What I’ve picked up from the reading so far is that podcasting is a quick, relatively inexpensive and easy way to communicate ideas to an audience: anyone can do it with a little time, energy and the right equipment. Of course, like anything both on the internet and in life, to do it well takes much more time, effort and money; the average person isn’t going to invest $1,000 in a piece of equipment. However, if you just want to regularly release a short message to keep an audience informed (the wine seller in TBPB comes to mind) this can be a great tactic.

My two podcasts follow some of the principles we’ve covered so far. For instance, A Prairie Home Companion has a short advertisement at the beginning and the end; this week’s was a short pitch for Honey Nut Cheerios. Instead of a crazy colorful cartoon bee or a snarky TV couple, the ad was simply a woman’s soothing voice briefly telling us that the cereal can lower cholesterol. Garrison Keillor is a master storyteller: his voice conveys gesture and emotion very well. He knows when to emphasize certain words and when to strategically pause. His sentences are not particularly short and concise, but the rambling quality works for him: it’s part of his gimmick.

Music that Matters is more of an “anyone can do it” type of podcast. The hosts are the station’s dj’s, who are used to addressing audiences, so there is a certain level of internal production, but otherwise the station simply syndicates the recording with no discernible editing; the podcast has obvious mistakes that could/should have been edited out. One thing I remember from my college radio days is that dj’s may never curse on the air, and songs with foul language may only be played between certain hours. If this example is any indication, podcasting seems to be a way to get around the FCC’s rules. A radio station can’t control who listens to its broadcasts, while the user controls a podcast, taking the onus out of the station’s hands. This does make me wonder how podcasts are regulated and who is responsible for this.

I think I’ve made a decision as to which book I prefer (HTDE), since I am slightly distracted by the language in TBPB. There are occasional grammatical mistakes, and if Geoghegan and Cangialosi didn’t put the effort to get this correct, what else have they skimped upon? Podcasting is an exciting communication technology, but it’s also important to keep communication basics in mind, especially when trying to legitimize a new medium.

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