Podcasting Grab Bag

Some more items about podcasting that caught my attention over the last couple of months.

TOP OF THIS LIST: Scripting News, Trade Secrets and Ego, by Mark VandeWettering, Brainwagon Radio, Dec. 9, 2004. In this article, Mark criticizes podcasting pioneer Dave Winer pretty strongly for Winer’s forthcoming podcast business venture with Adam Curry. (I suppose details will be out on that any day now.) I listened to the episode of Winer & Curry’s Trade Secrets show that irked Mark so, and it didn’t really bother me that much. However, I do think that Mark made some excellent points.

Mark wrote: “Podcasting appeals to me because nearly anyone can do it. On any budget. For any reason. To communicate with family. Or their community. Or their church. Or people with similar interests. Or people who don’t know what their interests are. Or people who just need something different to listen to. There aren’t any real obstacles to doing it, at least to anyone who wants to actually do something. We certainly don’t need an industry to make that happen – It’s happening already.” Absolutely. That, my friends, is exactly the point!

Mark explored this topic further in his Dec. 10, 2004 article Why is podcasting important? Brilliant. Don’t miss it.

Read the rest of this list…

  1. Cyrus Farivar, a technology journalist and world traveler, has started publishing one of my very favorite podcasts, Wanderlust Geek, where he recounts amazing and engaging stories from his travels. He just finished an 8-part series of tales about his trip to the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau. I can’t wait to here where he’s taking his listeners next. This is exactly the kind of content I’d like to hear more of in podcasts from around the world.
  2. EarthWatch Radio should be podcasting! This is a perfect example of a screaming opportunity. This excellent audio show on environmental issues, produced by the Gaylord Nelson Inst. and the Univ. of Wisconsin Sea Grant, already posts all its shows online in MP3 format. They don’t yet have a webfeed. However, if they add an RSS 2.0-format feed, and link to their show files as feed enclosures – wham! Instant podcast! Almost there, guys… (UPDATE FEB. 11: Earthwatch Radio is now podcasting!)
  3. Invasion of the podcasting people?, by Christine Boese, CNN Headline News, Dec. 8, 2004. This is one of the best introductory articles to podcasting for the layperson that I’ve seen so far in the mainstream media. This writer really gets it, and conveys to salient point well. It’s a good companion to my article, What is podcasting and why should you care?. Plus anyone who, like me, adores the 1956 classic Reds-under-the-beds film Invasion of the Bodysnatchers will not be able to resist the pun.
  4. List of articles about podcasting: This topic has certainly been getting a lot of coverage lately in mainstream and niche media. The social bookmarking service Del.icio.us offers a running list of links to media and blog articles about podcasting.
  5. Podcasting – Let’s chat, by Rory Blyth, Neopoleon.com, Oct. 23, 2003. A pointed, frank overview of the pros and of podcasting, especially regarding content issues. (Thanks to Web Talk Radio for this link.)
  6. Tim Bray’s take on podcasting, Jan. 4. He sounds rather lukewarm about talk-focused podcasting, which is fine – nothing is perfect for everyone. However, he did say something with which I disagree, and I’ll comment on it in a later article. Bray wrote, “Casting Isn’t Conversing Any activity with ‘casting’ in the name suggests one-to-many, and indeed, I think podcasting is way less interactive than conventional blogging. The reason is that when I’m reading a blog, I’m 100% engaged and I’m sitting at a keyboard. If something strikes a chord, it’s a matter of seconds to write in response; either one-on-one to the author, or to the author and the world via ongoing.”
  7. Getting to the heart of the podcast vs. webcast, by Rob Greenlee of Web Talk Radio, Oct. 26, 2004. Rob explores where podcasting is and is not innovative.
  8. Podcasting’s Potential, by Robert French, InfoPinions, Jan. 6. Another pretty good overview of the state of this new medium, with plenty of examples – including For Immediate Release, a new conversation-style podcast by PR gurus Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson (two of my favorite bloggers).
  9. IT Conversations Business Model: The Discussion. Actually, it’s more of a public brainstorming – and it’s really interesting. IT Conversations is one of my favorite podcasts. I think this discussion is a glimpse into the future of podcasting. Check it out.
  10. Of Power Laws & The Pod Squad, by Gregory Narain, Social Twister, Dec. 17, 2004. This article precipitated a debate over the perception of equality and exclusivity in the podcasting world. In short, famed podcaster Adam Curry has highlighted a select group of his favorite podcasters called the PodSquad. Since Curry is the most public face of podcasting, some Narain and others expressed concern that the Pod Squad would get undue publicity and gain unwarranted leverage in shaping this emerging medium. There was considerable discussion about this, especially on the Yahoo Podcasters Group. Narain summarized the results on Dec. 28, 2004 in Power Law Pod Squad Redux. Personally, I think such in-crowd efforts like the Pod Squad are pretty harmless, and unlikely to have much effect. I can understand why some people would be drawn to that sort of grouping, and why others would object to it. It just seems to me that such labels and groups are almost always ephemeral.
  11. Podcast Research: Intriguing project by a team of graduate students at the SUNY Buffalo School of Informatics. “Podcast Research takes the form of a blog and podcast that examines the podcasting phenomena and studies it with an academic eye. There are various themes the study is interested in such as whether it can be considered a serious medium as blogging has become, and whether commercialization (like it or not) has to happen before it can reach critical mass.”
  12. Dave Winer dares RIAA: On Nov. 17, 2004, podcasting pioneer Dave Winer laid down this gauntlet: “Now what I want – a $249 hard disk with every Beatles song ever recorded in MP3 format. Come on RIAA, cough it up. I want to pay! If you really want to break down the barriers, sell me a license for another $249 that lets me include the songs in my podcasts. I bet you make a $billion.”
  13. Polished Dave And Unsolicited Podcast Advice, by James Slusher, The Chair and Automan, Nov. 14, 2004. Comments on the importants of audio quality and editing in podcasting.
  14. RSS and BitTorrent, by FeedDemon creator Nick Bradbury, Nov. 26, 2004. One difficulty with podcasting, from the podcaster’s perspective, is bandwidth. When a ton of people start downloading MP3 files off your server, your bandwidth consumption and costs can skyrocket. The popular new tool BitTorrent, which redistributes the download burden, is one possible solution to this dilemma. Bradbury explains this issue pretty clearly.
  15. Show Your Setup, a discussion thread started Nov. 23, 2004 in the Podcast Alley podcasting hardware discussion forum. If you’re interested in learning how to create a digital audio show and distribute it as a podcast, one good way to get your bearings is to learn about what kinds of equipment, software, processes, and techniques other podcasters are using. This discussion gives many examples and details.
  16. Podcast Tools. Another great resource for learning how to create online digital audio.
  17. Podcasting: Evolution or Revolution? A detailed four-part primer on making and listening to podcasts by Jake Ludington, Informit.com, Dec. 30, 2004. Especially good for Windows users.

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