I was discussing podcasting yesterday at one of those social network Xmas parties with a Murri bloke, the partner to a long time friend, who works for 4AAA --Brisbane's Country and Murri community radio station. And we were discussing the future direction of community radio given the recent reforms and the push for digitalisation.
I was aware of the pressures bearing down on community radio as the new broadcasting landscape is now all about markets and no longer about access nor community control.
4AAA's funding is now cut by one staff member per year although it picks supplementary income up because of its role as the main trainer for indigenous broadcasters covering the network of locally run Murri radio stations throughout Qld.
And he reckons that the problem with podcasting was so much talk --and indeed it is: prattle. Similarly why listen to music podcasts when you have to accept mp3 squished quality. No, podcasting is not a medium for music despite what iTunes tries to sell you. After exploring the world of the mini disc I get the point on that one loud and clear.
But it struck me that one of the major problems with podcasting as it is done so often is that it tries to be radio's digital cousin. I think thats' very true. I listen primarily to public radio podcasts and in effect that facilitation has revolutionized my listening: podcasting has changed my relationship with radio.
But it is another thing all together to reference podcasting as something else, other than radio, and I guess here it comes down to niche. It's true I can podcast audio recordings of a lecture or a talk ----and that's very useful -- but for my use of podcasting to be standalone and special I really have to answer the key question of what can podcasting do that can make the medium unique and useful NOW?
Well, given mypod-prenticeship these last so many months, I reckon it comes down to pitching for a standard time format that you embrace and make podcast patent. -- and not to make a long story of it, I reckon that formulation is something like 10 minutes. No one is stopping me podcasting for 30, 45 80 minute long episodes but if you really want to score, best that you invest all you can between the goalposts--which are so far apart.
Golly, maybe it's not 10 minutes. -- maybe it's thirteen or sixteen -- but at least you pitch for short and sharp without too much filigree --aka padding. Poems go by format ;pop songs do too --and on the web YouTube has done wonders with 10 minutes of video time. So like a haiku, form may not determine content but it sure makes it powerful because it concentrates it.
So what I'm saying is that if you really want to exploit the potential of something you have to contain it: keep it within set parameters otherwise it won't be disciplined.
This relates to 4AAA by the way, in that they seek to do two things -- be both Murri and countryfied -- over a 24 hour period 365 days per year. And that's done by regulation: 2 indigenous songs per hour and the rest could just as easily be all Dolly Parton. For good or ill the rules make the format. The problem with podcasting is that, thus far, there aren't any . I'm not seeking to be regulated but I think its better than I/we make up our own rules rather than pinch them from somewhere else.
After all, as Frederick Engels' reminded us (from Hegel): "freedom is the recognition of necessity". All I'm doing is measuring my freedom by a stopwatch!
Engels says: “Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him, freedom is the appreciation of necessity. ‘Necessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood.’ Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves—two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject. Therefore the freer a man’s judgement is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined. . . . Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, a control founded on knowledge of natural necessity..."
Filed in: podcasting, web 2, 0. media