I spoke a couple days ago on why podcasting won’t catch on. Because I like to argue, even if it’s just with myself, here’s why it will.
First, let’s address the logistics of creating a podcast. It’s really not that hard. Be a “big spender” and pay the $40 or less for an audio recording and editing package. It can be fairly basic. It only needs two features: deleting a portion of the recording and saving it in mp3 format. There are some programs you can download for free and try out. That’s what I did for this podcast. Now a podcast won’t require eight takes to perfect. Once through is enough. If you fumble a word or two, just repeat that sentence or paragraph. You can delete the mistakes later.
Don’t worry about the microphone. What you have is probably good enough. If not, a reasonable mike is cheap. Plus, a mike on a cord is less likely to pick up the noises from your computer’s hard drive and fan.
Stop whining about writing for the spoken word being hard. Of course it is. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it. Besides, not all podcasts are scripted. Some are the equivalent of public-access cable.
Don’t compare podcasts with blogging. They can be very different beasts.
In fact, there’s a lot of podcasting being done by some unlikely suspects. If podcasting is making audio files available for downloading, talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck already podcast. Click and Clack of Car Talk do it. For that matter, so does my church.
I had argued that podcasting decreases visibility and accountability. It does the exact opposite. Talk shows and sermons that used to disappear forever are available for downloading and listening anytime.
There is programming just made for podcasting. Many live events would make great podcasts. Would you rather hear an interview or read the transcript? Hear a speech or read the transcript? Hear a musical performance or read the sheet music? I think the answer’s clear.
Although it may take longer to listen to a podcast than read a transcript, you can be doing something else at the same time. Those without long commutes can do the dishes, mow the lawn, or jog around the neighborhood. Unlike reading a blog, you can listen to a podcast without being tied to your computer.
Sure, a foreign language podcast is still foreign. But if you’re learning to speak that foreign language, listening to a native speaker could be better than trying to read the blog online.
There was one disadvantage of podcasting I didn’t address before: podcasting is more expensive than blogging; at least it is if anyone’s listening. You have to pay for the bandwidth. But compared with the cost of owning a transmitter capable of blanketing the globe, podcasting is cheap.
Podcasting won’t catch on?! It has already.
Update: Save your cash. Read this.