I’ve grown weary of the way pundits talk about podcasting. This is a situation much like the parable of the blind men and the elephant, where some assert that it is like a rope while others assert it is like a tree trunk and so on – all being completely certain they are correct. The framework is general enough to enable a number of different sorts of things but the pundits seem to seize on certain pieces and become convinced that is the whole. I’ve heard or read many pundits who laugh off the grassroots part as being unimportant.
Certainly nowadays one could listen to nothing but podcasts from radio, or nothing but podcasts from the grassroots. There is plenty of everything such that anyone can assemble the pieces they want out of the stream, which to my way of thinking is always what the point was.
Just to show my leanings, I went through my subscription list and categorized them in four broad buckets: grassroots podcast (something that is newly created for the format since last fall); existing contemporary broadcast radio archived and published via podcast; pre-existing internet radio content which is now also being archived and published via podcast; old-time radio or radio drama published via podcast. Note that I added these up a few days ago and have added and subtracted shows since, but this should be approximately correct.
- Grassroots podcasts: 55
- Pre-existing internet radio: 3
- OTR or drama: 4
- Contemporary Radio: 14
At least for myself, 2/3 of my listening (as measured by subscriptions, not by individual episodes) is citizen-created media. Some people might be 98% existing radio, but that’s not the way I rock. I don’t know there is any deep insight here, other than just a snapshot of what my current predilections are.