January 27, 2006

PODCASTING — JUST A FAD? John Hawkins has some thoughts in response to my TCS Daily column on podcasting.

In truth, we don’t disagree that much. He’s right that podcasting isn’t ready for prime time yet. It’s just that to me, that’s part of the fun. A couple of points:

1. Podcast listenership will almost always be less than blog readership.

True. Oh, I get some listeners via iTunes, links from other blogs, etc., but nearly all come from InstaPundit, I imagine. And since not everyone who reads the site, the audience has to be smaller. But it’s not just about audience. I was just talking to a friend who does podcasts for NPR, and he said that after 20 years in radio he feels “rejuvenated” doing podcasts, because they take away the barriers between him and the audience. I feel that way, too. They’re fun!

2. Successful podcasts will just get picked up by radio stations.

Er, is this a bug, or a feature? I wouldn’t mind if my podcasts got on the radio. Would we take a deal to do the “Glenn & Helen Show” for a radio station? Maybe. And somebody smart will start an XM or Sirius channel that’s all podcasts all the time. (We’re not far from that — I heard Chris Lydon’s show on XM last night when I was out getting frozen yogurt for my wife and daughter).

Will podcasts that don’t get on the radio just be “vanity projects?” I guess — but that’s what blogs are anyhow, in a way, isn’t it? The important thing is that they’re fun, and some people like them. Like blogs, podcasts will fork — some will get big, and make money, but most won’t and will be just for fun. And both ways are okay.