Podcast Awards

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of podcasting or new media awards of any kind. If the Emmys and Oscars are horseshit 2/3 of the time, there is zero chance of getting it right in even broader and even more niche content. The day I believe that anyone has actually listened to the 5000 podcasts in a category to come up with the 5 or 10 nominees, that’s the day I’ll make my first tiny step towards acknowledging anything approaching validity – although that still isn’t enough.

Podcasting awards don’t measure “goodness” or “quality” of the show. What they measure is something akin to:

(Size of audience) X (Willingness of audience to do busy work) X (Willingness of hosts to whore for votes)

That’s it. Everything I like about new media is subverted in the whole awards process: the narrowing of fields and pandering for votes and all the foofaraw around them. In fact, when I see someone’s website that has the badge from them winning some award – even if I like the show – my first reaction is “You putz, you got played.” In the end the awards aren’t about you, they are about driving traffic – to the awards.

This is what I think when I see the shortlists for any of these awards given by any group for any reasons. The numbers may vary slightly and surely everyone lumps different shows in the baskets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my reaction was pretty common. I mentally break the shows into categories and they fall out like this:

  • 10% – Shows I have listened to and think are decent. They may not be the show I’d have voted, but I see them as a credible candidate.
  • 40% – Shows I have never heard of. This is despite trying to stay up on the field and running one of the directories, I still see giant wads of shows in these lists that are completely new to me.
  • 50% – Shows I actually have tried to listen to and bailed after a few minutes because I thought they were complete pieces of shit. Note that this doesn’t mean I think the shows are “bad” in the absolute sense. I mean that they are irrelevant to me or not my bag but if these shows were all I had to listen to, I’d switch back to the wacky zoo crew in the morning.

I don’t care about podcasting awards and I doubt I ever will. The best aspects of the medium defy the whole process, and that people want to work so hard to shoehorn the field into something like that just makes me tired.

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