Monday, 26 October, 2020

This is the start of an idea that I had around 2009. It’s a quick sketch for some kind of retro-future where people broadcast audio from their rooftops.

It’s partly inspired by Luke 12:3

that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the houstops

but my idea has nothing to do with religion. Just tech.

Shouting from Your House Top

Anyone can shout from their house top. All you need is a house with a top and some way to climb up there. However, if you want more than your next-door neighbors to hear what you have to say, you’ll need some basic equipment.

The simplest form of amplification is the megaphone. The modern-day electronic version is often called a bull-horn…

Shouting from the House Tops

Jimmy sat on his roof wondering if this was a good idea. There was a handful of people gathered around his house; he figured he owed them something just for showing up.

He keyed up his PA and said, “Hi, there.” A few folks shouted “hi” back at him. But he was the one on a roof, so he just started reading his script.

“Modern forty-tooth gears are worlds smoother than even the best hundred-toother from sixty years ago. So it’s easy to see why manufacturers are trying to get away with the thirty- and even twenty-five-tooth gears in entry-level transmissions…”

By the time he had finished reading that first paragraph he was in his comfort-zone: transmissions. He could (and did) talk with people about transmissions for hours at a time. His education was engineering, but he was mostly a technician these days. People would bring their transmissions to him and ask him to fix them, or troubleshoot them, or sometimes even customize them. he liked the work and it paid well…


I imagine some folks simply shouting from their housetop. Others, like Jimmy, would use a PA (public address system). New houses would start come with built-in PA’s. Some neighbor might record Jimmy’s speech and then play it through his own PA system. Popular shouts would get re-played all over town. And so on.

In other words: it’s a broadcast network without radio transmitters.