“[An] excellent show that is part of this new communications environment in which people can be offered a way to reflect rather than to react.” Prof. Manuel Castells on Hearsay Culture.

Welcome to the website dedicated to the KZSU-FM (Stanford University) radio interview show and podcast Hearsay Culture, hosted by Dave Levine, an Associate Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and a Non-Residential Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School. In sum, each 50-55 minute show is designed to cover modern technology/Internet issues, but not from a purely law or geek perspective. From the KZSU-FM schedule description: “An interview talk show that focuses on the intersection of technology and society. How is our world impacted by the great technological changes taking place? Each week, a different sphere is explored.”

The name “Hearsay Culture” derives from the notion that technology — particularly the Internet — requires that humans filter information and decide how much weight is given to it. In United States law, “hearsay evidence” is generally defined as “a statement made out of court and not under oath and offered in evidence as proof that what is stated is true.” In that way, we live in a “hearsay culture” — the massive amount of information that people who interact with technology confront must be filtered with the consideration that it, too, might be hearsay.

Since its founding in May 2006, Hearsay Culture has received very favorable (and unsolicited) reviews on blogs and technology websites including ZDNet (“Some of the best discussion I’ve heard to date (and certainly recently) about the economics of intellectual property in the technological era . . .”), Concurring Opinions (listing the show as one of the author’s six favorite podcasts of 2007), and Technology Liberation Front’s Tim Lee (reviewing interview with Prof. Richard Epstein, and author noting that it is “one of [his] favorite podcasts”). More recently, Lee commented that the show is “probably the geekiest radio show in the history of the world,” which is viewed (at Hearsay Culture) as high praise!

Moreover, in December 2008, Hearsay Culture was listed in the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Journal’s Blawg 100 of 2008, as one of the “top 100 best Web sites by lawyers, for lawyers.” Specifically, Hearsay Culture was selected by the editors as one of the top five in the new podcast category. Hearsay Culture was also listed as one of 10 podcasts that are “essential for legal professionals” in an October 10, 2008 article by Robert J. Ambrogi of Law Technology News entitled “Ten Legal Podcasts to Keep You Informed.”

Despite its apparent appeal to geeks and IP nerds, the show is aimed at a broad audience. It is important to emphasize that although the host is an IP, entertainment and cyberlaw attorney by training, and the guests are immersed and leaders in the topics discussed, the goal is to engage in dialogue that can be interesting and accessible to those with a wide range of interest and knowledge. As explained by KZSU-FM’s Program Director in one article, the show illuminates “technology law issues for non-nerdy non-lawyers.” While many would consider the host a nerd of sorts, and certainly a lawyer, it is hoped that both technologists and technophobes, lawyers and non-lawyers, academics and practitioners, might find the discussion illuminating.

Additionally, the show is a conversation. While the host generally asks questions and the guest answers, there is no script and the conversation can naturally develop as topics and responses warrant. To that end, there is no post-production editing of the conversation; what the listener hears is akin to sitting in on the discussion as it happened.

KZSU-FM, Stanford University’s non-profit, non-commercial radio station has afforded the opportunity to create “Hearsay Culture.” You can learn more about the station here and find its program schedule here. The show airs by KZSU-FM live stream (or, if you are in the San Francisco Bay area, on 90.1 FM) from 5 to 6 PM PST on Wednesdays, and is available afterwards on this website, on the CIS website and by iTunes podcast. Note also that the KZSU-FM radio version of the show always includes music and is usually recorded, but occasionally is a live on-air interview.

This show could not be created without the support of several people. First, thanks to my colleagues at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS), who have supported this idea from the beginning (and all whom have or will be guests!) Of course, everyone at KZSU-FM, especially the General Manager, Program Director and Chief Engineer, have been invaluable. Thanks also to the information technology staff at Stanford Law School for their hard work and expert assistance. Of course, the guests deserve my thanks, without whom there would be no show. Lastly, thanks to my wonderful wife Heidi, who bears with scheduling and always offers helpful comments and suggestions.

There could be more writing here, but, given that you’ve likely read this far, it may be better at this point to ask you to listen to a show or two. From this website, you can check the upcoming schedule of guests, download and listen to audio of previous shows, and, in the blog, find links to issues and ideas discussed on previous shows. Thanks for checking in, and I hope that you enjoy what you hear and see!

If you’d like to contact the host, please e-mail Dave at