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Still figuring out what this newsletter is, I’m torn between aggregation and writing. Entries vary from blog posts, Twitter feeds, and the occasional video. Podcasting seems strangely muzzled by the acceleration of streaming. Blog posts are a misnomer; Professional blogs are the bulk of news and media quotes, not typically the unique voices of RSS of yore.

Linear media is forked between fast-paced takes like The Recount and tweets from streaming cable news users. Podcasting meets longer-form streaming with live streaming to Facebook Live, Twitter (formerly Periscope), YouTube, and emerging LinkedIn Live. As I discovered during a Restreamed Gang recording session, the Facebook Live version includes real-time captions.

On this version of the show, recorded four days before Biden’s inauguration of the presidency, a familiar vibe emerges from the Zoomcast. Anxiety, tinged with doubt that we will soon escape the grip of the pandemic, or the scourge of Trump-o-nomics. Now, by posting this, there is a reasonable chance to renew rationality and respect. Then it was a jump ball at best.

When we record the show, I leave CNN or MSNBC on the monitor behind me. Since we set the zoom to Gallery mode for the most part, it increases the chances that either of us will notice if any breaking news (haha) pops up. It’s mostly for the feeling of being plugged in without being overwhelmed by repetitive analysis that oh, yes, we’re in big trouble. Controlled anxiety most of the time wins out over old anxiety. Nonetheless, I still get complaints from viewers to turn it off.

I like the delay of the realtime version to allow for post-production smoothing with music and lower third titles. The gap gives me a chance to come up with a theme for this post to go along with the co-ed show, and it allows some of the trendy issues to recede in favor of a stickier foreshadowing of the next show. At this time, we usually come up with a title for the series. You might not find all of this interesting, but it helps me put up with my pathetic contributions to the show.

In this session, Frank Radice is heard quoting from Firesign Theater record lines. At first we used to sit around college dorms and what we thought sounded like hippie crash pads, reciting those Firesign slogans. A little earlier we did this with Bill Cosby’s recordings, in later years of the Monty Python routines. Michael Markman had posted on the Telegram Gang a conversation on Wisconsin Public Radio with the two surviving TFTs Phil Proctor and David Ossman.

At the time, the comedy group released I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus, with a futuristic spin on a Firesign update of Disneyland’s animatronic Presidents attraction. Now Michael was wondering if Disney would add Trump to the ride when it reopens. It’s a good question. What, if Disneyland is going to reopen?

So the newsletters. It seems possible that the form encompasses a lot of blogging, podcasting, streaming, and social networking elements in a new structure. Where blogging once represented a ticket to parity with mainstream journalism, journalists are now gaining parity with individual voices. Cable News not only looks like podcasting with its excess supply of talking heads’ roundtables, but each presenter has a separate podcast to boot. Just as the recording industry ate up the movie business with Saturday Night Fever, cable networks eat broadcast networks as they in turn are devoured by streamers.

And just as the former president has been deformed by social media, live streamers are refatformed in this newsletter channel posted in your pocket. Feedback, two-way feedback based on notifications, real-time analytics, first-party data relationships with creators and followers. More creation, less curation.

of the Gillmor Gang newsletter


The Gillmor Gang – Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live on Friday January 16, 2021.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

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