Digital Audio World

Musings and information on podcasting, digital audio, online streaming audio and home studio recording from Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon of

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

RSS Feeds - user friendly or not?

In this post from earlier this month, John Moore of Brand Autopsy Blog complained that RSS feeds are too geeky for the masses to latch on to. True, true.

Oddly enough, that may be one (small) advantage that podcasting has over blogs. John's complaint is that for anyone to read an RSS feed, you have to fire up your RSS reader or whatever.

But with a podcast, once you subscribe it automatically shows up in iTunes or whatever podcast aggregator you're using (have to get rid of that word 'aggregator''s really unwieldy)....time after time. Of course you still have to LISTEN to the damn podcast.

But that all boils down to content. How's your podcast (or blog or other) content? If you have compelling content, your listeners will come back. If not, well, you've got some work to do to create better content.

Monday, November 21, 2005

More on the Busines of Podcasting

Business Week's Jon Fine took on the issue of the business of podcasting in a recent posting. Mr. Fine made the observation that some questions about the medium remain unsettled, especially advertising:

"But it's not clear if listeners will ultimately regard podcasts the way they do downloaded songs, in which case an ad is unwelcome, or as a form of radio, in which case it's acceptable."

Jon even mentions the recent release of Wordcast from, a listener tracking service which is getting the old 'look-down-their-noses-at-such-insanity' reaction from many of the old-timer podcasters (old-timer, meaning anyone who has been podcasting for more than say, about 8 months).

For what its worth, I've been flip-flopping on the advertising issue, like any good politician. At first I thought people would rebel - "what, listen to ads on a PODCAST!??" But now, I think people will simply accept it as the cost of getting free unique content, which they're NOT getting on mass media.

The success of podcasting shows that those millions of iPod owners are starving for good content, whether its music, tech-talk, sex talk, wine talk, goof-ball talk, original music or interviews with cool people.

So we might as well give it to them, and let the sponsors pay for the freight, like any other medium.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

More Groups Chasing Advertising Dollars for Podcasters

From ClickZ News comes this headline: Podcast Ad Hype Spawns Many Upstarts. Apparently is not the only company to come out with a plan to organize podcasters and ultimately get a piece of any revenue stream they create out of that.

Will this idea work? As Zachary Roberts put it in his article, it's 'so problematic, yet so promising.' Agreed. Lots of hurdles to overcome, yet if someone can figure out how to take hundreds or even thousands of podcasts that each have a few hundred listeners and organize them into some sort of conglomeration and run advertising, there is certainly a pot o' gold waiting at the end of the rainbow.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Big Bucks Court Podcasting

Some interesting developments from Yahoo and Google regarding podcasting: Hosting and the Future of Podcasting With Yahoo!, Google and Audible. With the big boys stepping up with big bucks to grab onto the podcast pony, it's a pretty sure thing that podcasting will continue to grow. Not everybody's happy. But I would expect nothing less. Once big money starts moving in, the landscape suddenly gets rearranged.

As I read it, Yahoo! and Google and want to make it super-easy for the neophytes to podcast. Don't know what that will entail - probably some web-based interface where you can fill in the blanks and easily upload your MP3 file as it creates the RSS feed while you're sitting there munching your Oreo's and peanut butter cookies.

The bottom line is this though: for you to create a high-quality podcast, you'll need a few basics: a good microphone, editing software, soundcard, mixer or audio interface and the chops to create great content time after time after time. One good idea does not make a continuing podcast. But if you keep filling your podcast time with scintillating and entertaining material you are on your way!
Podcast Listeners Consume More Terrestrial Radio

Bridge Ratings just finished a ten-month study on how podcasting affects radio listening habits and - surprise! - podcasting actually increases radio station listening. A few of the details: listeners to commercial radio stations saw a seven percent rise in cume (?), and a fifteen percent bump in TSL (time spent listening) per week. Even public radio fared well in the survey.

Why the increase? It appears that the re-packaging of various radio shows as podcasts is a great branding tool. Not only does it give listeners a chance to hear some favorite personalities and shows again - or on their own schedule, it helps recycle the listeners back to the radio station. Podcasting also undoubtedly offers a chance for listeners to archive some of their favorite bits over time, and even burn CDs and share them.

I know that type of thing happens, because I do the same with a friend or two of mine, who don't have computers. I turned them on to Brian Ibbott's Coverville, but since they don't have an iPod or a PC, I have to burn them on to a disc.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Finding Your Own Podcast Voice

By Tim ‘Gonzo’ Gordon

Have you found your own podcast voice?

If you’re new to the podcasting world, chances are you’ll have a bit of a stutter-start to your podcasting career. Unless you’re used to speaking into a microphone and discussing your business or personal life, it takes a bit of getting used to.

Even once you feel comfortable in front of a microphone, count on more time to find your unique ‘voice.’

What do I mean by finding your own unique voice?

Simply put, it means being yourself – and letting go of any self-imposed restraints you may be putting on yourself!

Sometimes finding your unique podcasting voice might mean shouting or laughing uncontrollably. Other times it might mean whispering into the microphone to tell a heartfelt story. Whatever it means, you won’t find your true voice until you follow a couple of principles.

First: talk about what you believe in. REALLY believe in. I know, this sounds easy. But it’s easy to take some other writer’s information, create a few bullets points and ad lib your own version of the information. If you were to do that, ask yourself: do I really believe what he’s saying? Have I EXPIERENCED it? Does it work for me?

Second: disclosure. This is different from what you really believe in, because belief is a principle or an idea. Disclosure is part confession and part discovery. Other people are hearing you confess things you have discovered about yourself. When you disclose things about yourself it makes you more attractive to the people who like you. But disclosure also does something else: it can make you less attractive to the people who are not like you and may not agree too much with you.

And there’s nothing wrong with that! If you’re in business and you talk candidly about your style of business, you’ll attract those people who feel the same. You’ll also tend to repel those who don’t feel that way – and chances are you would not have really wanted to do business with them anyway. Those are the people that tend to be difficult customers, always making you work extra hard for your commission or fee.

So as you begin your podcast career, learn how to use your microphone – and don’t skimp on getting a good microphone – so that you’ll really bring out your personality and deliver your own unique podcast voice.

Remember, as you talk into your microphone in your studio, you’re only talking to ONE person. You’re not on stage in front of 500 or 1000 people, you’re not in a room full of friends and neighbors. You’re speaking to your microphone, and whoever is listening will take it in as if you’re speaking just to them – like an old friend."
The Future of Podcasting

By Tim ‘Gonzo’ Gordon

Anyone who predicts the future of podcasting - or the future of anything - is stepping out on a limb. The simple fact of trying to forecast what might happen invites trouble. What if you’re wrong? What if you’re so far off base that people will end up ridiculing you as time goes on?

Remember when Bill Gates said, “The most memory anyone will ever need is 640K”? See? Ridiculed. Of course he was much younger, and less wiser (and richer) than he is now. He certainly bounced back. But a lot of us remember his prediction that was woefully off base.

So in realizing the dangers inherent in making a podcasting predictions, I spent time recently looking at podcasting and how quickly it has attached itself to the mainstream of life on the internet. Of course, the ‘masses’ haven’t fully adapted to podcasting, or adopted it as a way of listening to online audio. But I think it’s not that far from becoming an everyday part of life for a lot of people.

The explosive growth of the iPod and other MP3 players is the main reason for the burgeoning adaptation of podcasting. It didn’t hurt that Apple quickly upgraded iTunes to be able to subscribe to podcasts.

Now, what about those predictions? I came up with a baker’s dozen plus one (okay, 14). I took a look at various aspects of how podcasting might affect the world, and broke them down into politics, business, the internet, education, and the music business.

In looking at politics, for example, I know that some high-profile politicians have moved into podcasting, most notably John Edwards, who was John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. Various other political entities have moved into podcasting as well, including Governor Schwarzenegger of California, The Republican National Committee and US Senator Debbie Stadenow of Michigan.

And that’s just the beginning.

So my predictions on politics and podcasting:

* Politicians and related political groups will move big time into podcasting for the 2006 mid-term elections, and even more so in the 2008 election. Podcasts will help sway the election of the next US president.
* In the next ten years, a third-party political group such as the Libertarians or the Green Party will emerge to become a party on par with the Democrats and Republicans in size and influence, thanks in large part to the viral spread of ideas through creative podcasting.

With the continuing disenchantment with both Republicans and Democrats, I see the groundswell of the ideas of third parties, in particular the Libertarians, moving more into the mainstream. And podcasting is a great way to spread ideas, explain political stances and interview the ‘stars’ of a movement. So with those two political predictions, podcasting is poised to have a huge impact on the spread of ideas that can influence how people vote.

The politicians who are going to win are going to embrace new technologies such as blogging and podcasting to get out their message and move their constituency to action.

Here are a couple of my predictions regarding the internet:

* Next year’s podcasting star is a person who today doesn't even know what podcasting is.
* Corporate podcasts will be so full of commercials that listeners will rebel and tune out, gravitating back to smaller and more independent podcasts.

With the speed of growth and change in the internet, I believe that in the next year or two one of the top podcasts will be created by a person who today doesn’t even know what a podcast is. But once they discover it, they’ll jump in with both feet and exploit the creativity o the medium to the max.

I also made predictions for business and podcasting: businesses will finally figure out how to make good money by using podcasting as a tool, even though most all podcasts will remain free. I think independent podcasters will become much more organized and figure out ways to sell their ‘podcast time’ to sponsors.

To check the complete list of podcast predictions, check them here:

Here's the press release about the predictions.