YouTube, My Television of Choice

It started over Covid, that shift to late-night YouTube television. That half hour before Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel. Late night news is mostly 6 PM news repacked and less appealing.

First, it was those brief clips of Howard Stern’s morning broadcasts. The interviews mostly were telling, well researched and always entertaining. Other times, Stern ran with the in-house crew of weird and often hilarious sidemen. Ronnie the Limo Driver and his puppet clone to a long-running cast of misfits and phoners. All interesting to a point. Then the big reveal. Beyond the podcasting celebrities – Joe Rogan, Marc Maron, Keith Olbermann – actual home-made shows offering a wealth of inside knowledge and expertise.

Enter Rick Beato, Everything Music, riveting shorts like Iconic Turntables - Acoustic Research, Thorens, Lenco, Pioneer, the Truth About Vinyl, Joni Mitchell Talks Blue, Both Sides Now, & Newport Folk Festival with Elton John | Apple Music—Digging the Greats with 119 thousand subscribers, What’s a SoulquarianRed Bull Music Academy, DeAngelo—David Jones, Sgt Pepper harpist recalls playing on She’s Leaving Home and meets Ringo Starr for the first time. Then there's Ringo Starr Shows How to Play Ticket to Ride, Come Together and Back off Boogaloo. Buddy Rich Talk of the Town 1969, West Side Story - Kiri Te Kanawa - The Making of West Side Story Documentary and on and on. Never-ending programming.

What I find interesting about YouTube television is that my brain is not getting stuffed with non-purposeful information. I can always push on to the next topic and find new insights and hidden stories that unravel the myths, and half-truths, with the real voices, faces and witnesses behind consequential happenings.

When comedian Norm MacDonald died, I rode the captain MacDonald wave through every interview clip, comedy routine, talk show, and reminiscence. I only knew of the man’s brilliance in passing and before me a library of one man’s eventful life.

Between writing, recording, photographing and always learning my instrument, I’m asking YouTube television to quickly rescue me from complicated technical issues and help me better understand the many programs that put demands on my daily life. How to better use Lightroom, understand a certain post-processing plug-in for Logic Pro, the back story to a hero – filmmaker Gordon Parks – and making better sense of words, replacing an oven filament.

Much of what I’m attracted to has occurred in the past few years as more and more adapt to streaming television and recognize the value in listening to ordinary voices with greater knowledge and passion for a subject than being force-fed nonsense. Most shows are basic in look, nothing fancy – just – here’s the facts as I know them. Wait – there’s pianist Bill Payne talking about Little Feat! Gotta go...

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