Article review: Sterne, Morris, Baker, Freire.

In Honours blog on May 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Sterne, Morris, Baker, Freire. “The Politics of Podcasting” fibreculture. Issue 13, 2007

“At the end of 2005, the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) selected ‘podcast’ as its word of the year” (pg. 1)

The exact number of podcasts and their listeners may be difficult to quantify, but podcasts are now a prevalent part of the new media landscape (Nielsen, 2006).”

“For cyber-mavens, hobbyists, and not-for-profit organisations, podcasts embody a new, more democratic kind of expression. For media companies and other corporations, they represent a new way to connect to niche audiences and another potential revenue stream.”

“RSS is a powerful means of organising seriality online because it relieves subscribers of the requirement to look for new content every time they go online; the content comes to them instead.[3]…The RSS dimension creates an expectation of seriality which shapes both production and consumption practice: podcasts are supposed to repeat over time, so listeners subscribe to “shows” and podcasters make “shows”.

“For Berry, this makes podcasting a ‘disruptive technology’ (152); it is free, open, automated via RSS, and radio-like, and thus, a direct assault on the radio industry.” (pg. 4) Berry is a person who sees podcasts as undermining radio. It seems like for much new media, you have to embrace it or gradually be overtaken by it. The authors disagree, citing examples of the top podcasts as evidence of mass medias acceptance and dominance in podcasting.

it is perhaps a bit too much to suggest, as Berry does, that podcasting is a ‘disruptive technology’ capable of reorganising the way radio and other media outlets operate. So far, major media companies have adjusted to the introduction of podcasts with ease.” (pg. 7)

“The ability to create podcasts, in other words, depends not only on devices to listen to them (MP3 players), or technologies to help consumers find them (RSS) but also on a host of software and hardware innovations, many of which began long before RSS or even iPods.” (pg. 6)The argument that is running through this is anti-technological determinist. The iPod didn’t launch the podcast, the podcast came about because or a range of antecedents.

“…then podcasting is not simply an outgrowth of blogger culture, but rather part of a much longer history of dissemination. Podcasting is not an alternative to broadcasting, but a realisation of broadcasting that ought to exist alongside and compete with other models.” The authors want us to see podcasting in historical terms. It is not a new medium, but rather an offshoot of an old medium.

A very informative article, offering a different view about podcasting. Great.


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