I’ve been looking into podcasts recently (yes, I know I’m well behind the cutting edge here). This was triggered by two things – the first is LUGRadio, and the second is upgrading to Ubuntu on my desktop, which made installing iPodder really quite simple. Actually, the apt-based installation is the only simple thing about it, but I’ll save the UI rant about iPodder for another time.

But what has really struck me is: who listens to this stuff? Adam Curry, the “Podfather”, podcasts The Daily Source Code for up to 45 minutes, daily. Who uses three quarters of an hour of their life every day to listen to him? Or anyone, for that matter? An hour a month I can understand, but an hour a day? It’s like soap operas – people spend so long living other people’s lives that they don’t have any time to live their own.

Hmm. I spend maybe around that long listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 in the morning before I get up, so I suppose it’s not impossible. But that at least tells me reasonably useful information about what’s going on in the world. And there are thousands of these things! Audio overload!

A recent Daily Source Code (324) had a segment about a guy and his show called “the podcast reviewer”. So this was a podcast about a podcast about podcasts. Incestuous or what?

Podcasting isn’t like most radio. Radio happens in the background (that’s why advertisers like it); podcasts, which tend to be speech-heavy, demand your attention. And I’ve heard very little yet which really deserves it. Well, with the possible exception of LUGRadio, which is good except they feel the need to swear all the time.

10 thoughts on “Podcasting

  1. From what I can tell, podcasting requires a lengthy commute. I’m simply overwhelmed by the amount of content out there; audio recordings represent higher data bandwidth than text, so now it’s like the world can ramble on even longer in its blogs, etc. How on earth can anyone keep up?

  2. I’ve tried to listen to a podcast or two, but I just can’t get into it. I like weblogs, and the web in general, because I can quickly skim content to see if it’s worthwhile, and spend my time reading the good stuff. In addition, I can open up multiple background tabs and then read through them at will, even skipping between them as I choose. Podcasting takes away all those features. You can’t skim, you can’t easily flip between different sites, and you can’t even take it in at your own pace. I just don’t get the appeal.

  3. I agree about speech podcasts. On the other hand, I have a favorite blues podcast that is essentially an hour long radio show full of music.

    Alistair Begg has also started releasing his stuff in podcast, http://www.truthforlife.org/ if you’re looking for speech.

  4. I don’t see how it’s different from radio. LUGradio in particular is just like BBC talk radio with more swearing, to a large extent. (I’m more annoyed by the fact LUGradio usually rehashes things its entire listener base read on Planet GNOME two days ago than the swearing.)

    The projected audience is people who can afford to work three-hour days but who don’t have the eyesight to work in Web publishing, from the looks of things.

    – Chris

  5. As for your question “who listens to this stuff,” I listen for 20 minutes a day while eating my breakfast at work.

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