Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 28/10/2004Podcasting. Does it get you hot?

Thursday 28/10/2004
Podcasting. Does it get you hot? The idea is that ordinary people like you and me produce a little radio show on their computers, send it out over the blogosphere or whatever, and then other people download it onto their personal music devices and listen at their convenience.

I can see the theoretical attraction, but I've got reservations. Producing something that's interesting to listen to for any length of time is surprisingly hard, even if you have something to say. Choosing what to listen to is also time-consuming, unless you have everything automated - and then you get an iPod full of stuff you know nothing about but is likely to turn up on Shuffle and steal your vibe for 30 minutes.

I have the ability, through a rather complex mixture of digital radios and server software, to move stuff from the BBC onto my iPod with a degree of automation, but rarely choose to do so. How likely am I to go to the bother for some pimply youth from Anaheim?

But my biggest reservation is that we've been here, done that and it didn't work. Remember Shoutcast? It was a way for ordinary people like you and me to produce a little radio show on our computers - etc. People are still using it, but a global revolution it was not. (I remember with some anxiety "Radio Jethro - All Tull, All The Time").

None of these arguments do any good against a friend of mine, who is bursting with enthusiasm for the idea. Despite my protestations, he talks me into going to a blog with 'loads of really good technical stuff' and a podcasting outgrowth.

I go over to the site my friend recommends, and download the show. Rather than load it onto my iPod, I decide to give the first five minutes a listen: if those seem good, I'll move the file across for later consumption.

It doesn't take five minutes. In around a minute I've learned that the bod casting is happy because he's had a baby - "well, let me make it clear, it was actually my wife who had the baby" - that he has no intention of getting to any kind of point, and that he has the sort of voice that would make me concrete up my ears rather than have it go on for much longer.

Podcasting. Hospital radio to go.