“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you to go bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up there is twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.” Phil Dick
There is a mythology that the radio medium runs smooth and clean, that it also uses the least amount of resources and it has no dross, or kipple.Well, it is not true at all.There is so much kipple in radio that there are times you are probably listening to it and don’t know that it is the basis of the medium. How has this come about?
The diversity of the medium and it’s extension into 24hr format has meant there is a lot of space to fill.Ever wonedered why the ABC has 3 quizzes in the space of 5 hours, with 3 different programmes, during its mid evening/overnight shifts? Well, it is simple the kipple has to be reproduced to fill in space that the medium can not (or does not) want to fill with something else.This is called, formatting, in the industry.In many cases I would call it the sublime pattern of laziness that sits at the bottom of formatting – it is a docile response to production where the only need is to fill in blanks, whether it be by talk or music.Its achievement is to create the impression that both words and music are interchangeable pieces of information, weak information, that is ony a reflection of the broadcaster’s immense knowledge on every subject – knowledge that is just kipple .I wondered for many years why no one seemed to be considering that the multiplication of kipple is so widespread in the medium.
It is advanced by many media theorists that with the generous spread across the social media of ideas, programmes and podcasts that more information will be spread across the new technologies. However, the generous spread is a thin veneer of shiny objects that repeat and repeats itself. Everything is part of the recycling kipple process . A programme recycled onto the web is just that, a programme recycled onto the web, it brings nothing more than the inherent infomation that needs to be produced, most of it uncritically analysed because there is now so much information available to us all,
I am deeply concerned that because we are bombarded at such a rate with this level of infomation we become desensitized to the fact that we must discriminate fact from fiction. The factoid is kipple. It is the wonderful output of those who must fill spaces. It applies to both – music or talk – because the critical faculty has been left at the door, or at the filtering end of the phone, or maybe at then programming policy end of the dial.