Article summary: Richard Berry

In Honours blog on April 29, 2009 at 1:31 am

Richard Berry, “Will the iPod kill the Radio Star?”, Profiling Podcasting as Radio, University of Sunderland, Sage Publications, 2006

Is the podcast the death knell of radio? Berry doesn’t think so, but he does think they’ll have to make some rapid innovations to keep up.

Just as radio didn’t destroy print, and television didn’t destroy either of the former, podcasts will impact, but probably not end radio as we know it.

It does have many benefits as Berry describes. “Podcasting not only removes global barriers to reception but, at a stroke, removes key factors impeding the growth of internet radio: its portability, its intimacy and its accessibility.” (pg. 143)

The growth of podcasts has been exponential. In 2004 “…a Google search for the word ‘Podcast’ would return somewhere in the order of 6000 hits (Terdiman, 2004): today (November 2005) the same search return over 61 million hits” (pg 144). And today (April 2009) there are 140 million hits. Which is a big jump to make in a little over five years.

This quote does also demonstrate that this research is dated. It is almost four years old, which in internet years is probably 100 (or maybe 70, a bit more like dog years perhaps? Just found a reference. Apparently it’s more like three years). Anyway, the point is, things move so darn fast online that I’m already starting to think that this research is useful to me for a historical perspective of the situation of podcasts. Hmmmm….this is another element to my research that I need to think about. When do my sources become outdated?

I have distracted myself. On with the summary!

“Podcasting is not only a converged medium (bringing together audio, the web, and portable media devices) but also a disruptive technology and one that has already forced some in the radio business to reconsider some established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production and distribution.” (pg. 144)

“It is an application of technology that was not developed, planned or marketed and yet its arrival does challenge established practices in a way that is not only unprecedented but also unpredictable.” (pg. 144)

“The listener is now in charge of the broadcast schedule choosing what to listen to, when, in what order and- perhaps most significantly- where. Effectively there is a move in power from programmers to listeners.” (pg. 145)

“There are, however, no data to indicate how many of the downloaded Podcasts are actually listened to by the subscribers.” (pg. 146) But then again, you don’t really know how many people subscribe to a daily newspaper and end up not reading it…or am I drawing a pretty long bow here?

“…Bridge Ratings and Research in 2005 projected that only 20 per cent of downloads are even transferred to an iPod or similar device” (pg. 146).

“It is clear in the Podcast world it is content that is king” (pg. 148).

“For the BBC, Podcasting is an extension of their public service…’time-shifting’ of content has proved to be hugely successful” (pg. 149).

In The Dawn and Drew Show, “Inevitably the topic of sex comes up and is talked about openly, frankly, and occasionally in graphic detail. Such exploits would be sure to outrage a broadcast audience but, it seems, in the wold of Podcasting this is acceptable material.” (pg. 152)

“Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has…a series of Podcast guides” (pg. 154)

Several universities are “giving students the option to download lectures…give presentations, or as a way of researchers publishing their findings.” (pg. 154)

“However, in the future live broadcasters will need to become more interactive, more drawn to speech-driven or excitement-driven formats, offering content not available on other platforms.” (pg. 159)

“The iPod has not killed the radio star (yet)but radio may require some retuning.” (pg. 159)

I’ve changed my mind. Internet years are not moving so fast to make a four-year-old study redundant. This does have lots of very useful and very relevant information.



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