Should we hold our breaths for an IABC or PRSA podcast?

Posted on January 24, 2005 6:55 pm by | Podcasting

I’m getting used to heaving deep sighs these days. I heaved one earlier today when I read that the American Association of Petroleum Geologists launched a podcast for its members. According to the association’s Gerald Buckley (as reported by Steve Rubel), “All not-for-profit associations are facing a common problem—retention of aging member and student members.” Buckley added that using the podcast format is a way to “serve the entire spectrum in ways they appreciate.”

You can define a podcast a number of ways, but at its heart it is a communication channel. Whether you’re listening to Buckley dish up headlines and announcements about the association, its activities, and newest publications; Adam Curry waxing on about his troubles obtaining bandwidth in his new UK home; or Dawn and Drew talk about—well, whatever it is they talk about, it’s all still delivery of information from a source to an audience.

And where are the communication associations in their plans for podcasting? Silent. They may be talking about it; I’m certainl not privy to their internal conversations. But still, it’s an embarrassment that an association for petroleum geologists has adopted this communication channel before the communication associations.

Considering how tight the budgets are for IABC, PRSA, CPRS and the other associations, you’d think podcasting would be a no-brainer. At the same time the associations make information available to members in close to real time they would also be educating the membership about this powerful new medium.



  • 1.Shel, You've taught us how to write for the web. Why? Because people don't have a lot of time, they want to browse a web page, find what the want (need!), and then move on. I'm not doubting Podcasts, but I'm questioning ... When do I get the time to listen to Podcasts? How do I listen? Can I listen AND do something else at the same time? I'm trying to listen to a 45 minute Scoble interview and type this message at the same time, but my mind is having trouble comprehending Scoble and coming up with a legible message to you. Maybe your table of contents (along with time blocks) will help. But still, I'm not sure I could absorbe more than one or two one hour pod casts every few weeks. Just like teleseminars. There's only so much time in the day. Can others suggest how they listen?

    Jonathan Haber | January 2005 | Bethesda, MD

  • 2.Podcasting has fewer links to the Net than the Web, Jonathan; comparing podcasts to Web pages doesn't hold up. The Net is used to deliver podcasts. It's used to let people find podcasts. And it opens the world of radio production to anybody, not just those with a budget. That's where the similarities end. Certainly you can listen to a podcast on your computer but, as the name suggests, that's not really the intent. I listen to half a dozen podcasts, but none of them at my desk. I listen on the treadmill, in my car (instead of turning on the radio), on planes, when I'm walking the dog. Podcasting, in terms of consumption, should be compared to radio, not the Net. How much time do you spend listening to radio? How much of that is spent not on music, but on talk radio of one kind or another? This is where podcasting fits.

    There's also a trend toward producing short podcasts -- five minutes or less. Neville and I aren't doing it, but many people are. There's definitely a place for these, too, assuming they're useful or entertaining.

    In fact, I envision a day when someone releases a digital media player that will enable you to subscribe and retrieve your podcasts directly from the device without ever going near your computer.

    Shel Holtz | January 2005

  • 3.Shel has been very helpful to me in my communications career, so I am really just trying to engage in healthy conversation about this topic. I guess I'll need to wait and see how podcasts evolve. As a replacement to radio, one would have to examine at how they currently listen. Some of my listening is background (music while working). Other listening is while commuting (current news, entertainment). However, I don't currently listen to the radio for educational purposes. (NPR? I conisder that news/entertainment). Podcasts dealing with career and business matters I think would take the place of and/or supplement seminars, webcasts, teleseminars, training, etc. I can only afford to spend a few hours per month max dedicated to participating in those. I don't see myself listeing to career oriented podcasts more than I currently participate in other dedicated career sessions.

    Jonathan Haber | January 2005 | Bethesda, MD

  • 4.I certainly hope that "The Hobson and Holtz" report is entertaining. It's designed to be informational. Neville and I certainly don't try to be educational. However, most podcasts are intended to entertain. Listen to "The Rock and Roll Geek Show," for example, or "The Tap Dancing News" or "The Dawn and Drew Show." There are beer-focused podcasts (I know a lot of people who would enjoy these), trivia podcasts, and a lot that play new music. I tend to listen to ones that inform ("The Gillmor Gang," "Geek News Central") but I also listen to "Daily Source Code," from which I rarely learn anything but always have a good time. But none of these are trying to replace, or even supplement, workshops and seminars. It's just pirate radio without the piracy and with the benefits of TiVo. You gotta listen to get it.

    Shel Holtz | January 2005 | Napa, CA

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