Melanie Adcock reflects on her first two years on the radio airwaves as host of Tech Scene Chicago on Lumpen Radio

 

I’ll start by saying I love radio. I was never much of a singer in school, and my voice cracked a humiliating crack during cheerleading tryouts at age twelve (no, I didn’t make the team), but there is something about using my voice. I love the way the subtlest of emotion and expression in other people can be detected through just hearing the sound of their voice. Much more than speaking, I love listening.

Radio was much easier for me than cold calling and sales. My beginning in the technology industry was as a business development executive who was setting appointments to sell enterprise B2B software. Listening to subtle hints in the prospect’s voice helped turn my message around in a second to get that meeting scheduled. Before starting a cold calling campaign I would record at least twelve practice messages and listen to how I sounded. The way my voice sounded could mean the difference between making quota or not. The happy day when I retired from selling for other people to start my own business as a writer of tech industry related content, I still missed using my voice. With all of the inequality in the tech industry and the woes of so many women and minorities not getting the support and props they truly deserve, I couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing. Articulate and purposeful communication to help increase access to the tech industry, for me, was something I had to do.

As luck would have it, I had some friends in Chicago named Ed and Logan that were starting a brand new radio station called Lumpen Radio a couple of years back.  Edward Marszewski and I met over a decade ago at an art event I was coordinating at a place called Buddy Gallery in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Logan Bay and I met even before that in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago when he had a sound and art gallery called Bruner & Bay. When Ed and Logan were asking people to volunteer to do radio broadcasts and they listed technology as one of the topics, I called them right away, did a mock-up interview, and created an mp3 file with some of the world’s worst sound quality to share with them, but they liked what they heard, and the rest is history.

Over 100 guests later, the radio broadcast, Tech Scene Chicago, now has over 10,000 listeners for every transmission and is one of the oldest and most listened to shows on the Lumpen Radio station today. Lumpen Radio is on the local Chicago FM radio dial at 105.5 FM WLPN LP Chicago. They have exciting programs and rare music that you can’t find anywhere else. I am so proud of what they have created in the two short years they’ve been on the air.

There is a lot to learn about radio if you’ve never done it and are not familiar with this industry. Radio is not the same as a podcast. Lumpen Radio is a non-commercial station and a non-profit organization. I have certain FCC restraints on my show as a result. No one seems to mind that much though because it’s such a great experience to get in front of the lipstick microphones and speak on the topics that ignite our passion about technology for a few hours a month. I make it a priority to give exposure to different people and new names and faces in the city of Chicago where the same small group of people who are supposedly successful seem to be recycled over and over again in the news without much variety. I wanted some other people to have a chance to be known for their excellent work as well.

After two years I finally decided it was time to do some research on other podcasts about technology and read some of those advice columns about how other people do radio and podcasting. Admittedly, I was so enthusiastic in the beginning I jumped in with both feet and started pushing forward with my big heart out there for everyone to see my passion, flaws and all. I think now in hindsight, that was way more important than reading a bunch of tutorials. People want passion. They don’t want perfection. My research did not find another podcast or radio broadcast anywhere in the country that I’ve seen that focuses exclusively on technology community meetups and events like I do.

Tech Scene Chicago is the year-round marketing arm of Tech Month Chicago, an organization that produces a one-month awareness calendar every September. The calendar features local tech events like the events featured on the radio broadcast and promotes these meetups, lectures, mixers, and networking events to the general public, inviting them to take a look at the tech insider crowd in the Chicagoland area. It helps to get the word out about tech events to the general public. Publicizing the tech scene more is significant in Chicago because we’re not silicon valley, but there is still a ton of cool stuff going on that most people don’t even know about that is going on right under their nose. The tech meetups in the Chicagoland area are where you will find the epicenter of tech and geek culture in our city. It is still very much an underground and foreign culture to those outside of the tech industry. I host this broadcast to help bring to light what happens at these events.

All too often breaking news in the tech world centers on funding, successful exits, and companies that are going out of business and of course in Chicago, you’ll get the occasional corruption story. For me, what is generally covered in the more prominent outlets, is only part of the news. When someone bright and beaming like Shanya Atkins starts a tech meetup called Queen’s Brunch to expose women of color on Chicago’s south and west side to aspects of the tech industry, it should be celebrated. To me, that is a great story. No one is funding Shanya, no one told Shanya to do this, but she is doing this, and she is making a difference. To me, that is a story. For me, it’s a good story when Pat Maher from SPR Group is setting such a great example in his role as Civic Engagement Director for how other companies can interact with the public, and hire a diverse staff including people with disabilities. When our community is doing amazing things to help one another, to me, that is a good story. I try to help tell those stories because at present they are not getting enough attention.

My goal as the host, creator, and producer of Tech Scene Chicago is not to stop until everyone who wants to be on my broadcast has had a chance to be on it. With over 465 meetups in the Chicagoland area that focus on technology, I think I’m going to stay pretty busy!

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Tech Scene Chicago airs on 105.5 FM WLPN LP Chicago, Lumpen Radio every first and third Friday of the month at 1 pm. Not in the area of our radio signal? You can also stream it live on www.lumpenradio.com

You can also catch rebroadcasts of our live show every Saturday morning at 9 am on Lumpen Radio.

If you have a meetup, networking event, or lecture series that focuses on tech, STEM or STEAM, let us know, and we’ll feature you on our show. We give priority to events that are open to the general public and serve the public interest. You can contact me, Melanie Adcock, right here on LinkedIn to inquire further.

Tech Scene Chicago is produced by Tech Month Chicago, an organization, galvanizing a month-long series of events every September. Visit www.techmonthchicago.com to learn more.

Tech Scene Chicago airs on WLPN-LP Chicago, 105.5 FM, Lumpen Radio, a non-commercial, radical radio station in Chicago showcasing innovative ideas, highly curated music, and commentary. To learn more visit www.lumpenradio.com.

Tech Scene Chicago Archive to date:

bit.ly/techscenechicago1 04/29/2016 John Polacek, Monica Metzler, Dan Rezac, Rashad Sallee

bit.ly/techscenechicago2 05/20/2016 Shayna Atkins, Meghan Hausman, Steven Philpott, Edward Yu

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago3 06/03/2016 Pat Maher, Fenesha Hubbard, Amanda Signorelli, David Carman

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago4 06/17/2016 Allyson Scrutchens, Mark Andersen, JD Pirtle, Matt Washington

bit.ly/techscenechicago5 07/01/2016 LaShon Anthony, Isabelle Rizo, Brian Laughlin, Julian Kidd

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago6 07/15/2016 Alison Stanton, Brent Williams, and Adam Hecktman

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago7 08/05/2016 Carl West and Jeremie Bacon

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago8 08/19/2016 Emile Cambry, Deena McKay, Megan Rhyme, Elizabeth Hicks, and Roger Zare

bit.ly/techscenechicago9 09/02/2016 Harrison Horan and Brenda Hernandez

bit.ly/TechSceneChicago10 09/16/2016 Wok Barry, Stephanie Spetter, and Eric Wierzbicki

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago11 10/07/2016 Derek Eder and Calvin Flowers

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago12 10/21/2016 Eileen McFarland, Linwei Cheng, Mary DuQuaine, and Linda Olsheska-Brenner

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago13 11/04/2016 Lee Hopkins, Fabian Elliott

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago14 11/18/2016 Phillip Jackson, Scott Kitun

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago15 12/02/2016 Arcot Naresh and Brian Rodriguez

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago16 12/16/2016 Justin Love and Adam Hecktman

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago17 01/06/2017 Leslie McKinney and Brian Bar

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago18 01/20/2017 Todor Krecu

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago19 02/03/2017 Bob Johnson

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago20 02/17/2017 Dan Green and Carolyn Nivling

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago21 03/03/2017 Brian Kroll

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago22 03/17/2017 George Vukotich, Ginger Sovari Bucklin, and Gregg Walrod

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago23 04/07/2017 Jerrell Mardis, Christopher Agocs, and Jessica Fong

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago24a 04/21/2017 Jeremy Dunn, Eric Reyes, and Monica Swope

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago25 05/05/2017 Julia Kanouse and Travis Johnson

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago26 05/19/2017 Jeff Smith and Andrew Ettenhofer

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago27 06/02/2017 Don Wittmer, Darren Olson, and Christina Rodriguez

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago28 06/16/2017 Todor Krecu and Kayley Carswell

http://bit.ly/TechSceheChicago29 07/07/2017 Tracy Powell and Bobby Nicholson

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago30 07/21/2017 Jamilia Parham and Deena McKay

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago31 08/04/2017 Bill Allen and Joanna Vahlsing

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago32 08/18/2017 Kim Kleeman and Christine Pietryla

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago33 09/01/2017 Eric Vazquez and Lesley Etherly

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago34 09/15/2017 Kent Green and Ashley Purdy

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago35 10/06/2017 Peter Selarno and Angela Li

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago36 10/20/2017 Dante Hamilton and Nakia Green

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago37 11/03/2017 Homa Ghaemi and Dennis Deacon

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago38 11/17/2017 Nathaly Salas Welch and Beth Shea Palmer

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago39 12/01/17 George Williams and Carol Davids

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago40 12/15/17 Jonathan Terrasi and Lauren Ramsey

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago41 01/5/2018 Wok Barry, Dave Jacobs, Monique Phillips, and Ruben Agosto

NO RECORDING 421/19/2018 Chris Rollyson and Jonathan Freeman

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago43 2/2/2018 Hannah Rosenberg and John Edel

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago44 2/16/2018 Kathryn Gray and Adam Reed Tucker

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago45 3/2/2018 Kara Kennedy and Anne Mayers

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago46 3/16/2018 Michael Weinberg and Stel Valavanis

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago47 4/20/2018 Jennifer Traut-Todaro and Carl West

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago48 05/04/2018 Amara Enyia and Monica Metzler

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago49 05/18/2018 Christina Whitehouse and Jonathan Terrasi

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago50 06/01/2018 Lauren Ramsey

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago51 06/15/2018 Matt Stratton and Anne Wermuth

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago52 07/20/2018 Nathan Vermeiren

http://bit.ly/TechSceneChicago53 08/03/2018 Amanda Elliott and LaShon Anthony