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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Makes A Podcast A Podcast?

As I was browsing through the reader today I happened upon a great blog post on Podcasting via Radio Drama Revival. It's very in-depth and lengthly, but touches on many points I agree with, and reminded me of exactly why I love podcasting as a medium above all others (I know, like I need reminding?). An excerpt of a part I sorta-kinda agree with:

Podcasts do not Have to be Polished and Professional

This one is non-negotiable. I was horrified and offended at Podcast Michigan by a presenter who spoke about how podcasts have "lowered the playing field." Among his talking points were many words to the effect of "be professional."

I couldn't disagree more. The podcast world is vast, and contains multitudes. "Polish" is code for "make it sound like everyone else does, or we will look down on you." "Professional" is code for "people without a lot of money need not apply." Oh, and also "people who want to record something important and true to them, but that won't fit into a recording studio, or sound just like NPR, need not apply." Really? I love some of what goes down on NPR, but it ought to be obvious that there is an NPR "style," and expecting everyone to conform to it is just as bad as expecting everyone to conform to the commercial FM radio style.

Read the entire entry here:

Why do I sorta-kinda agree? Well, the thing I love the most about podcasting is there are no boundaries, no limits. Only what you place upon yourself. That being said, in some cases I agree that there is no need to ever have that polished sound, depending on what you're podcasting about. (See the last entry and the audio on reasons your podcast sucks to get more details on that). It really depends on your audience and the reason you are podcasting (i.e. who you are podcasting for). There are also so many inexpensive and free choices out there to record/edit some very decent audio, which definitely can help anyone have a decent show if they are willing to put even a minuscule amount of effort into it.

Of course in special cases, such as a audio cinema podcast, some polishing is certainly necessary, but even then not 100% required. The beauty of it all is there is no one else you need to answer to other than you.

These of course are just my opinions of one part of a big blog post, and I'd love to know what you other audio addicts think!

Discuss! :-)


1 comment:

Naum said...

1. it all about the content

2. polish and shine is also essential, but only magnifies the 1st point — content is everything — audio can be scratchy and sound like it come from a sports illustrated sneaker phone speaker, but if the speakers are interesting and engage the audience, audio shortcomings are forgiven (unless the deficiencies are truly abominable)

3. it takes time to edit and mix and sometimes immediacy is much more paramount — many podcasts suffer because they don't get posted for a week or so after the recording, and when i listen, i feel, wow, the subject matter is so ephemeral, that it would have been interesting on that day or the day after, but now it is cacophony of irrelevance…

4. but quality is important and it doesn't take much to do a decent job — half decent mic, levels that are not drastically off, etc.…