Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Podcasts are better than the original...

This article seems to confuse production with distribution. There are some brilliant podcasts out there which are available to download individually or you can subscribe to it through iTunes as a podcast. Podcasting to me has always been about subscribing to a favorite programme and having it pushed out to you, instead of having to go somewhere to pick it up each time.

Podcasting via the Apple Platform has always been an afterthought. If you use iTunes outside the UK, then you have to make do with the archaic iTunes interface which is linked to the iTunes store in your country. So in my case, the iPad keeps bouncing between Dutch and English, booting me out of the English language podcasts I follow and sending me off to the Dutch podcasts each time I update.

The fact that you can record and mix audio on any laptop has inspired a few people to come up with very creative formats which wouldn't work on the radio because they are perceived by the radio bosses as too specialist. I'm glad that This Week in Google isn't on the radio, for instance.

I'm also starting to see examples where the podcast is becoming better than the radio programme. A good example is the radio version of Click! which used to be called Digital Planet until a few months ago. The show was recently reduced in length from 28 to 18 minutes a week as part of the cuts to BBC World Service. Those involved haven't yet got used to the new rhythm and what's we're really getting is a truncated and rather breathless version of the older programme with what sounds like rather forced link-ups with the TV show and two line promos for other science programmes on BBC World Service radio. I've stopped listening to it on air because I know that the podcast version is longer, contains more reflective and relaxed extras and can fit into a more natural listening length for a format of this type, which is about half an hour for me. Strange that the BBC spends money on putting the TV version into a useful web/Tv context, but doesn't do the same with the radio programme where they appear to have to resort to other platforms to engage with their audience. The radio webpage is the true definition of dull...

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