Do you enjoy podcasts? It’s interesting to see how podcasts are becoming a mainstream phenomenon. I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and years, long before more people knew what they were. And I have always felt like a giant nerd when I mention it. Increasingly, it’s become a main source of news and entertainment for me. I’m sure I consume more audio podcasts in a week than I do TV or movies. I definitely hold to the nerdy tradition of podcasts that started around enthusiast and fanboy communities, for me in the tech news space. Over time I’ve added a healthy dose of CBC, NPR and other public radio podcasts to my repertoire. I listen to a pretty eclectic list of podcasts.
One of the things I really love about podcasts, and again it’s pretty nerdy, is how they retain some of the great hope of openness that we all thought the internet would represent. Slowly but surely the internet has become a marketing mechanism, increasingly controlled by big corporations selling us stuff we don’t need. I’m sure you have heard all the arguments about tracking and privacy. No need to reopen those discussions.If you haven’t let me know and I can get you some information! But podcasts are one of the few remaining sources of accessible, open media left on the web.
No one has succeeded yet in creating a proprietary format that would allow for the kind of tracking web advertisers now have at their disposal. There is no YouTube of podcasts. Podcasts are served by the people who make them, so they have complete control over that distribution. iTunes is just a directory. When you use it to subscribe to a new podcast, Apple is only these as a handshake to the files on the podcasters servers.
As a result, you can find a super specific podcast talking about pretty much any hyper focused community you happen to enjoy. Or you can get big, well produced podcasts like those the CBC and NPR make, think Serial, arguably the podcast that forced this medium into the spotlight. I love that and I don’t want to lose that.
As podcasting becomes more mainstream that openness of content is threatened by large media, marketing and advertising companies, that want a piece of the pie. They screwed up much of the web, and they will screw up podcasts if they get their paws into the medium.
So if you love podcasts as much as I do, please support the people who make them. Some of them have memberships, some of them sell merchandise, some even have apps where for a small fee will give you access to hundreds of hours of back catalogues. To keep things viable as they are, we need to vote with our dollars and support a system that keeps the cost of entry low, to allow the medium to remain open and inclusive.
Here are some of my favourite podcasts, with links to recent episodes. This is a heatlhy mix of things I listen to! Please comment with yours! Hopefully we can help find some new gems!