Indicative of both The Business Podcasting Book (BPB) and Tricks of the Podcating Masters (TPM), the two books we’re reading this quarter in COM 597, we started off exploring the “history” of podcasting. This is conceptually tough for those of us outside the new media landscape to understand. “Normal” people ask how can something that the paint has barely dried on have a history? The deepest history of podcasting goes back to the early 2000s and the official line in the sand of modern podcasting is attributed to Winer, Searls, and Curry in late 2004 and early 2005. This is only thee years ago!

As Greg Cangialosi writes in BPB, podcasting is becoming part of the corporate tool kit for marketing and branding. His figure 1.1 shows how ad revenues will increase from $80M to $300M in just the four year span from 2006 to 2010. In new media years, this constitutes a millennium. He also points out that many companies are already on board with podcasting (35% of Fortune 500, Fig 3.2) and using it effectively for internal communications (Southwest), for brand building and brand extension (WinelibraryTV), and for training and education (Duke University).

Like all things in a capitalist society that start from the ground up, nobody really pays any attention until the big boys get on board and take it mainstream. Cangialosi dedicates the third chapter of BPB to The Emergence of Corporate Podcasting. The chapter begins by reassuring non-technical corporate geeks that podcasting isn’t just a fad, but will in fact be imperative to any successful business marketing and brand model going forward. The authors of TPM, Walch and Lafferty, wax nostalgically about “the good old days” of podcasting before June 2005, when Apple’s iTunes got involved. They plead on deaf ears, “It would be great if Apple would decide to focus on a little more on the independent podcasters again, the ones who grew podcasting as a grassroots movement.”

The point of either authors is that podcasting has gone through its youthful experimental phase and has already graduated to respectability. This is no way slams the door in our faces if we want to pick up the mic and start podcasting. That’s the beauty of social media, obviously; it can’t be monopolized. But it does raise the bar very quickly on production values and content richness. Chapter 10 in TPM makes this point very clear. We may want to get our voice out there but nobody is going to listen to it if it, pardon the phrase, sucks.

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