Podcasting v. Blogging

So I’ve been experimenting with various types of podcasting for the last week or so, some formal, some stream of consciousness. What have I learned?

Unless I do a lot of pre- and post-production, my podcasts end up being “me talking about stuff” in a rambling fashion, in a lot more detail than I would be prone to write if I were writing about the same thing. Which recalls radio production advice from Ann Thurlow (and I paraphrase): “You don’t need to talk about everything, even if everything seems compelling and uncuttable.”

In a sense, my podcasts are what my blog posts look like in my head, before I write them down. If the blog posting production cycle has 10 steps, what squeaks out at the podcasting stage is about step number three.

Podcasting has certainly made me realize how much time I spend crafting blog posts. This post, for example, is probably going to take me 30 minutes to write and edit; if I podcast the same thought it would take 5 minutes, but it would probably be twice as long and half as coherent.

Which is not to say that podcasting can’t play a role. Although I fell into the “minutiae well” more than I would like, I think this podcast from the Dorval Airport parking garage is more interesting and content-full than it would have been as a blog post, if only because there were neato airplane sounds in the background.

And walking around Copenhagen today there were several times I wished I had a portable studio with me so I could capture the sounds of the city; trying to write about the same sounds just wouldn’t translate into words.

Maybe good podcasts require more than one person, too? I think well-crafted conversation between curious people can be a lot more interesting than unedited soliloquy. Although, upon reflection, I think Stephen’s movie review would have been better if I had just shut up and let him roll.

Generally, I think to make a good (interesting, valuable, fulfilling) podcast requires a clear mind, experience at communicating by voice, some storytelling ability, and a healthy amount of editing.

Which is pretty much what making good radio requires.

Time for some more experimenting.


Alan's picture
Alan on June 9, 2005 - 17:35 Permalink

Why can’t we just record and post ambient sounds as illustrations in you text pieces as we do photos? Maybe the radio station analogy is impeding seeing that opportunity and how you would work it in. Remember the days of the website with the awful looping .wav file background music? What if it could be done appropriately, so that you had sounds of a Danish pub behind as I read the post about that pub. I do not necessarily need your voice as audio to participate in that scene in a more immersive audio-enriched experience via a blog. It will just not fit on your iPod but perhaps the iPod is really an obstacle to a more multi-media communication.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 9, 2005 - 18:40 Permalink

The trusty Canon S1IS records sound and movies. Don’t you have it with you, Peter? Would even low-res mode be too bulky?

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 10, 2005 - 01:41 Permalink

I found my rambling radio shows are less rambly when I work from notes. I don’t write a script or anthing like that (as is painfully obvious when you listen), but I do have a basic outline of the points I want to touch on and reference of some of the key information (album names/dates, etc.).

I’m not sure how applicable it is to travel podcasts, like you’ve been doing, but in general, I find that an outline = more coherence.

Come home soon and we’ll do a Live from the Formosa.