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Page Quality:, the musical "Tent" of, consists of free versions of public domain songs.

My aim is to do the best versions of the most famous songs of all time. — Dr Tom


The songs on radio tom are free to use Creative Commons resources. Most have chords specially re-written for the 'instant play' music system at This means a beginner using the special one-finger chords can instantly jam along with the song by ear without needing chord charts or even practice.

This is in line with the origins of Chautauqua. 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 a 'critical mass' of musical material. fills that role in the e-chautauqua and now has over 70 songs - enough material to be termed an internet radio resource. For some of the songs ours is the only full version readily-available.

Our first non-musical podcast was for the International Year of Astronomy 2009: tips on how to use the IYA Galileoscope, accompanied by 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, play, research, interpret ...?

License Usage

The spoken podcasts of 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


Don't many people dream of hearing their hit songs played on radio? Don't vast numbers ring talk shows to have their 5 minutes of say?

The Web has now made it possible to set up not just one's own radio show but an entire station. What takes their station beyond even nationally-syndicated traditional radio is the potential to broadcast to the entire planet, combine print and images, and harness for free the resources of the greatest public relations advertising network the world has ever known - the search engines.


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 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.

Is there a role for internet radio journalism?

The Reform Tent cries out for a medium to replace the old orators. In the 20th Century these were largely replaced by radio talk shows. These were interactive in that callers queued up to express their views. But Tom and Margaret have been active in Sydney public life and know many sides of stories that never made it to air. So do we have any role or obligation to do anything further with the material? Is there any role for independent internet radio journalism?

According to some of Australia's most respected journalists there is a huge hole in the mainstream crying out for something independent:

Jana Wendt in her 1997 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, ABC said "… Stories trumpeted as 'in-depth' reports are often little more than a ninety second videotape pastiche, incorporating a series of fleeting faces, making half-statements. … At rock bottom , it is no better than the small-time conmen it often smites with phoney outrage.."

Academic Liz Gould noted "As a platform for the discussion of contemporary social issues, talkback has thrived by courting controversy and debate. The commercial talkback radio format has supported the rise of a small, but highly prominent, group of men and continues to be strongly guided by economic imperatives, as witnessed in recent developments such as the ‘cash for comment’ affair. (Gould, Liz (2007) Cash and controversy : a short history of commercial talkback radio Related Media international Australia, Issue 122, p.81-95 University of Queensland Press)

Award-winning Dr Norman Swan of the ABC Radio Science Show has dropped out of investigative science journalism precisely because there has been no such reform: “I will never do a case of scientific fraud ever again. I’ve said this publicly and I’ve said it a couple of times before - I am never going to do another one ever again. And the reason for that is just the failure of institutional responses. If the University .. can get away with something like this – what is the point? Somebody else can do it, some young buck can come along and do them but, you know, I’m not going to do another one because I just don’t think that the institutions in this country have responded seriously to this.” What happens to the Whistleblowers? The Science Show. Saturday 3 September 2005

All of this suggests a powerful future for internet radio, not least because its global reach can bypass local power-brokers who would otherwise overwhelm the small whistleblower or broadcaster with counter-views posed as 'balanced journalism' -ie 'you've heard the allegation from Mr X, now let's hear from eminent scientists Dr Y and Professor Z as well as calls from a family hurt by Mr X's allegations ... blahdey blah We've all heard this. It's been parodied numerous times yet people still fall for it. As ABC’s Quentin Dempster put it: “ ... the entrenched nature of the police, legal, judicial, political and media cultures operating in a web of self-deception. … is far deadlier than the simple expediencies and lies of politicians in their lust for power: far more degenerate than then mere character assassination, insider dealings and bribery of rival corporations; far more insidious than the disinformation run as sensation by ignorant media. … At the bottom of it is a contempt for the law far lower and more cunningly applied than the usual contempt displayed by orthodox criminals." (Honest Cops)”

We couldn't have put it better. Maybe internet radio can help break this cycle.