“Podcasting Is The Most Underappreciated, Underutilized Media Ever”

Feb 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Podcasting

Computerworld’s Mike Elgan has posted an interesting opinion piece, in which he calls podcasting “the most underappreciated, underutilized media ever”:

Podcasting is the most underappreciated, underutilized media ever. Some people never try it. And many who do wind up giving it up unimpressed. Too bad.

A new study (Lecture Podcast Listeners Outperform Class Attendees) found that students who listen to lectures on podcasts test better than those who listen in class. Podcasting is a powerful educational medium, second only to books, in my opinion. But unlike reading books, you can listen to podcasts while doing the dishes.

Podcasting is truly wonderful, if only people would give it the time it deserves. And it’s the best source of edcuation since the invention of the printing press. Better, it turns out, than lectures from top universities.

Podcasting represents the possibility of education without effort, and a universe of ideas, knowledge, information and wisdom that you can listen to while you’re doing the dishes. Podcasts give you a better education than students at the top universities are getting while listening to their class lectures in person.

It’s time to reconsider podcasting. It’s just smart.

Elgan’s praise may be a bit effusive, but it highlights an important point: podcasting is powerful, but it has a long way to go to reach its potential. 

What do you think is holding podcasting back?

Image: el patojo

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No Responses to ““Podcasting Is The Most Underappreciated, Underutilized Media Ever””

  1. msbpodcast says:

    It also offers the possibility of defeating the tyranny of demographics.

    MS afflicts one in twelve hundred people, or 0.0833% of the population, but there is a podcast for that (actually there are several, each feeding different needs.)

    Celiac disease afflicts almost 1 in 133, or almost 1% of the population, and there is a podcast for that.

    I could go on but the truth is that unless you are a popular athlete, a Hollywood star, a powerful politician or have a very common disease, you and your disease don’t exist to the media except as a plot McGuffin.

    That not the case for podcasting. Niches don’t scare us. Niches are where we thrive.

    And getting popular movies and TV shows served up via stream or as podcasts just means that people will accept podcasting as part of the mainstream.

    With Google, it doesn’t matter how obscure your condition, you can learn more, and even get entertainment about it too.

  2. msbpodcast says:

    Advertisers will adapt to he fact that there IS podcasting and, when combined with Google, its the best way to “get the word out there,” rather than the hit-and-mostly-miss method of broadcast advertising.

    Rather than an advertiser knowing that “I’m wasting half of my advertising budget, if only I knew which half,” podcast ad can be directed and shape actual responses to actual needs.

  3. The power of podcasting is not in advertising the power is in the content. But what could be holding it back is a couple of things; 1. That people have to wade through a lot of stuff to get to what they want. Browsing in a bookstore is something people know how to do browsing the itunes directory for audio is not as easy. 2. when they do find something that interests them and give it a listen there are often audio quality issues. In the early days we put up with bad audio because it was great to find people talking about stuff that wasn’t on the radio but as time goes on and software and equipment improves there is no excuse for the. The average non podcast listener needs at least comfortable audio. Bonus reason, podcasters are still in the fishbowl. They talk about podcasting to podcasters and listeners they need to find a way to speak to future listeners.

  4. Marc Krevo says:

    What about making podcasting a permanent teaching tool in schools? If this media needs to grow it needs to start with the youth. Encourage podcasting in schools to enhance learning. Our youth are constantly looking for other forms of learning.

  5. To me podcasting seems to have potential as a ground for new media, maybe not in itself, but in alliance.
    I wonder why none of the newspaper publishers got that.
    Maybe you, Mike, and I oughta make som groundbreaking business here. My vision is a publishing house combining news, advices, consulting, learning, collaboration and commercial one-to-one-bargaining with on-demand media like pdf, streaming, podcasts, vidcasts etc.etc.
    As commercial interests are withdrawing from the news publishing industry the publishers should pay very much attention on new ‘blue oceans’ – but do they? They don’t!

  6. […] James Lewin from Podcasting News found a great piece from Computerworld’s Mike Elgan Computerworld’s Mike Elgan has posted an interesting opinion piece, in which he calls podcasting “the most underappreciated, underutilized media ever”: Podcasting is the most underappreciated, underutilized media ever. Some people never try it. And many who do wind up giving it up unimpressed. Too bad. […]

  7. Tapeleg says:

    There are several things “holding back” podcasting, foremost is the audience. It take dedication to listen (or watch, but I’m an audio podcaster, so that’s the perspective I’m coming from) to a podcast. In my genre (hockey), there are plenty of blogs, which can be quick to scan and easy to pick out what the audience wants to take in. With my podcast, they have a commitment of a half an hour (or more, depending) that they may get the content they want, or not. To make that commitment once a week is more of an undertaking than the “competing” medium of blogs.

    The tools for podcasting are also a deterrent to podcasters. Many hundreds of dollars can easily be spent on podcasting equipment (yes, I know, garageband and the mic on my computer is free, yadda yadda yadda), especially if you want to have a quality product. One of the things I hear all the time about my podcast is how good it sounds, that the quality of the audio is top notch. I work hard for that, and also had to spend money to go with it. Most people want to have little fuss or muss with producing good content. They have great ideas, but have little money, gear, or knowledge of how to get it out there. They don’t know how a compressor works, or why they would want one. They don’t understand the formats, editing, posting, and even after all that, they still have to speak the language of the distribution systems (iTunes, WordPress, other hosting systems). Hell, the tools themselves are enough to drive you nuts sometimes. I use Logic Audio to edit my podcasts. It’s a good program, but how is it that GarageBand has a podcast track for adding enhanced podcast images, but Logic doesn’t? Why do I have to edit in one program, and then export to another by the same company?

    Podcasting isn’t being held back any more than mp3s were held back. It’s a medium, and it’s going to gain ground as more content is put out there. There is going to be more stuff, better stuff, and the people are going to start understanding how to access this medium better, and it’s going to be a more common experience. Word needs to spread that podcasts are full of content that an audience wants, and then the audience has to learn a new culture of access. Just like the VCR changed the culture of the audience, and how they could access their TV shows (content), we have to help instill the same culture. We need to get the audience to plug in their iPod (or whatever) when they go to bed, and fulfill the expectation that there will be something new there for them in the morning. We need to get them on board. The delivery system is in place, we just have to show them how to use it.

    And when they know how to use it, we need to be there to give them something to look forward to.

  8. Chris Knowles says:

    What;s holding podcasting back? It’s still tied too much to the desktop as updating your mp3 player is too fiddly and time consuming for the average punter.

    WiFi-enabled devices that will update themselves from the bedside table or bottom of bag will help but ultimately it’s going to take wide adoption of fast broadband on mobile phones. When you can simply subscribe and then have the content delivered autonomously over the air to the one device that nearly everyone owns, then podcasting will explode.

  9. […] Mike Elgan called podcasting “the most underappreciated, underutilized media ever” in a new opinion piece this last […]

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