My aim is to do the best versions of the most famous songs of all time. — Dr Tom
Although speakers were regarded as its "backbone", half of a traditional chautauqua was musical performance. For us to fill the e-chautauqua shoes we needed to lay down sufficient musical material to be worth a visit. radio-tom.com fills that role in the e-chautauqua and now has enough material to be termed an internet radio resource. For some of the songs ours is the only version readily-available.
Our first non-musical podcast is for the International Year of Astronomy 2009: tips on how to use the IYA Galileoscope. It will be accompanied by TV-tom.com videos on the general topic of astronomy. The traditional Chautauqua shows using mere lantern projectors were able to stir audiences with astronomical topics "... a journey far more wonderful than that of Aladdin on the enchanted carpet. .. carried not only to the remotest star, billions of miles away, but that in the ways of science he had been permitted to navigate the universe and had been brought safely back to the Earth..."
Ours has the superficially more modest goal of helping people appreciate what they can actually expect to see with a telescope, instead of sci-fi images. However, the actual views are in many ways more astounding if one can grasp what it is we are not seeing -ie- we live inside a galaxy yet it is so vast we can barely see it except on a cloudless moonless country night. Time-exposed Hubble Space Telescope images give a totally artificial view.
That typifies our whole e-chautauqua do-it-yourself approach: what can you see? (not Hubble), what can you sing? (not hear on radio ga ga), what can you create, research, interpret ...?
The spoken podcasts of radio-tom.com are our own work and are offered free for all. They are intended as public services and there is no intention for later sale. Opinions are our own. Where they incorporate sound clips from for example medical consumers these have been people who approached us in our voluntary community service roles (not our own patients) for the express purpose of making their story public. Our e-chautauqua hosts and promotes such files as a service to the Medical Consumers Association. Tom is Vice-President of MCA and this is one of his roles.
Music is even more tightly regulated. Songs chosen for performance have been carefully researched and confirmed to be from the international public domain. It would be possible to copyright the arrangements and performances but we have chosen to offer these as Creative Commons.
Any sound effects used were from purchased sources or from archive.org.
Creative Commons is well-known in education circles. Students are taught from an early age to respect copyright. However, the Web has provided vast amounts of public domain material that can enhance a podcast.
Tom and Margaret have been quite active in Sydney karaoke. Some of the e-chautauqua links are to our www.kara-oke.com site. Many karaoke enthusiasts think mistakenly that they can put their performances up on the web, only to get a rude shock letter from a copyright holder or authority. Our use of public domain songs demonstrates an alternate route. Sure, the songs are 100 years old but to a real karaoke enthusiast that's part of the challenge and fun - to breathe new life into an old dead tune.