When I was maybe about seven years old, armed with only a tape recorder and a Casio keyboard, I occasionally used to make cassettes of a fictional radio show. Often unintentionally-funny stream-of-consciousness talking would be interspersed with demo songs from the keyboard (ABBA's Money Money Money being a particular favourite). Since this was usually a sick-day activity, I usually had a blocked-up nose, and you could sometimes hear me being called down for dinner. "We'll be right back...."
As interested as you no doubt are in my childhood days, this is not a public therapy session. What brings this to mind is the recent buzzword of podcasting, and its natural forebear, audioblogging. My curiosity piqued by the tagline, I downloaded Dave Winer's Morning Coffee Notes for today. Allow me transcribe the first few lines:
[Song: Red Rubber Ball by The Circle]
Goooood, good morning, good morning good morning [incoherent]. Heh ha ha ha. Wellllcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome to Morning Coffee Notes for - Oh my god, I always get to this point. Hold on, I gotta put this thing down, I'll be right back.
There follows a lengthy extollment of the virtues of podcasting, a round-up of recent blog posts on Scripting News, and it plays out with a chapter from an audiobook.
My point is this. Blogging is already an ego trip for most participants. For an immediate circle of friends, or someone with whom the blogger shares a particular interest, it can make an interesting read; and it is certainly a worthwhile pursuit. Audioblogging brings an unwelcome vérité to the medium: the editorial process is replaced with a series of pauses, umms and ahhs which can leave an intellectual blogger sounding like, well, an American President.
At the moment, podcasting seems merely a mechanism to let me listen with mild incredulity whilst on the bus. That said, I would not dismiss it out of hand. I would love to see the BBC get on board, and provide podcasts of major Radio 4 series, for example. The ability to listen to the latest I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on my way to university would be a definite quality-of-life improvement.
But I wouldn't tune in to Radio Derek.