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What if... (constructive criticism for BOL)...

by shmody / April 21, 2009 5:25 AM PDT

What if... (constructive criticism for BOL)...

To provide constructive criticism to CBS/CNET, please add your idea to making the show great again (in the case you think it's lost something and have lost patience with the warming up period with the variety of changes).

Please add you idea below.

Vive le BOL! Wink

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del Conti / Ogg / Cooper takes out Dvorak, Pouge, Mossberg..
by shmody / April 21, 2009 5:28 AM PDT

del Conti / Ogg / Cooper takes out Dvorak, Pouge, Mossberg..

Personally, I'd LOVE to hear a weekly 15-20 minute news and commentary podcast with Natali (del Conti), Erica (Ogg), and Charlie (Cooper). Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y stuff would result I'm sure that could take down Dvorak, Pouge, and even Mossberg!!!!!

I think this character mix is rather good as far as journalism, professionalism, and personality goes.

CBS/CNET - rumble in the tech-jungle! del Conti/Ogg/Cooper vs. Dvorak vs. Pouge vs. Mossberg!


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oh yeah, for BOL - more...
by shmody / April 21, 2009 5:32 AM PDT

oh yeah, for BOL - more...Cooley, Tong, Bonnie Cha, Nicole Lee, and/or Jasmine France. If I had to replace Natali's position, it would be a toss up between Bonnie and Jasmine with Nicole as a close second.


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Introduction to BOL newbies...
by shmody / April 22, 2009 1:30 AM PDT

Introduction to BOL newbies...

In case you don't know me too well, here's a little speall.

I'd say I've been empowered BOL listener since Spring 2006. I say empowered 'cause I feel I get some unique insight on BOL that isn't found elsewhere. I've found it to be the most useful and entertaining tech news show and garners my precious time before other tech news.

Since the Spring of 2006 I've tremendously enjoyed listening, contributing, and even getting together with others BOLers (in the *First* Life, for realz Wink I think this is a wonderful community - online or not. I especially like that when there's a debate, at least most of the time, we're all just trying to get to bottom of something and fully understand each other. I find that giving respect, insight, and LOLs are crucial to maintaining this community's foundation.

I also find that from time to time the listenership needs to "rise up" and refocus/redirect/re-something-er-other the show. The hosts and producer typically do a GREAT job listening and responding to the audience.
However, now the audience sorta includes CBS shareholders. Now, I'm not saying we should rant/rail against the CBS corporation, but rather, I believe, this could very well be a well timed opportunity to show how well a clever, strong, innovative, diverse, community can rebound and get hummin' again after being a bit out of rhythm. I mean...this is really just walking the walk of what is presented in the BOL podcast and what we frequently discuss on this forum, yes?

So, let's roll up our sleeves and put in some thought out ideas - yes? Post a forward looking idea here:

Empowered BOL listener since Spring 2006
"Momma" and "Old man" of Buzztown Wink

P.S. - No need for others to jump on to bolster this intro, just get goin' and add a forward looking idea to the thread! Go Buzztown! Wink

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What happened Shalin?
by Alegoo92 / April 25, 2009 1:23 AM PDT

I'll admit. I stopped listening a good while ago...stopped listening every day post-Veronica.. then tried to get into it through intermittent episodes I'd download. After a recurring theme of Molly being away, I just lost interest altogether.

So what's happened now? Are our veteran hosts done with the show, or has it been so bastardized by CBS that it doesn't feel like BOL?

I'm not really a listener anymore, but I'm still concerned for the show that brought me into the world of tech-- especially if it's at the expense of it's amazing listener-audience.

- Alex

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well for me: house hunting, community service & work happnd.
by shmody / April 25, 2009 2:21 AM PDT
In reply to: What happened Shalin?

that's all. My reduced listening isn't for lack of interest. I check the line up pretty much everyday to see of any particular stories I'd like the BOL crews comments on (whoever is part of the crew that day). but yeah, I just got really busy with misc. stuff - especially house hunting (now owning/maintaining), Big Brother/Sisters, a financial literacy meetup group I started, and work...


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OMG, my bad - skimmed your post too fast. what happnd was..
by shmody / April 28, 2009 5:24 AM PDT

OMG, my bad - skimmed your post too fast. what happened was a BOL crew change and while the crew is still providing great content, the dialogue/banter/chemistry has a new vibe that a lot of long-time listeners don't entirely enjoy, they miss the old vibe, and want something to be done...


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Since you asked...
by Slikkster / April 22, 2009 11:27 PM PDT

You asked in my other "I'm unsubscribing" thread to post an idea before I went. But first, may I say that I'm disappointed with you, Shalin. This thread (as I read it, anyway) seems to be a thinly-veiled "Natali must go" thread. Sure, you post your ideas for her in some kind of three-way newsfest, but that's not BOL. Am I incorrect in reading that you're thinking she'd be best OFF BOL and in some other kind of format? If so, then how about stating that clearly? If I'm mistaken, accept my apology for misaprehending. But just be upfront about it, rather than couching it in a roundabout way.

In my view, the best thing that could be done with the show in its current format is to move Natali to the west coast so she could be in studio. Being "on remote" all the time is one of the biggest impediments to good social interaction. There's no immediate visual cues, and audio --even though it's not too delayed with the proper ISDN algorithm--is still clumsy. Plus, there's no opportunity for her to really get to know her co-hosts on a more personal level, as in off the show. And, vice-versa. That is a very important component to the team concept. <b>She needs to be in-studio with the rest.</b>

If that doesn't fit with her life/career, or the company's plans, then some kind of decision should be made, in my view, to find a female host on the west coast who is tech savvy and has the right personality to hold up her end of the conversation. I don't know who that is right now. But in the meantime, the best thing they could do --assuming no personnel changes are in the offing-- is to get Natali relocated so she's local to the show. I think that would do wonders for the repartee. Yeah, I know, some people will say "but she's been in studio before". But an occasional visit isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about becoming part of the same community as the other hosts, professionally, personally and geographically.

So, there ya go. And here I go. Ciao for now.

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Okay, I'll say it explicitly then...
by shmody / April 23, 2009 12:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Since you asked...

Okay, I'll say it explicitly then - I think Natali should not be in the daily BOL line-up at this time and at least for the *immediate* future (like, say the next 3-4 months). This is because I enjoy a different vibe than the show is delivering with the Natali as a daily host.

And I totally agree with the this East/West coast studio issue - it really does seem to be an underrated/sleeper issue.

Best wishes Slikkster! Come back and drop us a line sometime Wink

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by shmody / April 23, 2009 12:12 AM PDT

>> This is because I enjoy a different vibe than the show is delivering with the Natali as a daily host.

Considering both the several changes to BOL in the last few months as well as realizing that "you can never go home again" (i.e., if time has gone by, you can't just "reset" everything and expect the "good old days"), I feel that the best course of action would be to use Natali's talents and personality on a regular (i.e. daily) basis elsewhere within CNET.

Very best,

P.S. - You're correct Slikkster, the original post was not as clear as it could have been. Thanks for keepin' me honest.

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although, if there are great "Natali should stay if ___"
by shmody / April 23, 2009 1:40 AM PDT
In reply to: additionally...

although, if there are great "Natali should stay if ___" scenarios, I'd be happy to know of them...but my reason for posting was that
1) Although there have been many changes over the years the show has been on, nowadays many, many BOL listeners are not enjoying the show as we used to - so, as I see it, *something* has gotta change with the show. Although the listernship are the customers, to be pragmatic, we should also adjust/give-it-a-chance *some* amount to changes to get the enjoyment and insight once delivered.
2) to have a space/thread to put *forward looking* ideas, regardless of if "Natali should stay or go", etc. I thought there's been enough commentary, thought, and emotion - so this is an attempt of a vehicle to move forward on...
3) I did include "(in the case you think it's lost something and have lost patience with the warming up period with the variety of changes)." because for those that think the show is *not* fine or better than it used to be and I wanted to redirect that thought and energy to something constructive (see #2 above). I do admit, this is not *primarily* meant to be a thread for those that think the show is fine/better than it used to be - but all comments *having to do with the theme of this thread* are welcome.

maybe this could've been a simple "Is the show as enjoyable or more enjoyable than it was several months ago? If not, what forward looking idea would you propose?" thing... but, we're at where we're at...

Okay, I think I've put it all out there now.

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by Slikkster / April 23, 2009 2:55 AM PDT

You have been quite clear and explicit, and that's all I can ask. I can't quarrel with your opinions, and I have enormous respect for you. And, I'm sure your comments carry weight with at least some principals on the show.

There's an old saying in politics that goes something like "If you've lost <insert your core constituency here>, you've lost everything. That just might be the case if BOL sees your unequivocal stand on matters as they are. Don't get a swelled head about it, but I know they've always valued your input and no doubt your opinions. And if they've lost Shalin...

I'll check back in awhile to see what's going on. Best to you.

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My take
by hosko / April 26, 2009 1:41 AM PDT

As a TV director I'm use to having to deal with talent being in different studios trying to talk to each other. We (Producer and Director) try to get around the issue by talking into their ears (IFB's) and telling everybody who is asking the next question. But it is never as good as when everybody is in the one studio. The chat is just never natural.

Now in BOL's case I would say in my professional opinion that it is impossible to get around these limitations because you don't have a dedicated team in the background directing the flow of the conversation. It is up to the on-air talent to perform this function with the producer also on-air. The end result being that on every episode and usually multiple times in each the guys in the west coast studio talk over Nat or she talks over one of them. This then results in a couple of seconds of dead air and then a discussion on who is going to talk. This just kills the flow of the conversation and becomes highly annoying to the listener. Then add in the worse situation of the link between East and West dropping out the conversation continuing then when the link is re-established Nat continues to say what she was saying even though that exact point had just been discussed for the past minute.

I also believe that their is very little to gain from having a full time voice in NY and the rest of the team out West. Sure get someone to be on the show in NY if there is a big story that they will have something to ADD.

I really don't get why you guys are trying to make the show more complicated then it should be. People enjoy the simplicity of the show, 3 people sitting around a table discussing tech news. I really got into the show because of the terrific conversation that it use to have.

Go back to basics, as the old saying goes KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

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Good input, thx; what about two crews?...
by shmody / April 26, 2009 4:29 AM PDT
In reply to: My take

Good input, thx; what about two crews?...

I was thinking about this time-delay issue and thought, what if you had at least knowledgeable two people in the West coast studio and NYC studio each.

Given that, you may actually be able to basically assign which studio handles a story/description and it's commentary. Additional/last thoughts can be given by the other studio after the "lead" studio is done.

Or maybe the lead studio provides the story/description, the supporting studio provides questions/commentary, and the lead studio does a wrap-up.

It's kind of a band-aid thing, but it may be workable. Thoughts?


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by hosko / April 27, 2009 1:15 AM PDT

shmody wrote:

"Given that, you may actually be able to basically assign which studio handles a story/description and it's commentary. Additional/last thoughts can be given by the other studio after the "lead" studio is done."

Then you don't have the guests engaging in conversation. I just don't see the point, its not like CNET doesn't have enough knowledgeable staff in the one location. If you are going to have two crews you might as well bang out two different podcasts instead of one.

I think the two studio issue is a big one. Listen to the eps when Jason was on NY and you'll hear a massive improvement in the conversation between Nat and Jason, that just proves my point.

Guys you tried it, your audience including very loyal long term ones don't like it, fix it and move on.

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yeah, even if you had two people at each studio...
by shmody / April 27, 2009 3:03 AM PDT
In reply to: ...

yeah, even if you had two people at each studio you'd only get interaction within each studio. They still could interact between studios a little...

Or, like you said - maybe a two week cycle where Mon/Wed/Fri are West coast studio days and Tue/Thu are NYC days and the next week reverse the studio assignments? That might get a little friendly West/East coast rivalry goin'.

Well, like I said, it kind of a band-aid solution...


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Another issue
by hosko / April 27, 2009 1:41 AM PDT

Another problem I'm having with the show is there seems to be lack of color. What I mean by that is Tom and Nat both seem to be play-by-play callers to use a sporting phrase. Although Tom does give his opinion he usually just describes the mechanics of what's been discussed. Since Molly left there is a lack of someone who mostly just gives special comments. The only time Nat does anything like this is when she rants about FIOS and helicopters. Perhaps that's why people are asking for Rafe or Coolie all they do is give their opinion.

I'd like the format to be changed to Tom as host reading out the stories (play-by-play) and opinion as needed, permanent member giving their opinion (special comments or color person), rotating guest that gives their opinion (special comments or color person) and Jason adding his two cents as needed (sideline reporter).

This setup works incredibly well, that's why almost every sport telecast or studio panel show uses it. Or maybe I've just watched too much baseball of late.

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I agree
by skimike4 / April 23, 2009 3:08 AM PDT

I do agree. And good job being explicit and taking responsibility for your opinion, Shalin.

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by Nicholas Buenk / April 23, 2009 5:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Since you asked...

Isn't it a little sexist to say one of the hosts must be female? You know, who ever does a good job.

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Uh, No
by Slikkster / April 23, 2009 6:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Uhh

I agree that more often than not it should be "the best host", but I also think there's certainly the need for the female point of view on the show. And, it's historically been the case so long as I can recall that there have been females on the show. Given that precedent, I see no reason to change it. It's always been part of the successful mix. God knows there's no shortage of male yakkers on podcasts and other media...

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Here's an idea for the forum
by FredAgain / April 26, 2009 8:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Uhh

How about 2 forums? One for those of us who just want to discuss the content of the shows, and one for those of you who want to talk about the people on the show?

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Natali del Conte reminds me of Cokie Roberts...
by shmody / April 22, 2009 1:48 AM PDT

Natali del Conte reminds me of Cokie Roberts...

Roberts is an intelligent, well traveled, insightful, polished professional, and with a sweet voice and Natali has those qualities too. Yep, a del Conte/Ogg/Cooper team would kick tail.


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by skimike4 / April 22, 2009 12:57 AM PDT

Once again, great idea Shalin.

Here's my suggestion to make BOL better: tell me something I don't already know. I like hearing about what the news is, but you gotta give me something that I can't just read or watch somewhere else. I need more substance, more depth, more "techiness". If it's a story that's basically being repeated from doing the Early Show, chances are I already know about it. I need less CBS and more CNET!

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It's not just "techiness"
by mattlp / April 22, 2009 1:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Idea

I always enjoyed BOL because of the additional analysis. I can read the story online myself. But what does it mean? Whether it was pulling together stories to identify a trend (DRM, for example), explaining the implications, or editorializing (read "Molly rant"), it gave me something to think about -- even after the podcast was over.

BOL needs strong anchors with both breadth and depth, willing to explore a subject no matter where it takes them or how long it takes. Tom is great at this. If I was responsible for this show, I would find someone to complement him. Someone good at spotting trends. Someone who is opinionated.

And yes, I think Natali would be great on a "beefed up" news show.

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Get Cooley full time
by Nicholas Buenk / April 22, 2009 2:40 AM PDT

I think he is the only person at cnet right now able to successful replace Molly. Bring back the cranky cynical anaylst of the industry we've been loving from Molly.

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Gotta Admit
by Renegade Knight / April 22, 2009 5:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Get Cooley full time

We need the shows snarkiness. Now I'm many months behind on my listening now (real life will do that to you) so I'm not yet up on all the Buzz about Nat, but Brian would do a good job. I like how him and Tom joust, stumble over each other at times, and still managed to keep it friendly and yet snark ridden. Good stuff.

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Cooley for the win
by apaulio / April 22, 2009 6:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Gotta Admit

He is, indeed, a lot of fun, but Cooley, Tom and Jason would be a little imbalanced IMO. I enjoyed (about the only thing I did enjoy) Lisa Bettany's chat on twit 191 and she struck me as both knowledgeable and humble (in comparison to Shira who was knowledgeable)....

It's definitely not all about the tech though. At the London meet I felt very much like a fake geek most of the time with my rubbish phone and cheap as chips camera (hey, I'm a youthworker! One day I'll be able to afford a cool phone but even so I was very much in people's tech shadow). I love BOL for the chit chat and care very little for the tech side one way or the other. It's all about the snappy repartee, the rants, the snarky yet loving rebuffs and the care that the presenters have for each other. It could be about anything and I'd probably still listen if the Merritt was in the house (verbally anyhoo). Just everyone in the same house ideally to keep the pace going well (imo).

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good point...
by shmody / April 22, 2009 9:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Gotta Admit

good point...there does seems to be a lack of fun snarkiness... I think Natali could do some snarkiness, but something tells me it just wouldn't quite fit in her approach to her journalistic commentary - at least not the kind of snarkiness we miss. Wink And besides, I wouldn't want her to change who she really is.

Cooley would be great, but I think we do really need a female in the regular line up...


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What if ...
by arc6th / April 22, 2009 1:35 PM PDT

I found the daily guest host experiment made the show awkward for about 3 months while each daily guest host got about 10-15 shows under his/her belt, learned how the show flowed and worked their own personality into the show. Every day there's a new guest host there's another disjointed show. Wood, Cooley, Needleman, are Tong are the only guest hosts I'd suggest. That's it. That's the list. Okay, maybe McCarthy and Reisinger, as well, but I believe going with only two hosts for a couple of days would be better than bringing in a one-off guest host. If other guest hosts are brought in then I would like it if they were to commit to weekly appearances and listen to the rest of the week's shows. They will learn what works with the show, and we will learn what makes them tick. (Very Special Guests, such as veterans of TWiT, that are experienced with this style of conversation are always welcome.)

The bicoastal experiment doesn't work for me, either. Natali - wait, I'm really not bashing Natali - seems to force many segues and moves the show along when it doesn't seem, to me, that SF is quite done. That's probably her TV news and 5 minute daily news podcast background coming out, and it keeps the show length around 40 minutes instead of what might drag out to an unbearable 60 without her keeping them on task. I am thankful the shows aren't that long, and so I will choose to believe it's because she's not in the studio with the majority of the hosts. Hopefully the video link between the studios will help all the hosts learn each other's visual cues resulting in a smoother show.

It's just my opinion, and I hope the same has been offered far more eloquently by many more people.


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(NT) More Nicole Lee
by isting / April 22, 2009 11:52 PM PDT
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The real problem with BOL
by Dr. Archipelagos / April 24, 2009 8:38 AM PDT

I think that unfortunately people are ignoring the real reason BOL doesn't seem to be as good as it used to be... they stopped giving out the green BOL t-shirts. I remember how much I used to enjoy the show when they gave out t-shirts, I'd go back and listen to the Friday t-shirt giveaway episodes 5 or 6 times since the first giveaway Friday February 10, 2006 entitled "Buzz off Red Cross??" (episode 159 I think). Now I rarely listen to the new "non t-shirt giveaway" Friday episodes more than 3 times. If Natali brought back the Friday t-shirt giveaways then I'm sure everyone would exclaim that she saved BOL and the number of downloads would climb ever higher. I'm waiting until episode 1000 for the Friday t-shirt giveaway to return or... well, okay I'll keep listening, I just won't be as warm as I could be in a fashionable green BOL t-shirt.

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