Chapter 4 of the Business Podcasting Book goes into some detail about how to form a plan of attack when trying to get a large organization behind the idea of podcasting. As I was reading along I was thinking about the recommendations they were making—finding an internal champion, overcoming resistance to new media, gradual change, encouraging collaboration across departments, among others— and I couldn’t help snickering. I work for a huge company of well over 100,000 employees. Trying to get anything done, especially new things, in my company is next to impossible. It’s like trying to push a cruise ship across the Pacific Ocean with a fly. In order to podcast at my company we would indeed need an internal champion. However, this internal champion would have to be one of the highest ranking members of the company and he or she would have to gain the acquiescence of most of the senior management. Have you seen senior level executives in action? They are some of the most terrified people on earth, forever worried about how each decision they make will make them look to other executives. As for new media? These people barely know how to operate their email. (I know of two senior people who have their administrative assistants print out all their email for them to read on paper. One told me bald faced that never heard of a .zip file). I wish I was just poking fun here, but sadly the truth is new media will have to become old media before it is adopted by large organizations.

Look at the “green” wave spilling over corporate America in the past few months. It’s laughable how they have appropriated this 25 year-old idea into their marketing and advertising as something new. Their “new” internal commitment to green business practices seem so antiquated that it’s very hard to take them seriously. Better late than never for sure, but don’t pitch it as if you are saving the planet when everyone knows damn well that corporate America is justifiably to blame for a big portion of our current environmental issues.

My company ought to be ready to podcast on a regular basis both internally and externally in about 2020, because it will take them that long to politically work it all out and figure out how to get 150 people to approve the content before the law staff gets it’s hands on it and strips out any content that may have any value for fear of being sued. When they do finally publish the podcast the material will be so stale that the moment the first download ends it will be only good for bread crumbs or croûtons.

While I applaud the BPB authors and their efforts at motivating companies to get caught up to the 21st-century, I know from experience that only small to medium size companies or executives at very large companies that are savvy and very powerful will be doing any valuable podcasting. Even Greg Cangialosi, the author, writes candidly about his experience with Verizon in a similar vein. I could feel his frustration through his carefully worded prose describing the experience. Fortunately for him, he has also had good experiences with larger firms. I gather they had the powerful executives mentioned above pushing it through.