Getting to Know... Thomas Kennedy
1. What do you do at PBS Interactive?
As an intern at PBS Station Products & Innovation, I'll be spending my summer working on Project Merlin, COVE, and the Station Remote Control website. I'll also be helping out with webinars and exploring new ways for PBS to utilize social media platforms. I recently graduated from the College of William and Mary and look forward to starting my professional career as the newest member of the SPI team.
2. How did you get involved with Public Media?
When I was a student at William & Mary, I worked as a Production & Tech Director for the campus radio station. I fell in love with hosting radio shows and spinning everything from intergalactic space jazz to Cold War rockabilly records. I also became very involved in finding innovative new ways to share station content with listeners. After spending last summer interning with WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington DC, I decided to pursue a career in public media. Now that I'm an intern at PBS, I'm very excited to be working at the forefront of technological innovation in the public media industry!
3. How will the interactive landscape change over the next few years?
The future of interactive technologies is already making its way into our pockets via smartphones that are more powerful than the computers I used 10 years ago. With the entirety of the Internet crammed into the palms of our hands, information has never been faster or freer. Augmented reality apps and Apple's new mobile video-call service are even making it possible for online information to enhance the images captured by our own eyes. Part of me is a little scared that we'll all end up living like the blob people in Pixar's Wall-E, but at least we'll be sharing more information than ever before.
4. If the Internet didn't exist, what job would you have?
I would be a starving artist or a starving musician... either way, I'd be hungry.
5. What is your favorite gadget and why?
Honestly, I'm a guy who loves gadgets and has to tinker with anything that has knobs, blinking lights, or a touchscreen... but if I have to pick one gadget to be my favorite, I'd have to go with the digital sampler. Ever since Afrika Bambaattaa launched us to Planet Rock back in 1982, digital samplers have been used by hip-hop DJ's and electronica beatmakers to transform old music into something new. Some listeners may not realize it, but many artists use these gadgets to chop up older songs and rearrange their slices into new musical patterns. Digital samplers function as electronic musical instruments that generate sound not from strings or keys, but from triggered snippets of other recordings. I like the idea of deconstructing the world's music and reshaping it into something that is relevant to a new generation - in a way, it's similar to how today's Internet technologies are transforming the modern consumption of media.
6. If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would they be and why?
Haruki Murakami - With his unique combination of humor, surrealism, and postmodern alienation, Murakami has written a stream of masterpiece novels, including The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. He writes in the same way that I think, so I'd love the opportunity to just speak with the man.
Sun Ra - With a career spanning from ragtime to swing and bebop to electronic free jazz, Sun Ra's recordings transcend music. Claiming to be a cosmic philosopher from Saturn, Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Solar Arkestra traveled to Earth to spread harmony through music. It would be amazing to talk over dinner with my favorite musical artist - plus, who could turn down a meal with an alien that plays a Minimoog?
Banksy - As an international man of mystery and perhaps the world's most prolific street artist, Banksy has singlehandedly transformed the art world with his guerrilla-style street paintings. I want to know what he thinks of his own unlikely global popularity, as well as his opinions on the 'museumification' of street artwork.