Listeners to any of Southern Cross Broadcasting’s talk radio stations and viewers of any of their television stations would by now be aware of the “MyTalk ” website, a hub for news, discussions, and the websites of their TV and radio stations.
All of the talk stations now have a live video webcam which is clearly still having the bugs ironed out of it. From the 2UE webcam, Paul Makin this morning (not actually on air at the time as the red light (little black thing under the monitor he is looking at) is not on):
Viewers of Southern Cross television stations would probably have seen the ad for MyTalk featuring John Laws by now. It mainly consists of Lawsie signing off from his show by saying “that’s all we have time for” (has he ever actually said that on-air?) and then explaining that there is only a limited amount of time on the air, but there is all the time in the world to discuss whatever you want on MyTalk, and if you sign up or update your details before May 11 you could win $100,000. The terms and conditions  have me a bit concerned though.
6. Inaudible, incomprehensible and illegible entries will be deemed invalid.
Well, that makes all of the entries invalid, as you can’t record your entry audibly for them. It’s a standard web form, and the last time I checked, it didn’t speak.
Also peculiar is the fact that the MyTalk television commercial omits any mention of the digital television version of MyTalk. For some peculiar reason it is also available as a “datacast” station with the latest news headlines, local and nearby weather and a few other bits and bobs (which this morning contained a short looped show of some bloke talking about pets in the State Focus studio).
If the digital television version of datacasting is using up the bandwidth of a standard television service to display a screen with a bit of writing and a couple pictures, which can’t be manipulated by the viewer in any way, then I say bring back teletext! Actually I think Seven’s digital broadcasts still have proper teletext, but only some set top boxes support it. I’ll have to find that spare set top box and see if there are any teletext services associated with MyTalk. I know the local station, Southern Cross Ten, were running a test teletext service on their analogue station a couple years back, so it’s certainly not impossible.
MyTalk datacasting runs on channel 55 in most areas, and either 66, 77 or 99 in others. Of course if you don’t have a Southern Cross station in your area, then you don’t get their datacasting. They have a list of places and stations here .
It’s good to see traditional broadcasters making a genuine effort at getting in to the online arena, and MyTalk is fairly impressive and will probably prod 2GB to expand their offerings, and push the ABC to finally become serious about having two-way discussions rather than guestbooks. I’m a bit skeptical about the point of having the digital television version of MyTalk, but it’s a start and I’ll give it some time to develop. These things always seem to take someone to take a risk and launch something new and bold, and much to my surprise, it looks like Southern Cross Broadcasting have paved the way. Now we just have to wait and see what the others do.