Allow me to touch on a touchy subject in the realm of podcasting. I’m referring to the battle of podcasters versus broadcasters. Can Joe Average pick up a mic with the same creditability as Bob Radio when he tires of cranking out 100,000 watts of RF[wiki] in exchange of thousands of bytes in MP3’s, or even both?
Photo credit: miss604 on Flickr
A lot of this stems from a comment left on my last podcasting post about many producers being “unlistenable”, and it’s tough for me to disagree.
There are so many people in the world that would love to be on the radio, and when they grasp the possibility of being able to get into podcasting, where they will get as close as they will ever get in their entire lives of being a disc jockey on the radio (which really don’t even exist like many dream about), it’s an epiphany of humega proportions. And when they learn that all you basically need is a microphone and a computer, first endeavors can be rough.
Photo credit: miss604 on Flickr
However, there is something that always gets me, and the thing that differs about me, compared to many podcast producers and as someone who works in the radio industry, is the amount of patience I have as a listener. The rawness that comes from someone who just wants to pick up a microphone and be heard is captivating to me. They want to say something but don’t know what to say or how to say it. The one thing they do know is that they just have this compelling urge to make something.
Listening to audio or watching video like this can be painful, tedious, or maybe even torturous. That really depends on the type of person you are, but if you don’t like it, don’t download it. And if you already did, delete it. There are thousands upon thousands of podcasts out there that you can track down and tryout, and even that can intimidate a listener. Going from radio to a medium where you are overwhelmed with choices can be frightening.
The amazing thing you have to remember about podcasting is that no matter how easy it is to make your own podcast, it is just as easy to not listen or watch what you want. Do you have as much ability to do that in the world of broadcasting? Take a minute to really think about that one.
Think about all the radio stations you can listen to on your FM dial. Count them up. Then count how many you can get on the AM side. How many broadcast TV signals? Cable? Satellite? If YouTube crosses your mind for even a second, then you can bet that the number of podcasts out there are vast. And if there isn’t something that fits with what you want, you could be the one to fill that gap.
There is freedom from everything we’ve come to know from traditional media in podcasting. When you have someone who has never been taught the constraints of censorship, time restrictions, or the ability to talk into the microphone at voice levels that actual human beings never actually converse at, the possibilities are endless. Not every formula or concoction works for every person who decides to become a podcaster, but at least they are stepping up to the plate to try.
The reality is that some sink while others float. That doesn’t imply that someone without broadcasting experience can’t take a chance at podcasting, and I encourage those folks even more.