I was one quarter of the “Podcasting: Present, Past and Future” panel, along with good friends Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe who collectively come from Technorama and individually podcast with Freestyle and Look What I Found, respectively. Also on the panel was someone I was not really familiar with, but will definitely change that in the future, the host of Nobody’s Listening and creator of the NLCast Network, James Kennison. The panel was set-up and moderated by Charles McFall, who I met last year.
Here’s the audio recorded by the good folks at Alpha Geek Radio, who were also live-streaming the entire event. I’m very happy to see this kind of support for the podcasting track, so they have my own thanks as well as bigger and better kudos.
We could have easily spent an entire panel on any one of these time eras, past, present or future. I think we spent a little too much time talking about the past, but it’s also the easiest thing to talk about. We gave some advice about podcasting, lessons learned and supportive slogans, but that was probably more effectively covered in Podcasting 101-type panels (which I did not attend this year).
About the present we spoke only a little. There are eminent things on the horizon of significance to podcasting, like the podcast patent wars, the release of new devices like smart watches, the rise of the fourth (or is it fifth?) wave of podcasters (who think they invented everything), the influx of professional radio and television productions being released as podcasts. Despite all this, we moved quickly into the future, in part (I believe) because there is some sense of frustration and urgency, and it always feels more useful to be a bit ahead of the current activity rather than reacting only to the present.
The future of podcasting is somewhat in question, and generally has always been. We’ve had some great leaders who have contributed those initial steps, and some great innovators along the way, but we are in a period of plateau. We, the podcasters, have become complacent with what has become established technology, and have ceased to truly innovate.
Instead, we see some motion in the bigger players like Apple. Despite my love-hate relationship with Apple products, they largely lead in podcasting support, from iTunes and its introduction of podcast “station”, to the Podcasts app for IOS, to the directory at the heart of iTunes which dictates certain rules, regulations and guidelines upon podcasts.
I’m not comfortable with the podcasting medium being defined by corporate or government interests. As a technologist, it offends me that we would not seek the best technological solution and possibility. As a broadcaster, it offends me that we might stifle the exciting prospects of a brand new medium by indifference. As an academic, it fascinates me that we have something which its own unique features and surprises me that we haven’t studied it properly.
So, I am revisiting this blog and podcast. The perpetual danger that always accompanies people who cry out “Why doesn’t such a thing exist?!?” is that someone will point the finger back at the speaker and say “But why don’t you do it?”.
I am not alone in this journey, and I’m going to need more time than a single hour to do it. So I’ll be blogging here, podcasting when I can, and enlisting others along the way to answer, from a philosophical standpoint: What Is Podcasting?