Produced by Ziff Davis Media, Cranky Geeks first aired on DLTV in March 2006. It has since spawned its own website where it broadcasts half-hour episodes once a week. Panel discussions are led by John C. Dvorak, a journalist/broadcaster who has been writing for publications like PC Magazine since the 1980’s.
As Head Crank, he moderates the discussions with leading industry personalities, including CEOs, Veeps, and creators of major and minor companies in the tech world. Each week episodes are aired live, while downloads become available on the website within 24 hours in a variety of formats.
On Cranky Geeks, all the panelists are definitely geeks, and most of them are cranky, or at least that’s the vibe they give off as they debate topics like the future of blogging, Facebooking, and scraping. Guests include Craig Newmark, Kevin Rose, and other prolific web presences. All are clearly prepared for the show in advance, as evident by the photocopied “agendas” sitting in front of each of them, generally leading to well-thought discussions and debates. Half-hour episodes are divided up by short breaks that contain information (such as the definition of a vocabulary word) and advertisements (assumedly as a way to support the site).
Topics cover big events in technology (Sweden’s Pirate Bay scandal), cool gadgets (USB guitar), and other web-worthy news (will the IRS tax Second Life?). Panelists aren’t afraid to take opposing viewpoints, which ups the drama factor and allows Dvorak to remain the neutral host. If a certain topic covered in the discussion seems more intriguing than others, or if a viewer is short on time, three individual segments (5-10 minutes each) can be viewed independently of the episode. Viewers can comment on individual episodes or follow links referred to in the broadcast to deepen their Cranky Geeks experience.
If you’re a fan of Valleywag, Gawker Media’s “tech gossip rag,” you might want to take a look at this episode with former-editor Nick Douglas on the panel from before he got axed and before he looked so shiny.