go-Go and Red Hot and Blues. Both programs had predominantly Black audiences and in-house performers dancing to records. Don Cornelius, the host most dearly associated with Soul Train, was hired by the station in 1967 as a news and sports reporter,but he also hosted a series of local talent concerts that he called the Soul Train. By 1970, WICU saw what he was doing and offered him the chance to bring the concerts to TV. They secured a sponsorship with Sears & Roebuck and, on August 17, 1970, a legend was born. The show aired live on weekday afternoons, first in black and white, with Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites and the Emotions as the first guests. At first only viewed in Chicago, by the end of the first season, Soul Train was on in 18 market and was the only commercial program produced by Black talent for Black audiences. It was moved to Los Angeles and went into syndication, becoming one of the longest-running TV shows in history, with 1,117 episodes over 35 seasons. Cornelius would host the local Chicago-based version of Soul Train in addition to the national LA-based show, eventually focusing more on the national while still overseeing production in Chicago. The only episode Cornelius didn’t host was the finale of the 1974-75 season; hosting duties that day went to Richard Pryor. For Black audiences, this was the representation they needed, wanted and deserved. It was fine to see the Jackson 5 and other artists on Bandstand, but most of the artists there were white. Soul Train featured Black artists almost exclusively — among the few exceptions were the Beastie Boys and David Bowie. Eventually, as hip hop and rap became more popular, Cornelius spoke openly and often about not understanding the music, in addition to not liking the more sexually aggressive dancing from some groups and their fans. He eventually stepped down as host in the early 1990s, but the show lost momentum and faltered, finally ending for good in 2006. When Cornelius died in 2012, fans and devotees of his work arranged flash mobs in cities across the U.S., wearing their finest ‘70s clothes and dancing in his memory. Solid Gold was, in many ways, an imitation of what Bandstand and Soul Train already did really well. One of the key differences was that the dancers on Solid Gold were professional, performing choreographed routines instead of representing the dance moves of the moment. It did bring on some popular performers of the time, but also felt more like a mix between a music show and a workout tape at a time when those were beginning to gain traction, thanks to Jane Fonda and Denise Austin. The show lasted a little less than eight years, running from September 1980 until July 1988. Dionne Warwick hosted the first season and picked up duties again from 1985-86, with other comedians and radio personalities taking up the helm. The show also had a big countdown episode each January, hosted by Warwick and Glen Campbell the first year. And unlike other shows, the music on each week’s episode was determined by Radio & Records, an industry trade newspaper. Cue the Video To bring things back to the beginning, MTV launched in August 1981. Solid Gold, American Bandstand, late-night TV talk shows and other programs were still on the air, showcasing musical guests, but videos were at the heart and soul of MTV in its early days. What a time it was. MTV, based in New York City, might have the first to run videos almost all the time, but credit where it’s due: Canada had two dedicated shows, both on CBC: Video Hits, a daily afternoon show, and Good Rockin’ Tonite, which aired on Friday nights. Video Hits was 30 minutes, Good Rockin’ Tonight ran for an hour, but they both offered almost the only opportunity to see videos by Canadian artists (in addition to international stars) without needing a cable subscription. Full disclosure: I have vivid memories of watching Video Hits with my mom in the early 1980s. She had me when she was almost 20 and was still a big music fan, so we’d sit down in front of the TV at my grandparents’ house, making sure the antenna was juuuuust right so we could get a clear signal from across the lake. I have to credit Video Hits for sparking a love of Canadian music in particular that very much continues to this day. Both Good Rockin’ Tonite and Video Hits were cancelled in the early 1990s, airing their final episodes one day apart and bowing out of the way for the juggernaut that was MuchMusic. Smartly, there was a show aimed directly at kids — The Hit List, hosted by “Tarzan” Dan Freeman, on YTV. It lasted 14 seasons, starting in 1991, and had an all-star guest list, ranging from Weird Al Yankovic, boy band show stoppers Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, Hanson, as well as singers of interest to parents, like the Smashing Pumpkins, Simple Plan and Alanis Morissette. “Tarzan” Dan hosted the show for six seasons and, during the show’s peak, it released two compilation CDs, in 1994 and 1996. Now, if you want to watch videos, just flip over to YouTube or TikTok or an artist’s personal page and you’ll get your fill, day or night, anywhere there’s a wifi connection. The only place you can’t find videos is on TV. The post Before there was MTV with Tarzan Dan appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
27 minutes | Jun 30, 2020
The Future of Headphones is 3D
Audeze founder Sankar Thiagasamudram explains that the next big thing in audio is 3D in a way you didn’t know you were missing with your typical headphones today. The headphones of the future will be spatially aware, and adjust to your listening preferences using artificial intelligence. And the crazy thing is these headphones already exist. The post The Future of Headphones is 3D appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
23 minutes | Jun 23, 2020
My Fake Band
What if that random joke you make turned into a party game? The Brothers Hermann of My Fake Band drop by Studio 3B to talk about kickstarting the Next Big Thing around the campfire. Plus: K-pop as the world’s conscience and a middle finger to Donald Trump. The post My Fake Band appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
38 minutes | Jun 16, 2020
First Woman in Space
The United States might have put a man on the moon first, but it was the Russians who first sent a woman to space. The Vintage Space star and author Amy Shira Teitel joins the geeks this week on a supporters-only livestream recording session and Q&A about Valentina Tereshkova, a woman 20 years ahead of her US counterparts. Russia won the female space race 57 years ago by G&B Senior Segment Producer Amber Healy From the early days of the space race, research supported the idea of women serving as astronauts and cosmonauts. Women tend to have smaller bodies in every measurable way, and since spaceflight often has to account for every ounce considering the price of rocket fuel, it just made sense to send lighter, smaller bodies into orbit. But in the 1950s and 1960s, sexism was still king in both the USA and the USSR. So women waited. The first woman in space, on June 16, 1963, was Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova. She was 26 at the time and one of several women recruited into an aggressive cosmonaut training program due to her early enthusiasm and skill for parachute jumping. The effort was backed by Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev, who ordered a small group of women be selected and trained for a women-in-space program. Fearless female leadership Let’s not mince words here: Tereshkova was a badass from the word go. She joined a paramilitary flying club without telling her mother, spending her weekends training and completing 90 jumps before she caught the Kremlin’s eye. “I did night jumps, too, on to land and water — the Volga River,” she told The Guardian. “I learned to wait as long as possible before pulling the cord, just to feel the air; 40 seconds, 50 seconds… it’s not really falling; you experience enormous pleasure from the sensation of your whole body. It’s marvellous.” She joined the Communist Party in 1962, as would’ve been customary for the time. The Soviets, of course, sent Yuri Gargarin into space in 1961, but the director of cosmonaut training, Nikolai Kamanin, heard shortly thereafter that the Americans were preparing to train female pilots to be astronauts. Not wanting to be outshined, the Soviets started their program with five women, including Tereshkova, and had their training start before their male counterparts. The rules stipulated that the women had to be a parachutist and under the age of 30, standing less than 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall and weigh no more than 70 kg (154 lbs). Of the small class of specially trained women, only Tereshkova went to space, selected to pilot Vostok 6, while cosmonaut Valeri Bykovsky piloted the sister mission on Vostok 5. He launched on June 14; she launched two days later. Over the course of 70 hours in space, they came within 5km (3 miles) of each other while in orbit and exchanged messages. Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times, with European and Soviet TV beaming back images of her smiling from space. At the time, both Tereshkova and Bykovsky were record holders: she for being the first woman in space; he for spending more time in space alone than anyone — a record he still holds at just five days. Hers was not a flawless flight, however. The full details of her stressful journey became apparent when her flight log was released to the public in 2013, including that she failed in her original attempt at manually orienting the spacecraft while in orbit. The vehicle kept listing to one side, with warning lights indicating things were off kilter along all three axes. When she activated manual control, she heard an empty knocking noise. On the second day of her flight, she tried again but was unsuccessful, meaning she couldn’t complete her mission of photographing the Earth from above. It was during her 45th orbit that she successfully completed a breaking maneuver, holding it for 25 minutes. Later, as she was returning into Earth’s atmosphere, she and her vessel had no communication with the ground and she wound up in the wrong place. The team on the ground blame Tereshkova for the failure; she says the equipment failed. Once she was collected by her countrymen, she was named a Hero of the Soviet Union. She never went to space again, but none of the women she trained with ever made it that far. Life on Earth In November 1963, Tereshkova married a fellow cosmonaut, Andrian Nikolayev. There was much fanfare about their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Elena, as she was the first child born to parents that had both been to space. In 1980, Tereshkova and Nikolayev divorced. There’s speculation that the marriage was basically propaganda, because, y’know, Soviet Russia. Tereshkova received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace, directed the Soviet Women’s Committee in 1968; from 1974 until 1991 she was a member of the Supreme Soviet Presidium. She was appointed deputy chair of the parliament of Yaroslavl, her home area, and was elected to the Duma in 2011. She has also been awarded the Order of Lenin twice. NASA does better — sorta… The United States didn’t launch a woman into space until 1983, when Sally Ride went into orbit on STS-7 aboard the Challenger. (Yes, that Challenger.) This was almost a year after Russia sent its second woman, Svetlana Savitskaya, into space. Savitskaya, by the way, was the first woman to walk in space and the first woman to go to space twice (1982 and 1984). Ride joined NASA’s astronaut corp in 1978. She was one of the first six women to join NASA as an astronaut. The U.S. has taken a few strides toward leading the space race for women in recent years. In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first African American woman in space when she flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. In 2008, Peggy Whitson became the first woman to command the International Space Station; eight years later she became the first woman to command the ISS twice, also earning the title of the oldest woman in space at the age of 57. It wasn’t until last year, October 2019, that NASA celebrated its first all-female space walk, when astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, spent seven hours and 17 minutes replacing a power controller outside the ISS. But it wasn’t something NASA went out of its way to organize — instead, the agency said it was “bound to happen eventually” given the increasing number of female astronauts. …but has a lot to make up for Granted, the first all-female space walk was supposed to happen a few months earlier, in March, but there was only one medium-sized space suit available on the ISS and the other woman on the ISS at the time, Anne McClain, felt she’d be safer and more comfortable in a smaller size instead of wearing a larger suit. Instead, astronaut Nick Hague joined Koch on the walk. That incident prompted lots of angry comments and parodies, of course. NASA might feel confident about the number of women in its astronaut corps, but they still don’t fully account for women in space. The lack of properly fitting space suits is just the most recent head-scratcher from the agency, which at one point was hesitant to put women in space because they weren’t sure how to accommodate them going to the bathroom in space, let alone having their periods in space, should things synch up that way, because the agency was afraid the women might not be able to perform their jobs properly. No joke: When Sally Ride was preparing for her mission, NASA asked her if 100 tampons would be enough for a seven-day trip to space. (There are now ways to prevent a woman from having her period in space, simply by using the Pill. And if you don’t know, 100 tampons would last most women way more than one period.) In the early days of the space programs, scientists knew women had an advantage for leaving Earth’s orbit. “Scientists knew that women, as smaller beings on average, require less food, water and oxygen, which was an advantage when packing a traveler and supplies into a small spacecraft,” wrote historian Margaret Weitekamp for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “Women outperformed men on isolation tests and, on average, had better cardiovascular health.” But by 1962, NASA scrapped its First Lady Astronaut Trainee (FLAT) program. Sexist jokes were made about astronauts being all for women in space — as recreational partners. The Soviets, it seems, were ahead of their time by seeing their female cosmonaut trainees as people capable of doing great things, not just sex objects. The post First Woman in Space appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
32 minutes | Jun 9, 2020
Isolating Richard Crouse
Pop Life host and entertainment gadfly Richard Crouse is cramped in his spacious home office talking to celebrities in his fabulous hair while he waits for COVID-19 to pass and he can get back to making traditional television. We talk about new media and “In Isolation With”, the revenue power of funeral services announcements, and the secret to a successful interview. Oh, and Alan and Michael have a revolting idea on how to cash-in on Coronapocalypse. The post Isolating Richard Crouse appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
32 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
Mixing + Mastering with Glenn Schick
Multi-platinum, Grammy winning mastering engineer Glenn Schick drops by Studio 3B to talk about the evolution of getting a musician’s idea out of their head and into your ears. The digital nomad whose work has crafted the sound of Justin Bieber, Drake, and The Weeknd stuns Alan with an interesting revelation. Also: why men should want to be a grower, not a shower. Yes, that. This episode sponsored by Audeze. The post Mixing + Mastering with Glenn Schick appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
38 minutes | May 26, 2020
Don’t Stop Believin’ in Crowdsourcing
Music Producer Rob Wells drops by Studio 3B to talk about his crowdsourced version of a classic Journey hit by musicians from around the world. Plus, how the introduction of Pac Man 40 years ago marked the beginning of the end of the Pinball Wizard. The post Don’t Stop Believin’ in Crowdsourcing appeared first on The Geeks and Beats Podcast with Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth.
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