I finally got my two pages for the 100 Bloggers book submitted to Jon Strande this week. He's given me permission to post it here. I'm sure it won't stop y'all from supporting the book when it comes out,
cuz there will be 99 much more incisive pieces than this from brilliant people such as Jeremy Wright, Tony Goodson, Mick Stanic, Hugh MacLeod, Johnnie Moore, Jory Des Jardins, Suw Charman, Jennifer Rice... just to name a few! Anyway the rules were we had to deliver two pages, less than 1000 words, on pretty much any subject we liked. I chose (unsurprisingly) - podcasting.
100 Bloggers – Get Your Head Around Podcasting
If you haven't heard the term "podcasting" yet, you are in the majority. Podcasting is, at its simplest level, the act of recording an audio program (like a radio show) and making it available on the web for people to download. It's the new, new thing. And, like many new, new things we've seen since the Internet boom, it may disappear before it gains mainstream awareness. It may fall into Geoffrey Moore's "Chasm" before people like my mum have even heard of it.
Okay, yeah, sure USA Today, the New York Times, The Wall St Journal and Wired Magazine have all written articles on it. But so what? They all wrote glowing articles in 1999 on WAP as well. Do you think my mum has ever used WAP?
So the question I'm going to ask and answer here is: Why do I believe Podcasting will become mainstream?
First, a disclaimer. Yes, I am a podcaster. No, I'm not an expert on marketing or technology or anything else really. I'm pretty much like you. I enjoy learning new things. I enjoy trying to figure out what makes the world tick. I enjoy the act of discovery and adventure. And I enjoy learning from people who are passionate about life, who understand things I do not, and who can expand my view of the world into new directions.
When my now co-host and business partner Mick Stanic first mentioned the idea of "audio blogging" to me in July 2004 (this was before the term "podcasting" had even been coined), I didn't get it and I couldn't even be bothered checking it out. It didn't have a lot of immediate appeal. I thought to myself "I can read blogs a lot faster than people can talk, why would I bother?" I didn’t realize at the time that “audio blogs” might be able to be moved from the PC to portable devices.
After I spent a month travelling around Europe listening to Tom Peters' dulcet tones read his "Re-Imagine" audio book on my iPod, I grokked to the idea of listening to something other than music through my white ear buds. Tom got me back into the zone of wanting to listen to smart people talking about smart ideas.
But anyway, I digress. Lost concentration for a moment there. That's what happens when you are part of the Sesame Street
Why do I believe Podcasting will become the first truly 21st century media channel?
There are several benefits that Podcasting offers over traditional radio. Let's explore those for a moment.
1. The concept of time-shifting.
Time-shifting media simply means watching or listening to your media when it suits you, not when it suits the broadcaster. The idea isn't new of course. The first time-shifted media application probably arrived in 1877 when Thomas Edison made the first recording of a human voice ("Mary had a little lamb") on the a tinfoil cylinder phonograph. Over the next century, this invention lead directly to the vinyl record, magnetic tape, VHS, DVD, PVR and… the iPod. In podcasting, we record audio shows which listeners can download and listen to at their convenience, once, twice, or a hundred times. You can pause, fast forward, rewind. These are things you can't do with radio.
2. Radio is boring, false and uninspiring.
The economics of radio requires it to create shows which appeal to broad audience demographics. This inevitably leads to boring programming. In addition, federal regulatory bodies such as the FCC in the United States censor radio content, sometimes to the extreme, so we end up with radio programming which doesn't talk how we talk, doesn't talk about the subjects we talk about and, essentially, does not represent either who we are or who we want to become.
3. Low cost of production and distribution
The economics of podcasting is at the other extreme to radio. We don't have to buy a multi-million dollar broadcasting license. We simply use a PC. It costs us practically nothing to produce a podcast and a small amount of money to host and distribute the shows. Our marketing is done through blogging, not through multi-million dollar television commercials. Thanks to our economic model, we can produce shows with niche audiences cost effectively, making our shows, hopefully, more relevant to our audience. One of the results of this last point is that podcasting is open and democratic. Anyone with a PC and broadband can start their own show. I believe new superstars will emerge from the podsphere who will become global household names.
So, let me wrap up here. I believe podcasting will become mainstream over the course of the next ten years. I don’t believe it will kill radio. I believe it will become an incremental audio channel which radio will leverage and that will allow new, independent voices to emerge.
Finally, a vision for the future. By 2010, podcasting will have become the first new media channel of the 21st century. It will lead directly, and quickly, to its sister concept, “vidcasting”. Get ready to witness an explosion of audio and video content. Sure, some of it will be rubbish. But some of it might change the world.
There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.