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Monday, February 23, 2009

Why Is Podcasting So Underappreciated?

From the Computerworld Blogs:

Podcasting is the most under-appreciated, under-utilized media ever. Some people never try it. And many who do wind up giving it up unimpressed. Too bad. A new study found that students who listen to lectures on podcasts test better than those who listen in class. Podcasting is a powerful educational medium, second only to books, in my opinion. But unlike reading books, you can listen to podcasts while doing the dishes.

I believe the reason people give up on podcasting is that they don't take the time to choose the best podcasts. In that sense, podcasting is no different than other media.

For example, the average book isn't worth reading, and bookstores are filled with garbage. But when you shop for books, you browse and consider many books before choosing the one or two -- out of theoretical millions.

Likewise with TV. Almost all of the shows on TV are a complete waste of time, even for people who love TV. But once you discover that one show and reject 100 shows, you can really enjoy TV.

Radio, magazines -- all media are the same way. Most of the content is lousy, but if you take your time and find what you really love, the media is wonderful.

Trouble is, people don't take the time with podcasting. They try a few podcasts, then give up. And because podcasts are free or nearly free to produce, the ratio of junk to gems is even more extreme. There are a huge number of really bad podcasts out there. And it can also be surprising when a great source of content produces lousy podcasts -- which in fact often turns out to be the case. The New York Times podcasts, for example, are horrible. Great newspaper, lousy podcaster.

Finding the right mix of podcasts, in fact, takes weeks of trial and error. But once you find the best podcasts for you, you're set.


More here. I agree with a lot of what he says. I truly can't understand why podcasting hasn't taken off the way many of us podcasters *think* it should. One reason I can think of is too many podcasters use their shows mainly to speak to other podcasters. That probably turns off a new listener coming in for the first time. I know it keeps me from listening to a show for very long. Who wants to listen to a show that is nothing more than inside jokes you needed to hear three shows ago? A show needs to make sense to a listener coming in for the first time, every show.

What do you think could be keeping podcasting from truly becoming the next radio?


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