[Updated October 6, 2004 - see update at bottom]
A period of intense change is going on right now, and a fight is brewing. The fight is between traditional broadcasters of television and radio content, and their consumers who want more control over how they consume that content.
You might say right now that there are two kinds of people: those that have used a TiVo or similar Personal Video Recorder to watch their television content, and those that haven’t. For those that haven’t heard of them, think of a PVR as a VCR on steroids. You can record all of your favourite shows very conveniently, without ever having to change or rewind a tape, and you can fast forward past commercials or change shows at the click of a button. You can rewind or pause live TV – something that becomes second nature and then a necessity very quickly. Basically, you can watch what you want to watch when and how you want to watch it, not when and how the network wants you to watch it.
There are many, many solutions already available for PVRs for television, and the courts are full of battles about them, as you can well imagine. But what appeared to have been overlooked until now was the “other” broadcast medium, over-the-air radio. Video may have killed the radio star in the livingroom, but the radio star just packed his stuff up and moved to the car.
That’s the thing – you can’t watch TV when you’re driving. But look at our highways packed with commuters. How do they occupy their brain “cycles” while stuck in traffic? Radio.
But traditional over-the-air radio is broken in many ways even more than television is. An average listener does not have particularly good odds at finding something relevant to them on the dial, due to the limited number of viable radio frequencies. Satellite radio helps in this matter, but all it really does is introduce more of the “99 channels and nothing on” possibility.
What does this have to do with blogs and iPods? Everything. Adam Curry may be best known as an MTV VJ from a few years ago, but what he should be known for is being a cutting edge Internet broadcaster, or what is increasingly becoming known as a podcaster. His ipodder software is the first in what will likely be a long line of audio content aggregators. He is working closely with Dave Winer – the father of weblogging – on this stuff, and what they’re doing so far is mind-blowing.
But I’m not doing this subject justice. If you want to know more about the coming revolution in audio broadcasting – podcasting – check out this article by Doc Searls.
We’re in for a wild ride.
An analogy to the perspective the writer, Tod Maffin, takes in this article might be stated as “How the Automobile Will Save Carriage-Makers”. I think both perspectives are compatible – those in the traditional broadcast industry that embrace podcasting will be saved by it. Those that don’t, won’t.
Great post! Oh, and how cool is it that this comes from a fellow Canadian that works for the CBC?
iloveradio.org <- subscribed.