Author Archive

A Sex and Podcasting "sampler" show

Monday, December 19th, 2005

This is a show aimed at people who are just trying to get a feel for what Sex and Podcasting is all about, tells a little bit about why the show is in mothballs now, and points you to GeezerCast where the new stuff is.

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Farewell — the end of Sex and Podcasting

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

Yup. I’ve decided to wrap up Sex and Podcasting and move on. I should have done this about a month ago, but hey, who’s perfect?

As I said back then, I’ve run out of things to say about community podcasting. I’ve decided to do a new podcast rather than dilute the (I think pretty cool) message of Sex and Podcasting. I hope you’ll swing over to GeezerCast and check out the new stuff over there.

This show tries to hit the high spots of the Sex and Podcasting manifesto — “how-to podcasting”, the role of money in podcasting and why I think there’s room for lots of podcasters out there, the role that podcasters can play in larger society, and like that.

Thanks for dropping by — come visit me over at GeezerCast

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Katrina — multi-language podcasts

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Patrick contributed a great “how podcasts can help with a recovery effort” idea — which is to equip recovery workers with MP3 players filled with basic-info podcasts in different languages. That way, when they are out in the field, they can communicate with people even if they don’t speak the language. Those same MP3 devices could be used to collect “in their own voices” messages that can be brought back to a central clearing house to be used to reconnect families that have been separated.

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Katrina – How podcasts can help people get ready

Monday, September 12th, 2005

This podcast explores how podcasts could help a community get ready for a disaster like Katrina. I volunteered to be the citizen spearhead of the Y2k preparation project for my town – St Paul, MN – back in the late ’90’s. Our team relied a lot on stuff that FEMA provided, most notably a handbook for “building disaster resistant communities” called Project Impact. I was struck by how podcasting could help with such a project and dug back into the archives to find some of that stuff.

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Show notes

I had a heck of a time tracking down the old FEMA Project Impact stuff, because FEMA cancelled the program when the Bush administration came in (a bad idea in my opinion). Here’s a link to an old FEMA page on the web archive that describes what Project Impact was all about, and gives a bunch of case-study examples of how you could do it in your community.

Here’s the link

Katrina – how podcasters can help

Monday, September 5th, 2005

This is the last in this trio of podcasts about how podcasting and podcasters could help with the Katrina relief effort. I’m a hands-on type guy — I’m looking for what podcasters can DO to help. So if you’re a podcaster, this means YOU. If you’re friends with a podcaster, forward this to them. I think podcasters have some unique contributions (real hands-on useful stuff) that they can make to the relief efforts — and I rattle off a half-dozen examples in this podcast.

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Katrina – goals for podcasts

Monday, September 5th, 2005

In any endeavor, it’s good to know what your goals are. After all, it doesn’t make much difference which way you turn the wheel at the end of your driveway if you don’t know which way west is. I make my living repairing projects that have gone off the rails and i always look for four kinds of things;

– how can we become more nimble?
– how can we improve quality
– how can we save money?
– how can we get more resources for the effort?

In this podcast I try my hand at answering those questions with regard to how podcasting could support the Katrina relief effort.

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Katrina – how podcasts can help a relief worker

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Radio stations of all stripes (not just community radio stations) have a very long tradition of community service when disaster strikes. I hope that podcasters will embrace that tradition, and there’s no better time than the present to get things started. This is the first of a series of podcasts that propose some answers to the question “how can podcasters help with the Katrina recovery effort?” In this show, I try to imagine what it might be like to be a volunteer heading down to help with the recovery — what kind of podcasts would I want to listen to while I’m traveling there? What kind of podcasts would I want to listen to while I’m working? Who might produce them?

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Podshow… Does that deal make sense?

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

I listened to Adam and Ron’s roadshow pitches for the Podshow deal. Here’s my summary of their story. I think some of it’s right and some of it’s wrong — this podcast is about my take on the story they’re telling, and the deal they made. I’m not sure that Internet-users and podcasters are going to run along the tracks that Ron and Adam have laid out for them. I think Dave Winer may have the right interpretation of this deal…

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Sex, podcasting and existing communities

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Reverting to the old format, this show explores how podcasting can really enhance an existing community. Several thoughtful emails and conversations came together for this show as I explore how podcasting might help a gaming community or enhance an online newsletter. I think podcasting in conjunction with a community that already exists has several advantages, not the least of which is the feedback mechanism that can tell the podcaster whether they’re doing a good job.

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Sex, numbers and a format change

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

I’m tinkering with the format today. A little more music, a little less rant. In this show I’m ruminating about “the numbers” that we are using to keep score on our podcasts. Now that Adam Curry and crew have gotten Podshow funded I’m struck by how we’re talking a lot about “subscribers” and “impressions” these days. But like “hits” and “page views” back in the 90’s, those are pretty undefined numbers.

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Sex, Podcasting, Radio and Eric

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

This show is short on talking and heavier on music because I play one of my favorite tracks by Eric Clapton and it’s pretty long. In this show Sex and Podcasting takes a look at the comparison between radio and podcasting and points out that each medium is better for some things. It’s an audio version of a gizmo I wrote for a friend who is trying to recruit a few community radio producers to consider doing podcasts.

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Get ATTENTION for your dangerous ideas

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

If you're doing most kinds of community podcasting, iTunes works great as a means of drawing in listeners. But one of the finest traditions of citizen-media is doing shows that poke people in the eye — and if those folks happen to be big corporations, or the “establishment,” one day you may find yourself removed from iTunes. The way I did when somebody reported Sex and Podcasting to the nanny cops at iTunes…

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How many listeners needed to hit the iTunes top 100?

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

60? 600? 6000? I've correlated my subscriptions with my position on the iTunes Top 100 and am ready to present my report. I talk about; how many subscriptions were required to get on the Top 100, how many I had when I was at my peak (35th) and offer some suggestions to the iTunes folks to make their service less opaque to us subscribers and podcasters.

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Getting ATTENTION in iTunes

Monday, August 8th, 2005

“My life on the iTunes Top 100”

This one is the checklist that resulted from my (probably brief) time on the iTunes Top 100 list. The story of how S & P got there, plus the various gyrations I've used to stay there. Some day, hucksters will sell you these ideas for $29.99 over late-night TV. Yours for free, today and today only.

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More on ATTENTION, and trust —

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

With the growing awareness and focus on “attention”, what about our rights when we GIVE our attention to somebody? The folks at Attention Trust ( are thinking hard about this one. An especially important topic for us community podcasters.

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Getting ATTENTION is easier for us narrow-casters, here's how

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005

The first in a few shows about getting attention for your community podcast. We're interested in narrow-casting which gives us a huge edge. This show explores that kinda stuff. The “tip of the day” features Feedburner as a great tool for getting attention, especially in iTunes.

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Bandwidth — Be careful what you wish for…

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Podcasting isn't a mass medium — it is really expensive to reach a large audience. In this show we'll run through the basic math of what it costs to reach people, and explore why podcasting is much better suited to “the long tail” — all of us narrowcasters. Becoming a super-popular mass media podcaster may force you to make choices you don't want to make.

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The other "community" in community podcasting

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Your fellow podcasters can help you be a lot better podcaster. This show explores the whys and hows of all that. It's not just the community you podcast TO, it's the community you podcast WITH.

If you can't find a gang to hang out with in your town, consider hanging out here. If 10 of you send email, I'll fire up a little online forum for us.

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Show notes;

I hang out with a gang called Podcast Minnesota. A great example of a podcasting community.

Podcasting 101 # 8 – Editing, a great way to improve your podcasts

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

More in the “refinement of Podcasting 101” series. This show talks a bit about WHY I edit my shows, and HOW you can do it too (if you so choose — it's debatable whether it's a good idea).

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Podcasting 101 # 7 – Ratings (subscribers and downloads)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

I'm tempted to hype this show like an infomercial… Proven techniques! Have worked for millions! But the truth is I have no clue why you're listening or how much you value these shows. This show tells you how to get your ratings, and then trys to convince you that maybe they're the wrong metric.

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Podcasting 101 – Episode 6 – RSS, the final ingredient for podcasting

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

This is it! In this show we'll get your MP3 file all wrapped up in an RSS feed (with enclosures) and generate your first podcast.

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Show notes

Here are links to the sites I mention in this show;

Blogger – a place to set up a blog if you don't already have one (free)

Feedburner – a site that will transmogrify your RSS feed so that it handles the “enclosures” that are crucial to podcasting (free)

Podcasting 101 – Episode 5 – Getting the MP3 file out on the Internet

Friday, July 15th, 2005

Almost done with the Podcasting 101 series – hang in there, I'll take a little break from the “how to” stuff after these are done. This one talks about moving the MP3 file you've created out to the Internet so that other people can download it.

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Show Notes

These are links to the podcast-hosting sites I mention in the show;

Podblaze – free
Slapcast – free

Libsyn – $5/month
PodLot – $5/month
PodBus – $5/month

Podcasting 101 – Episode 4 – Recording your voice to an MP3 file

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

Continuing the Podcasting 101 series. In this podcast I walk you through getting your voice into an MP3 file — the basic building block of a podcast. This is probably the hardest, geekiest one in the series, so don’t be put off if at first you don’t succeed. If you get stuck, drop me an email and I’ll help you over the hump.

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Show notes

Here are a few useful links to help you through the hardest part (which is getting your mic connected to your computer). You’ll have to come out to to see the links (they don’t show up in the iTunes descriptions yet).

Mac people can go here (this is a link to a support page on the Apple site that shows how to set up your mic).

PC people can go here if you’re running XP, or here if you’re running Win 95 or Win 98.

If you’re a Linux person, you’re on your own. But I bet you can figure it out.

Cookbook steps

– First, get Audacity ready to export MP3 files. They have a topic about that in the help menus — it differs by computer.

– Plug your microphone into the “mic input” jack on your computer

– Doodle around with the sound control panal until you get the mic “turned on” for recording (this differs by computer, see above for links)

– Fire up Audacity and hit the “record” button

– Hold the mic about a foot away from your mouth, say a few words and hit the “stop” button when you’re done

– You should see blobby blue stuff in Audacity where your words are.

– Final step – go into the “File” menu and select “export as MP3”

Podcasting 101 – Episode 3 – The basics about mics

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Another in this series of “how to do podcasts” podcasts (I'm loving the grammar possibilities). This one is the one that will get you to the point where you have a microphone, which is the all-important link between your voice and the recording. A little over 5 minutes of talk about the two main kinds of mics (dynamic and condensor) plus some shopping advice if you don't have a mic already.

Argh! I left out one crucial component in the shopping tips. If you decide to head out and get a mic, don't forget to buy a cable to connect your new mic to your computer. Tell the person at the store what you're trying to do, they should be able to figure out a “mic to computer” cable. If they can't, I'll include a representative link in the show notes.


Here's a link to a pretty good $20 dynamic mic — sorry, the link's too long to put in “iTunes visible” form, you'll have to drop by so you can click on this link to a nice Audio Technica mic at Best Buy. No, I'm not getting paid, it's just a link to the mic i use. Note that this mic comes with a cable that will let you plug it into your computer. Pretty neat.

Here's a link to the condensor mics I use – MXL-2001. Same deal, you'll have to come to the site to see the link, and no there's no commercial connection. Maybe some time soon iTunes will let you follow these links directly.

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Podcasting 101 – Episode 2 – The starting point – get yourself some Audacity

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

This is the first of a series of podcasts that, if you follow along, will get you to the point where you've made a podcast of your own. This episode talks about some really cool (freeware) digital audio software called Audacity. If you actually dig in and follow the steps you should have recorded some digital audio by the end. And even if you don't go through all the hoops I hope you learn a little bit about how to do digital recording.

Show notes;

Audacity software can be found at

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Podcasting 101 – Episode 1 – Going to record a remote? What do you take?

Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

Da voice of da peepul has spoken — y'all thought my “how to podcast” podcasts podcasting idea sounded good. Nice grammar, huh? So I'm going to do a series. This first one is the result of my frantic packing-up to go to the Winnipeg Folk festival tomorrow. 'Fella's got to have a list, so I decided to share it with you. Subsequent shows will trace a step by step path which, when it's done, should result in you having put together and published your own podcast. All in little 5-minute chunks. Each accompanied by a little shot of (BMI) licensed music to take the edge off the good audio geekiness.

I'll post the checklist out on my blog too — the blog's URL is

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Where do we take this? I could use your help…

Friday, July 1st, 2005

This podcast asks a huge favor of you. I need your help in determining where to go with this Sex and Podcasting gizmo. There are enough of you in the gang now, so let's figure this out together. I whomped out another “on the couch” special-edition podcast in which I describe the kinds of things I learned from the last couple days of log files (looking at the “Post iTunes Arrival” hits) and voice a few theories that lead me to the conclusion that a lot of you would like more shows about “how to” podcasting stuff. Is that right? wrong?

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Welcome iTunes folks — this week is a watershed

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Wow. iTunes added podcasting yesterday and Sex and Podcasting is rockin'! So this is a special mid-week version of the podcast to say “boy howdy” and summarize what this nothing-about-sex podcast is all about. S&P went from a couple hundred downloads a day to more like 5,000 a day. Whew! Thanks to the folks at IP House for the bandwidth and hand-holding as I tuned the server to handle the load.

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Tinkerers and do-it-yourselfers unite! Podcasting is a medium for YOU!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Why do we DO this podcasting stuff anyway??? All kinds of reasons, but one is 'cause it's fun to make stuff.

Gad there are a lot of fun projects to do in the podcasting realm. Audio widgets to tinker with, software to write, lotsa stuff to figure out in this emerging medium. And, of course, carrying on the tradition of helping OTHER people along once we've figured it out for ourselves.

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Money! Podcasting! Podcasting and Money…

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Of course people are all excited about making a fortune in podcasting. Listen to this podcast to hear where I think the money will be made, why it won't materially influence the bulk of what happens in podcasting, and why money isn't going to matter for most of us.

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Licensed music played here

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

These podcasts play music licensed by BMI. Figuring out what to do about all that was a head-scratcher for me. Listen to the podcast to find out what I learned about DMCA, Sound Exchange, Harry Fox, mechanical vs performance licensing, etc. And why I think I'm ok (at least for now) with just the BMI license.

Welcome to all of you iTunes folks. I'm working on fixing the “can't seem to download the whole podcast problem” on this site. Bear with me — I have a theory, that I'm confirming by posting this repeat of an earlier podcast.

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CPB funding cut – a lesson to us all…

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Yep, well this is kindof a repeat. Probably a theme that will show up over and over. A sub-committee of congress-critters cut CPB's funding this week. See? If you want to be free in your speech, pay attention to where the money is coming from — and don't be surprised if they try to shut you up/off when you say things the money-kids don't like.

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Snippets – the new form a media in a mix and remix world

Monday, June 13th, 2005

I read a great article this week that got me thinking about the format of this show. Snippets. It's all about snippets. Media becomes little short bits that we (the audience) mix and twiddle to meet our own needs. There's lots more to be found at Umrir Hrque's Bubble Generation site. The document that got me going on all this is his (long, but worth it) The New Economics of Media Powerpoint deck.

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We've got to untether the MP3 player for podcasting to take off

Monday, June 6th, 2005

Community radio folks (and NPR types as well) are telling me podcasting is just a flash in the pan — because people don't own their iPods for very long before they stop using them and turn back to other ways of listening. That may be true (it is for me) but that shouldn't give radio people great comfort, it just means that the tech has some getting-better to do. I describe where I think it goes from here.

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You can tell who the pioneers are — they have the arrows in their backs

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Dave Winer did a couple of great podcasts this week — the first a very personal revelation of his side of the business difficulties between him and Adam Curry and the second, which inspired this podcast, in which he does a lot of reflecting and shares a bunch of ideas that I found compelling. So this podcast is dedicated to the inventors and pioneers — who are often eclipsed by the promoters and popularizers.

The music on this podcast is… um… mine. One of the things Dave talks about inspired me to take a risk and put a little song together for the podcast. This podcast is about 12.5 mBytes.

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Show notes:

Adam Curry's Strategy 'Cast 2.0 – link

Adam Curry's first strategy 'cast – link

Dave Winer's version of the story — click on the “17 minute podcast” link to hear it – link

Dave Winder's “day after” podcast (the “get out of town” podcast link at the beginning of this page) — the one that inspired this show – link

Reginald Fessenden, the true father of radio – link

Lew Hill's “Theory of Listener Sponsored Radio” – link

NPR vs CPB — he who pays the piper calls the tune

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

A week full of news that's interesting if you're a community podcaster. CPB slaps NPR, NPR slaps back, Cox and Clear Channel are dropping rock-format stations 'cause they're not seeing the rate of return they want, and iTunes looks like they're going to support podcasts. Community podcasters take note — the titans are throwing thunderbolts at each other, which means big opportunities for us decentralized voices.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Community radio stations are a GREAT place to do community podcasting

Monday, May 16th, 2005

This is the “call to action” podcast for community-radio programmers, producers, staff and boardmembers. I'm lobbying that you folks could be the epicenter of community podcasting if you choose to do so — and I hope you will. This podcast explores a little about why I think that, plus a little about what it will mean.

If you like this podcast, you may want to listen to some of the others which get at narrower topics that you might be interested in. View this as the ravings of an aging community radio organizer, talking about what I'd be doing if I were still at a station.

The whole shebang is about 13 mBytes.

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Audio is a better community medium than video

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

This an old argument, left over from the community radio days. Which is a better community medium, audio or video? I'm on the side of audio. I think it's easier to produce, easier to teach to other people, more involving for the listener and a much better story-telling medium. And “people telling their own stories” is what community media is all about.

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Podcast about podcasts as comments in podcasts (pretty recursive, huh?)

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Adam Curry's got a new “Strategy 'cast” out, and it triggered an idea. Why not build podcasting sites so that the comments to podcasts are podcasts? Buncha interesting software widgets would have to get built, and there's some etiquette to figure out. But some neat things could happen. Podcasting could cross-pollinate and cross-promote a lot better, and it could make for more interesting shows.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Podcasting — free of internal politics

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Internal politics is an inevitable part of any community radio station. There are all sorts of reasons why — and podcasting neatly avoids most of them. Of course, sometimes politics is a creative force that drives the content to new places, but for the most part it's just something that gets in the way. Now we're free!

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Advertising and podcasting

Monday, April 18th, 2005

In the words of Elmer Fudd, be vewwy vewwy careful… Advertising leads to choices you may wish you hadn't made later on. It's one of the reasons that “Public” broadcasting is in the fix it's in today. And the nice thing is, community podcasters don't need advertising the way community radio stations did.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Community access — access for whom, the listener or the story teller?

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Podcasting solves a big problem that plagues community radio stations — the eternal balancing act between providing access to the airwaves for all while at the same time providing an audience.

A little controversial on the music selection for this one — Bruce Hornsby. 9.3 mBytes

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Podcasts as an organizing tool — in your community or your company

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Audio is a great way to communicate. Very rich, all kinds of subtle things happen that don't in the written word, and are Too Hard in video. Here are some thoughts on how podcasting is a great way to reach a community, even inside your own company. Very subversive too — kinda like email, it “flows around obstructions.”

Heck, there's even Moody Scott blues tune to put you in the mood. Who could ask for more? 9.5 mBytes

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Voice style — Why you don't need to talk like a radio DJ

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Community podcasting is about real people telling their own stories, in their own voices. A little about the history of why radio people talk the way they do, and why you don't need to.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

All the words you CAN say in a podcast, even if you can't on the radio…

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

Radio is a shared space, like a city park, and there are rules governing your behavior there. Podcasting space is also shared, but it's an interactive place that you choose to enter — so the rules are different.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Remotes — Taking it to the streets

Saturday, April 9th, 2005

Podcasting, especially community podcasting, is all about letting people tell their own stories. In order to do that, you gotta go to them. This will undoubtedly be a recurring theme. In this one, listen to a few general thoughts about remotes, plus a little bit about digital gear that makes producing them a lot easier.

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)

Rant and a record — the format of these podcasts

Saturday, April 9th, 2005

I’m thinking that the format of podcasts can take many forms. Listen to this one to learn about my views on format, why I like the 10-minute “rant and a record” idea, plus the obligatory tweaking of the broadcast industry… 8.3 mBytes

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Listen to it as a stream (starts playing immediately, doesn't stay on your machine when it's done)