Is podcasting the future?

September 16, 2005

I was a panelist at a PR conference about blogs today and I had a chat with Eric Rice and Michael Butler about podcasting. I’m not a big believer in the medium yet, mostly because the podcasts I’ve heard so far have been either mindless droning about random topics or long winded tech opinions I could’ve absorbed much faster through skimming blog entries. Sure, I can up the playback speed of podcasts, but I’m pretty sure I can skim my entire blogroll faster than I can skip through a hour long podcast without missing what they’re talking about.

Eric and Michael brought up good points about podcasting though, namely:

  1. Podcasting is like Tivo for radio – Yes, I see this angle. I’ve downloaded recordings off of NPR for consumption later and on the music side, downloading mp3s allows me to time shift my listening as well.
  2. Podcasting has a different dynamic than blogging – Most people subscribe to blogs because they like the author’s content. Eric says he doesn’t really subscribe to any podcast feeds, instead, he searches for podcasts that have interesting content (or ones that are recommended to him) and he grabs those. Eric’s usage seems like a fundamentally different model than what most people who subscribe to blog feeds are used to.

Either way, I told them I’d give podcasts another shot. I’ve got a 1.5 hour commute everyday from San Francisco to Mountain View anyways; they’ve recommended a few that I’ll probably grab and listen to in my car (fortunately, my head unit plays mp3s). Anyone out there have specific podcasts to recommend?

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No Responses Yet to “Is podcasting the future?”

  1. kevin Says:

    1.5 hour commute!! that’ll burn the gas. As far as podcasting goes: I’ve listened to a few. Just random bits. PBS started podcasting some of their programs, so I caught up on Einstein’s Theories last week. Most of the content, like you said, is pointless to listen to, because you can read/skim it quicker. I think what you really need is a projector that can project blogs onto your windshield. Kinda like BMW’s and Vette’s have for their speedometers. Now THAT would be cool- and adventurously dangerous!

  2. Eric Rice Says:

    One question I forgot to ask when we were having this conversation was, “How did you find out that NPR was something you wanted to listen to?”

    Another point is: most of my podcast listening these days is music… by a 5:1 ratio.

  3. Feeling A Moment Says:

    My fave is Silicon Valley Podtech.net…he interviews mostly entrepreneurs of small smartups and VCs…15 minutes, which is easily digestible, and asks some thought proviking and forward where-do-you-think-the-world-will-be type questions. you can find it on iTunes. I also like VoIP watch by Erik Lagerway. The Mercury News has a tech one that is decent. Of course, you gotta have a little Al Franken thrown in there to break up the techiness. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love your blog, btw. Awesome insights. Thank you.


  4. YES! I have recommendations!

    1. diggnation
    2. Engadget
    3. TWIT

    diggnation is by far the best of the three. Kevin and Alex have a background in broadcast journalism/acting/entertainment so it’s always an entertaining listen.

    Engadget often has the best info, but Peter and Ryan don’t have backgrounds in broadcast journalism and can get a bit boring/not know when to move on. They also tend to make sweeping predictions I disagree with and want to yell at them for every now and then.

    TWIT is the most mainstream of the three. It’s somewhat entertaining, but less appealing to me as a technical guy due to their mainstream focus. They appeal to macheads more than anyone. They often jump to conclusions that piss me off.

    When I first started listening to podcasts I went through about 15 different ones based on recommendations, listener bases, etc. These were the only 3 that stuck (and diggnation is the only one I truly look forward to listening to).

    The key is having knowledgeable hosts that also get broadcast journalism. Otherwise you get either a) bad info or b) boring presentation of good info.

    Give ’em a listen — I’m looking forward to hearing what you think!

  5. Alex Says:

    Saw your comment on the TIVO for radio bit, that’s basically what I’ve been doing over at http://www.radioripper.net. Right now RadioRipper is a moonlighting project outside of my day job (Microsoftie), and there’s a TON of content out there (including npr broadcasts). So far RadioRipper enables several scenarios around automatic recording and organization of whatever people hear or see online. I’m not sure if podcasting in general is going to be the future, but giving users the ability to fully capture their audio and visual experiences almost certainly will be.

  6. markjen Says:

    Hi Eric – I started listening to news/talk radio on my commute but I got tired of all the advertising and random crap on regular AM stations, so I turned to NPR and was delighted by the news and content.

    I didn’t know there was that much music being podcasted, but I’ll definitely be checking it out. Good free music is always a major motivator! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. markjen Says:

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, here’s what I’ve got on my list to try:

    – podtech.net
    – engadget
    – diggnation
    – twit
    – IT conversations

    And I’ll be on the lookout for some music feeds too… I’m sure Eric and Michael will have some suggestions on that front too ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Elza Says:

    Very+interesting+website


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