I don't know where to begin, but this will be the most important blog entry I've ever written. It's going to grab right at the heart of some issues I've been dying to say for many years.
On Monday night, the 2PR FM article on wikipedia was nominated for deletion, which in short left a rather sickening feeling in my stomach. After investing thousands of hours in to 2PR FM, you can imagine how one feels like heaving, when a wikipedia admin notes, "starting a web station is as simple as switching on a web cam".
I deliberately didn't blog that night, as the things I wanted to vent were not pretty, and what was to be said was rather more emotional, rather then being factually constructive. But with my mind in a much calmer state, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the deletion in a different light, rather then the standard reaction of just attacking the wikipedia admin.
Though the typical point of view, when one sees their article nominated for deletion, is to say the process is flawed, the situation in which this came about unfortunately is much more to what meets the eyes.
FIRST EXPLAINING THE WIKIPEDIA WAY:
The first thing to recognise is that articles are tagged for deletion on wikipedia, based on how notable a subject is. Though the online encyclopedia does have criteria in writing on how a deletion is nominated, and if one would be appealed for saving an article, for the 2PR FM article it was the numbers game.
I've seen much stuff nominated for deletion, only for it to be appealed, and kept on wikipedia. This is because either fans of the subject, or people who may know the person have been able to bat for that persons / things article during a deletion discussion. So with that in mind, notability is not inherited via how much press the subject has received, how established, or how much work went into it, rather more on how much people care enough about it.
Yes, exactly, how much people care about something!
This is because deletions are based on a pole, how many want the item deleted, and how many wish to keep it. Unfortunately in my case, they were a number of admins who disliked my article. Remembering that anyone can write on wikipedia, I would not be surprised if the nominated admins were from a radio station that felt threatened by my format. This is only a possibility, as there is nothing that could prove this, but as I emphasise, a very possible scenario.
THE GUTS OF THE PROBLEM; THE DAMAGED SOCIAL TREE::
The main issue with Asperger's Syndrome is that it effects how one navigates in various social situations. Because from case to case, the level of intuition may vary, the common attribute is one's difficulty in reading body language, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, verbal cues in conversations, and etc.
Because the mind is differently wired to normal persons, there are also other issues such as sensory overload. Lighting in a particular area that may not be a problem to one person, may be piercingly bright to the asperger sufferer. A train coming along a platform may be bearable to many, but for the one having sensory issues, the noise can be blistering to the point of painful and agonising.
Thankfully I've been able to overcome many of the issues with taking interest in many things throughout my life. These have included the successful completion of high-school, several Tafe courses, work experiences, and personal projects, resulting in meeting many people. As much as one tries to interact and engage with others, the unavoidable truth is that an asperger person will always do something unintentionally different, which is key to this entire blog entry.
During a social engagement the asperger sufferer doesn't know what they are doing different, until they are told about it. The damage has already been done, and in many cases it's TOO LATE to mend the situation. Often the normal person will not comment either from the awkwardness or disgust, thus further exacerbating the damage to the relationship.
This may range from the socially normal being perplexed by the asperger person's action, through to being annoyed, through to ridicule, teasing, bullying, and ultimately being ignored. Over time the asperger sufferer’s social skills deteriorates to such a point where they become invisible to society. It's important to realise that this varies from person to person, as they are remote cases of people on the Autism spectrum that do well in life.
FROM A CHILD TO AN ADULT, THE ASPERGER"S INVISIBLY DISTRUCTIVE COMPANION:
The social isolation begins usually during school, when students and younger children are not able to comprehend the attributes of an asperger sufferer. The person on the Autism Spectrum may be labeled as selfish, stubborn, rude, weird, or in many cases, mentally retarded. As the asperger person grows and finds that they have few to no friends, abilities to socially engage becomes further hampered. It is natural for children and teenagers to learn social etiquette, from observing their peers.
With the asperger's person in many cases being isolated, they are not able to observe normal behaviours. This means then any social skills they do learn are of an awkwardly ritual manner and unnatural. When moving into late teenage hood, into adult years, the asperger sufferer will then find forming friendships, relationships, and professional business ties impossible.
NOT SEEN, NOT HEARD, OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT!
In the end, it doesn't matter how severe, or in my case, how mild the asperger's syndrome is, there is no escape from this isolation that completely ruins ones life.
This is in the aspect of first knowing a trustworthy / caring group of people to stick around with. This would be friends either met at school or at work. Usually this would lead to growing a relationship with a girlfriend / boyfriend, wild being involved in worthwhile employment. Eventually this would result in saving funds for taking out a mortgage for their own house. In the end, when a person enjoys all the natural juices of what life has to offer, they usually (not in all cases) will be able to own a house, and be able to live life with a good sense of security. Unfortunately in todays materialistic age, a good comfortable house is usually the cornerstone of a well established social circle. This ranges from inviting friends over, holding gatherings, having drinks and parties, sleeping people over, and etc.
In the normal realm of things as explained in the paragraph above, the person would normally be socialising every day. They would be familiar to acquaintances in positions of authority, such as their boss, a company owner / directors / CEOs. Thus it would be typical that all these persons would be aware of ones achievements and involvements.
Unfortunately, because the social structure, or as I would like to call it, the social tree has been damaged greatly at the school age, the asperger person does NOT have this social network to fall back on.
The normal response would be, go and join a sports club, get out and about and meet people, or go and get involved in a community group. These suggestions do little to nothing, as the person dispensing the advice is totally unaware of the real issues as pointed out above.
Not being able to carry out any of the above activities, the asperger syndrome sufferer in most cases does not want to wallow in pity, thus wanting to do something creative. Those on the asperger spectrum will do as many activities as possible, such as courses, volunteer placements, projects, and try to engage as much as possible.
As the asperger person has matured, the immediate supervisor, or instructor may see what a wonderful person they are. Because the broader social network structure is not there, there is no real recognition of the asperger's accomplishments. As the asperger's persons true value is not seen, Invitations or offers of anything of value are not forthcoming. When I refer to something of value, I'm talking about something with big opportunities of remuneration, and / or public acknowledgement.
IN MY CASE, MY RADIO STATION
As many of you reading this may know, I've been running my own radio station for the last ten years, unfortunately its only internet based. Yet it is only my two friends down the south coast, and my instructor with his wife from my 2008 Tafe course who know how much effort I've placed into getting 2PR FM together.
Outside the circle of the few friends I do have, the opinion of what I've put into 2PR FM is very different, more to the point of very indifferent. Many feel that setting up my station is very simple. The misconception being that all I've done is simply installed some software, plugged in a microphone, and done it all within two minutes.
THE BEDROOM JOE MENTALITY!
Welcome to the point where I now coin the phrase "THE "BEDROOM JOE" mentality. This is where those who are in a position of authority think I'm just another Joe running my radio station from my bedroom. As stated above, this is where it's imagined I've simply installed software, hooked up a microphone, and started my station in five minutes.
Whether it is a wikipedia admin, bank manager, broadcast network CEO, this is the opinion they all seem to share. The principle issue here is how to change this view-point, as in reality it seems to be a strongly held misconception.
It's the idea of communicating to any of these people that I have spent many hours toning, colouring, and formatting my website to fit a particular mood. The testing, configuring and operations of the "Audio on Demand" program schedule that aired during 2001 to 2009. The concept of designing brochures, flyers, posters, and material for promoting 2PR FM across Sydney. The reality of traveling to different places, walking the streets, and dropping material at different locations for distribution, most of which was done from 2003 to 2006. The production of radio shows, station promos, and on air IDs done on professional Sony software. The compiling, production, printing, archiving, and research of many different music charts.
During 2007 the internet was rapidly evolving into the broadband era, which allowed 2PR FM to move from "Audio on Demand" to live broadcasting. Though initially just streaming over the net, a live environment meant that terrestrial broadcasting is a potential possibility.
From 2008 onwards, I've been digitising my entire CD and vinyl library to TM Century Standards. This means aside from having each track transferred cleanly from its source to hard-drive, every individual song needed to be processed. This is in the volume of each song being normalised, so the output level is consistent throughout my entire broadcast schedule.
So that every thing starts on que when going to air, every individual track needed to be trimmed at the start and end. Though this is work that could automatically be done by software, I've chosen to do all this manually, so I know that each song has been processed properly. When finished, I will have one of the cleanest sounding and most comprehensive music library of any radio station in the world.
With such a large music library, they are storage logistics to consider. A single back up method will not do, as a disc failure will mean the end of several years work. This means that several back ups in different formats has to always be considered, which also takes up much room. In light of this, the best media brands have to be used, as a back up is only as useful if it can only be retrieved.
So in light of what I've just mentioned, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and not considering the paper work, and submissions I'm currently compiling to get 2PR FM a terrestrial license. A simple submission for getting a new broadcast license is as thick as a phone book; everything you note within a submission has to have documented sourcing.
This is what a real radio station is about. Unfortunately the BEDROOM JOE who wants to open a mike, and talk away, is the impression many still have of 2PR FM in the corporate and administrative world.
I guess my next challenge for 2011 will be looking into ways I can change this, it's not going to be easy. I guess if the Max Moore-Wiltons's of this world, (chairman of the Southern Cross's) can come into my premises, and spare an hour of their time, they can come, and appreciate that there is a whole new radio experience at birth right here in Southern Sydney.