Tuesday 14 October 2008

Recent podcast listening

For no real reason other than list-making, here's a list of my most listened to podcasts in recent weeks:

I'm also liking the The Media Show podcast (Radio 4) with Steve Hewlitt, but it's too early to really say as it's only just launched, but it makes for quite a good 30 mins listen so far. Interesting comparison with the Guardian's Media Talk (also often featuring Mr Hewlitt) - one very prepared, researched, with lots of "experts", the other 3 journalists chatting and generally being less than objective.

The Word podcast is an interesting one - terrible sound quality, no structure, no planning, just 3 middle aged blokes (sorry Matt) sat around in their office having a chat. It sounds like you are eavesdropping on them talking in the pub or round a dinner table, which I guess is the beauty of it. Once you get over the poor sound quality you ignore it and get lost in anacdotes from Mark Ellen, David Hepworth or the excellent Andrew Harrison.

I've been trying to work out if there's any unifying feature or consistency about these podcasts, something that might point to what makes a "good" podcast, and I've found two consistent things: none of them are particularly time sensitive - they all have a shelf life of about a week if not more, and none are longer than about 45 minutes. Some are broadcast radio programmes, some have never been near a transmitter. Some are high quality professional recordings, others recorded in a garage. So my only conclusion is that these are all pieces of audio that I value highly enough to download, synch with my iPod, and most of all, spend time listening to them. The important word in that last sentance was "I": this is a very personal form of media, listened to almost always on my headphones. In this case, it really is all about content that works for me.

I'm sure I'm missing lots of fantastic podcasts... so suggest some new ones.

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