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Podcast Studies

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‘Just because you
play a guitar and are
from Nashville
doesn’t mean you are
a country singer’ The
case for Podcast
Studies...

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Framework
• Small online survey of
podcasters
• Cross reference to work on
YouTube and Blogging
• Defining the podcast as ...

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Hey, but aren’t
podcasts just
another type of
radio?
Loading Paper….

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Podcast Studies

‘Just because you play a guitar and are from Nashville doesn’t mean you are a country singer’ The case for Podcast Studies.

In 2017 the term “podcasting” became a teenager. Like any teenager it is now increasingly rebelling against its parents, experimenting with new practices, and behaving in a way that the older media might find in-appropriate. Podcasting has evolved from a space where remediated radio programmes dominated, into a ‘Second Age of Podcasting’ of podcasting (Bonini, 2015). An age where the podcast space has become professionalised, commercialised, and increasingly self-aware. This paper frames a conversation on the place of podcasts in the media environment, through theoretical framing and a small online survey of podcasters.

By reflecting on podcastness we can perhaps reach new understandings and concepts of what podcasting and the key relationship between radio and podcasting. The paper will argue that whilst radio exists in the podcast space, there is an increasing sense that podcasters are defining their own practices and their own identities as producers of work that is wholly independent of radio. It is this sense of difference, that I suggest means there are good grounds to argue for use of podcast studies as a new frame of reference.

‘Just because you play a guitar and are from Nashville doesn’t mean you are a country singer’ The case for Podcast Studies.

In 2017 the term “podcasting” became a teenager. Like any teenager it is now increasingly rebelling against its parents, experimenting with new practices, and behaving in a way that the older media might find in-appropriate. Podcasting has evolved from a space where remediated radio programmes dominated, into a ‘Second Age of Podcasting’ of podcasting (Bonini, 2015). An age where the podcast space has become professionalised, commercialised, and increasingly self-aware. This paper frames a conversation on the place of podcasts in the media environment, through theoretical framing and a small online survey of podcasters.

By reflecting on podcastness we can perhaps reach new understandings and concepts of what podcasting and the key relationship between radio and podcasting. The paper will argue that whilst radio exists in the podcast space, there is an increasing sense that podcasters are defining their own practices and their own identities as producers of work that is wholly independent of radio. It is this sense of difference, that I suggest means there are good grounds to argue for use of podcast studies as a new frame of reference.

More Related Content

Podcast Studies

  1. 1. ‘Just because you play a guitar and are from Nashville doesn’t mean you are a country singer’ The case for Podcast Studies. CRMCS Seminar, October 23rd 2017 Richard Berry @richardberryuk
  2. 2. Framework • Small online survey of podcasters • Cross reference to work on YouTube and Blogging • Defining the podcast as a medium and a field of study
  3. 3. Hey, but aren’t podcasts just another type of radio? Loading Paper….
  4. 4. Gartner’s Hype Cycle Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Modelling Podcast Growth Serial Listeners
  5. 5. • Podcasting as “an alternative delivery mechanism wherein the CBC’s podcasts largely serve as promotional paratexts for this source radio programs, the radio service, and the broader CBC brand” Where “for many major media institutions and their users, the format continues to be more about extension than disruption” • (Christopher Cwynar, 2015) “Like VCR for the radio”
  6. 6. “…Radio can be said to have certain characteristics, but the evidence suggests that radio is what history says it is: it has no essence since it has already taken, and continues to take, different forms. Radio is what it is at a given time, in a given context of use and meaningfulness..” (Jo Tacchi, 2000
  7. 7. The case for radio • Historical line from the Hindenburg to Serial • Radio can be divorced from technologies (Convergence) • Do labels matter anyway? • Radio subjugates the podcast space as another distribution platform
  8. 8. Distributed content / highlights / curated feeds /displaced content / bespoke content 5 shades of remediation
  9. 9. Podcastness Radioness A Pantone of Podcasts
  10. 10. CorporateIndependent RadioCross-media
  11. 11. The case for the defence • Podcasting is more than just a platform • It demonstrates ‘mediumness’ • If we discount technology then we judge by form and how participants define the practice • “podcasting doesn’t have to be different but I think makers do feel a little more liberty with the form, thinking of themselves as podcaster versus radio producers” (Julie Shapiro (PRX) quoted in McHugh, 2016)
  12. 12. ‘The medium is defined by the practice it supports and the ways in which one identifies with that practice…The boundaries of blogs are socially constructed, not technologically defined. Yet, the technology plays a heavy role in shaping the resulting forms’ (danah boyd: 2006)
  13. 13. ‘Podcasting to me is very different to radio. Simply because you use your voice, the creation and distribution process and business can be very different. Just because you play a guitar and are from Nashville doesn’t mean you are a country singer. Similarly, podcasting and radio can be very different’
  14. 14. • ‘I felt a podcast was like a blog, it was something that amateurs would do NOT professionals …. that was the real breakthrough that it would open up media to all kinds of people whom it wasn’t open to before…. The point was I could do it, that was the point’ • (Dave Winer, 2015)
  15. 15. We basically just talk. If people want to listen, cool. Radio is more performed. since we have a cultural understanding of what is "radio", it makes things easier for those who are trying to understand what we do… Freedom: content, duration, sponsors - these are not afforded to Terrestrial radio At the medium level it's quite different: time shifting, feed subscriptions, audience sharing. At the media level, radio is controlled and different expectations from stations, audiences and advertisers.
  16. 16. “What is happening to podcasting, 11 years after its invention, is its transformation from a do- it-yourself, amateur niche medium to a commercial mass medium: from narrowcasting to broadcasting.” (Tiziano Bonini, 2015)
  17. 17. Medium or Platform? • …A ‘medium’ derives not only from technological capabilities, but also from textual characteristics, industrial practices, audience behaviours, and cultural understanding” (Amanda Lotz, 2017)
  18. 18. Podcast Studies • Views podcasts as a distinct: –Media form –Activity –Listening experience • As a discipline that recognises radio, media and education studies.
  19. 19. Cultural value of Podcasts
  20. 20. • References: • Black, David A (2001) ‘Internet radio: a case study in medium specificity’ Media, Culture and Society 23(3) 397-408 • Bonini, Tiziano. (2015). ‘The ‘Second Age’ of Podcasting: reframing Podcasting as a New Digital Mass Medium’. Quaderns del CAC 41, 18 (July), 21-30 • boyd, danah. 2006. ‘A Blogger’s Blog: Exploring the Definition of a Medium.’ Article. Reconstruction 6(4) Accessed via: https://www.danah.org/papers/ABloggersBlog.pdf (May 2017) • Bruns, Axel (2006) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond (Peter Lang, New York, NY.) • Burgess, Jean, and Green, Joshua (2009) YouTube. Online video and participatory culture (Cambridge, Polity) • Fenn, Jackie and Raskino, Mark (2008) ‘Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to choose the right innovation at the right time’ (Boston, MA, Harvard Business Press) • Lotz, Amanda D (2017 ‘Portals. A treatise on internet-delivered television’ (Michigan, Maize Books) • McHugh, Siobhan (2016) ‘How podcasting is changing the audio storytelling genre’. The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media, 14(1), 65-82. • Menduni, Enrico (2007). ‘Four steps in innovative radio broadcasting: From QuickTime to podcasting’ The Radio Journal – International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 5(1) 9-18 • Meserko, Vincent (2015) ‘The pursuit of authenticity in Marc Maron’s WFT podcast’ Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 29(6) 796-810 • Morris, Jeremy Wade and Patterson, Eleanor (2015) ‘Podcasting and its apps: software, sound, and the interfaces of digital audio’ Journal of Radio and Audio Media 22(2) 220-230 • Murray (2009) ‘Servicing ‘self-scheduling consumers’ – public broadcasters and audio producing’ Global Media and Communication Volume 5(2) pp197-219 • Pedersen, Birgette Sougaard and Have, Iden (2012) ‘Conceptualising the audiobook experience’ Sound Effects Volume 2(2) 88 - 95 • Winer, Dave (2015) ‘A podcast about podcasting’ Blog Post – Accessed via: http://scripting.com/2015/09/30/aPodcastAboutPodcasting.html (October 2017).

Editor's Notes

  • By reflecting on podcastness we can perhaps reach new understandings and concepts of what podcasting is, whilst at the same time recognises the inherent differences between the medium of radio and the business of radio. It is time to explore that key relationship between radio and podcasting and wonder in doing so do we risk losing sight of what each form does best, and who wins we when call podcasts radio?
  • Talk about the book as an indicator of PODCAST STUDIES The tools used to frame the chapter

    1 MIN
  • This is the core part of the theme

    Technology played a part, but perhaps part of the reason podcasts have gained appeal is that producers have found their voice and their MEDIUM/CULTURAL IDENTITY

    There are lots of arguments that say podcasts are just another form of radio

    But are they? Or is ‘radio’ being used either as CULTURAL SHORT-HAND or in a way that misses the point?

    Maybe it’s an attempt to validate a continuity of radio? Or evidence of a digital future?

    1 MIN

    A question about who wins when we call it “radio”? Does that exclude certain forms that don’t fit accepted frames? And would everyone accept the radio ‘tag’ on their work?

    DAVID BLACK - calling an internet practice “radio” puts a lid on some of the options as to where it can go and what it can become’
  • Both of these models – one commercial and one academic offer insights into podcast histories

    Podcasting has been through a peak.

    Technologies have improved (morris and patterson) but also podcasters have worked out their role

    This is about attention
    The tracking of technologies
    In 2004/5/6 journalists were writing about how the innovation In 2006/7/8 they were writing about the demise (or not at all)
    In 2014/5/6/7 they were writing about the golden age and how amazing podcasts are

    This is because we crossed into the zone of the EARLY MAJORITY!

    3 MINS
  • To some extent this is where we have come from, viewing podcasting as a platform subjugated by radio as a delivery system

    Article talks about CBC radio and 2 modes of operation. One where podcasting was a platform to serve up content already transmitted
    CBC Radio 3 – offered route for new content (popular outside Canada) On the use in Australia

    “ Podcasting facilitates repeat listening far better than the domestic audio taping of the past, and compliments the ABC’s existing facilities for extending the shelf-life of its high quality content” (Simone Murray, 2009)

    This suggests an un-nuanced view of what podcasting is. An extension, rather than something new

    A simple way to deliver a remediated form of radio through a system that initially did not require the construction or development of new infrastructure

    ASYNCHRONOUS listening
    Lowers the age of the listener
    Adds GLOBAL AUDIENCES

    Rather than adding content, it recycles and remediates

    ITUNES – Cross promotion means that broadcasters can APPEAR to dominate

    4 MINS
  • Both Jo Tacchi and Kate Lacey have argued that online forms of radio, and in Lacey’s case podcasts are just another form of radio.

    Radio has adapted through the ages and this is part of that.

    Enrico Menduni suggested that it is, in fact, an interim technology. A bridge to a mobile future. We are already seeing innovation through mobile apps in tools like BBC iPlayer and NPR One.

    Maybe it’s just an updating? Or that radio will have another format, genre, type? (Like community radio) Maybe it’s a return to the past (with emphasis on talk, rather than music)
    But maybe it is something new?


    3 mins
  • Just as practice had developed over time, so has the way that academic work looks at podcasting

    Work on the future of radio suggests that podcasts are the latest iteration of radio.

    Convergence culture tells us that media content can be divorced from the technologies that originally created them.
    Meilkle and Young suggest that the inventors first action are simply part of a process of negotiation. Media evolve

    This means that radio subjugates the podcast platform as another means of delivery and that podcasts are just another form of radio

    That’s a bit simplistic. YouTube isn’t TV, so why should podcasts be radio?

    It suggests that a broad range of content from university lectures and prosumer content is ontologically, culturally, and acoustically the same as the Chris Evans Breakfast Show… or at least is an iteration of the same experience.

    5 MINS
  • Earlier I mentioned CBC

    The BBC were one of the first world broadcasters to adopt podcasting.

    What we can see when we look at their activity is a maturing of the approach

    In the early phase podcasting was a platform for programmes like IN OUR TIME and others

    But over time the approach has developed.

    Programmes are remediated (usually taking the music out, or offering more content)

    There are now programmes that curate (strands of genres, shorter items, or archive)

    There are also programmes excluded from radio – childrens and disability

    As well as additional niche content

    The BBC is, though, under pressure not to innovate in this space.

    2 MINS
  • 1 MIN

    In thinking about how podcasts and radio are different it’s worth thinking about how this PANTONE OF PODCASTS could take shape

    From very podcast to very radio – with 50 SHADES OF GREY IN THE MIDDLE

    Audio quality is a factor (KILLA) but so is content (PORNO)
    Content can be more niche, more about interests and passions (LORE) or the form can be inventive (GRAMMAR) (DOG) Narrative journalism has become what podcasting is know for ( S TOWN)

    POINT OUT EXAMPLES

    PLAY:

    S TOWN
    PORNO
    KILLA
    LORE
    GRAMMAR

    (HISTORIES)
    (WTF) (HEART) (COW)
  • In thinking about how podcasts and radio are different it’s worth thinking about how this PANTONE OF PODCASTS could take shape

    THIS IS A MORE COMPLEX MODEL PERHAPS

    The reference points are quite arbitary, but here I’ve thought about how referring to radio, their independence (or amateur) status, their relationships to other media, and their corporate status.

    Podcasts like Dirty John come from newspapers, whilst FOOC is firmly radio.
    Some like Strong and Stable are created for streaming platforms
    Or cross stand-up comedy, live shows, academia, and books. CROSS MEDIA PRACTICES –
    Producers coming from other disciplines like journalism, comedy, writing, performance, etc Some emerge from fan cultures – such as SOGGY BOTTOMS – Where fans might tolerate poor technical quality for content

    Podcasts like The Heart emerged from a prosumer market but by joining one of the number of new networks, have crossed into a more corporate space.

    5 MINS?
  • If a medium is:
    Technologies
    Cultures of practice
    Something that participants decide

    Then podcasting is a medium – not just a means of distributing content made in other places

    In their work Jeremy Wade Morris and Eleanor Patterson say:

    “Podcasting is neither limited to nor defined by its technologies. Rather, it is a specific set of practices and cultural meanings that are entirely entwined with the technologies for its distribution , organisation, and consumption”

    Radio is listened to live. Serendipity . You can’t listen to a podcast by accident. It’s a deliberate act.

    Vincent Meserko asserts that podcasts allow hosts to present a more intimate version of themselves (TALKING ABOUT WTF)
    “Mainstream media, in Maron’s view, is incapable of the nuance and intimacy that the podcast provides. In short, the podcast feels more authentic.”

    So, it might be down to participants (listeners and producers – is this Burgess/Green?) David Black on internet radio

    TALK ABOUT THE QUOTE

    3 MINS
  • Can podcasting be a medium then??

    Talk about her definition sources – Academics / Popular Perception / Participants (that could also mean listeners I guess)

    Her interviewees self defined

    One said they knew a blog when they saw one
    It’s a blog, because a blogger made it

    So are podcasts made by podcasters (and everything else is radio?)

    Boyd says “while metaphors are a valuable linguistic tool for introducing new concepts, heavy reliance on them distorts the concept that is being introduced. Through metaphor, people cognitively attribute the properties of an old concept to the new one”

    By calling it radio we then apply cultural meaning and industrial convention to the medium – when the medium itself has already exhibited an ability to be different.

    3 MINS
  • A diverse mix of views

    2 MINS MAX
  • This is the title of the paper….

    This is an American in the development stages of a launching a podcast

    The point he is making is that just because something sounds like radio – The stuff Kris Markman has described in her work (DJ Chatter etc) – does not mean it IS radio….

    This is where boyd’s reference back to the participants is important

    2 MINS

  • DAVE WINER

    He invented the thing (kinda)

    His idea was this was a space for AMATEURS

    Talk about CHRIS LYDON and his role in podcasting (3 MINS)

    Audioblogs
    Automated feeds – 2003
    Berkman Center for the Internet at Harvard Law
    A rough and ready space for UN-MEDIATED CONTENT

    PLAY 3 MINS
  • Is podcasting radio?

    This is what some of the survey people said…..

    2 MINS
  • Not a yes/no answer

    Suggests a more cross media, muti modal approach where podcasts are media texts created as part of wider business or branding practices

    2 MINS MAX

  • PODCASTING HAS GROWN UP
    More like a business – AN INDUSTRY

    FROM CLUELESS AMATEURS TO RESEARCH INFORMED PROFESSIONALS WHO DO THIS FOR MONEY

    2 MINS
  • Whether it’s a platform or a medium might depend on the content you look at….

    Some of it was radio / some it is radio / some of it is made for the space

    IF WE THINK ABOUT THIS AS A STARTING POINT….
    Podcasting was conceived as a technology to deliver another form of media (AUDIOBLOGS) There are new industrial practices of networks – domestic production – conferences – formats – etc Audiences consume and relate in a different way (MORE OF AN INTIMATE SOUND) And there is an agreed cultural understanding of what podcasts are – as opposed to radio

    4 MINS

    Pedersen and Have (2012) audiobook is ‘a new medium experience that calls for a new theoretical framework’ (93
  • SUMMARISE
  • Podcasts are mainstream. So is the word. It has cultural capital (and understanding). So, does this mean we can drop the radio tag? Or not?

    Lore has been picked by Amazon

    Spotify and Audible are commissioning shows called podcasts, that aren’t podcasts

    And everyone has a podcast

    IF TIME

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