Getting the Podcast Bug

For the most part, I’ve taken a pretty laissez-faire attitude toward all the recent podcasting fervor. Spewing opinions over the internet is nothing new, and neither is the concept of an internet radio station. But as has been the case with weblogs compared to traditional web sites, half of what makes podcasting a powerful meme is the fact that publishing and distribution mechanisms are simplified and streamlined, standardized into easily consumable information streams.

If 99% of everything is crap, the same is true of weblogs and podcasts. Unfortunately, because you can’t time-condense podcasts the way you can skim an online publication via RSS, podcasting presents more of a temporal demand than does blog skimming, not to mention the technical hurdle of teaching non-geeks to subscribe to them, sync to audio players, etc. Still, if you can find a bit of time to listen, and are able to sift out the good feeds…

I don’t see the radio industry shaking in their boots exactly, but this is day one for the technology, after all. The newspaper industry didn’t think much of blogging at first, either. I’ll be working with J-School radio classes next semester to set up their first podcast distribution system.

After Jamie Wilkinson pointed out that NetNewsWire 2.0 has really slick RSS/MP3 enclosure handling abilities (it’ll even transfer downloads right into an iTunes playlist of your choice, ready for sync’ing), I decided to try listening to Slashdot Review and IT Conversations on my run today, rather than to The Slits and Plastic Bertrand. Made me feel old and dusty at first — continued erosion of my dwindling opportunites to rock out, but really enjoyed it and finished the run feeling like I had gained something.

Podcast Alley is teeming with options. Help me winnow the field here — any personal fave casts you’d like to recommend?

Update: Check out Darren Barefoot’s Why I’m Not Smoking the Podcasting Dope.

Music: Tipsy :: Nude on the Moon

5 Replies to “Getting the Podcast Bug”

  1. NPR’s On the Media: http://www.onthemedia.org/index.xml
    – hands down the most insightful 45 minutes of my week.

    WFMU (NJ free-form radio): http://podcast.wfmu.org/
    – eclectic music fix (who else plays ‘avant-retard’ music?)

    I’ve listened to Adam Curry, among many others, and I really can’t stand it. I’m a DJ on WNYU (shameless plug) and so have heard my fair share of really horrible broadcasts, but even the most amateur college-radio DJ will at least be playing good music — listening to someone rant about their commute or their broken microphone for 30 minutes a day is hardly worth my time. The ‘Audioblogging Manifesto’ Adam linked to above gets it mostly right, but I still have faith that podcasting can find a valuable niche.

    WNYU shows also only play once per week, and so does On the Media. This does wonders for quality control and I think podcasters should take the clue.

  2. Thanks all for the suggestions. The Manifesto was great – I’ll have to share that around with some Flash-obsessed peoples at work — his message about the strength of plain text is fundamental to so many internet-technologies-out-of-control.

    Adam Curry… what a blowhard! I last about 10 minutes with that one. Might give him another shot, but that was totally annoying.

    Really enjoying IT Conversations and Slashdot Review. The Moira Gunn piece on math in nature was fascinating… Haven’t tried Future Tense yet.

    Interesting that with all of the amateur podcasting out there, the majority of recommendations are for casts by professional journalists. Kind of tells you something.

    Keep ’em coming!

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