iPod + Broadcasting = Podcasting.
Definition from dictionary.com: “an audio file similar to a radio broadcast, which can be downloaded and listened to on a computer, mp3 player, mobilephone, etc”
OK. Enough of the clinical stuff. Think of the podcast as an audio DVR. Producers of podcasts range from complete amateurs to seasoned entertainment icons. Musicians, comics, philosophers, etc. I love to consume programs via the podcast. There are many and the content choices are growing.
You can go find podcasts directly from the source website or you can use iTunes to subscribe to the content and have it sync to your device. I prefer the iTunes method. It works fine and it’s easy.
I first started listening to Adam Carolla when he got canned from his radio job and started his own podcast to continue his show. He had a great following and CBS radio thought converting the station to music was a better choice. In the beginning of Adam’s podcasting the sound was poor and over time the show has really grown. I listen everyday.
From there I found other shows that I enjoy. I explored iTunes to find other shows. I like TechStuff (how stuff works) and Bill Simmons (The SportsGuy). All entertaining stuff, but the available content is crazy. Shows can be daily, weekly, random and the length of the show varies. If you want to browse for podcasts, just google “podcasts” or let me Google that for you.
The best part. Most of it is free. There are some that charge a fee for content. Whether is is Free or Fee is no different from the model of TV and Cable or basic cable vs movie channels. The market will decide. For example: Adam Carolla’s podcast is free but he has sponsors and will do live reads throughout the show. It’s no big deal to me… its free right?
What’s the future? It is hard to tell for sure, but I predict that as WiFi becomes more prevalent in major cities and other markets, we will see more of our audio content (even video) be streamed over the internet directly to our devices. Big corporate radio conglomerates better take note and adjust. I can no longer tolerate the repetition and hacky voices of FM radio anymore. I’d much rather queue up my own content and listen on my time. As I pointed out above, a podcast is like a DVR. We record (or subscribe) to what we want then listen when we can. I like to listen when I exercise, putter around the house, or when I mow the grass. If you have a smart phone, you can stream content using Stitcher.com. They have an app on which you can subscribe to shows.
More and more celebrities are using podcasting as a way to keep themselves relevant and/or removing the existing distribution structure of media for a more direct connection to their fans. Social networking also helps the artist keep contact with fans. Put it all together and you can remove the agents, the producers, the studios from interfering with your creative outlet.
Podcasting offers direct feedback to the number of people who are listening to your content. It is a hard measurement of who is consuming your material. Unlike radio and TV, there are hard numbers to present to advertisers as opposed to how radio/TV measures listeners/viewers.
Podcasts offer a much more long form of interviews. TV talk shows bring on their guests and they talk for 3 to 4 minutes and quickly move on. I am sure this is a result of a focus group study which, to me, is an indication (or result) of our society getting duller and more stupid.
I enjoy the depth of a long interview. It is far more interesting than listening to Cameron Diaz tell a stupid story about shoe shopping then plugging her next movie.
Podcasts don’t have the time constraints and can let the host and guests really dig into a topic. It is somewhat of a throwback to the older TV when Dick Cavett would interview guests.
So… that’s what podcasting is and how we, the consumer, can fit into this paradigm shift of media. Enjoy.