FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Radio Reinvented as the "People's Medium"

UPDATE: An article in the Online Journalism Review discusses the impact of satellite radio, podcasting and other emerging radio phenomena.


Over the past week I've written about podcasting, microradio and satellite radio as part of a new, disruptive wave in broadcasting, one that puts the power of the voice in the hands of the people. In the case of podcasting and microradio, the application for individual programming is clear. But even with satellite radio, opportunities exist for individual creativity. And unlike the other two, satellite radio has potential to reach a very wide audience.

MediaPost columnist Tom Hespos suggests that if satellite bandwidth were made public, individuals could craft their own radio programs that could reach a national or even global audience. There's plenty of incentive for the big players in the industry to prevent this, but it's technically feasible. Not everyone wants to produce their own radio show, but there are enough creative people out there to effect a paradigm shift in broadcasting if this were allowed to happen.

Not everybody is so taken with the 'casting revolution. eWeek's Dave Coursey points out some of the downsides of podcasting and similar technologies, particularly the signal-to-noise ratio. "This is blogging for people with even larger egos, folks who think they need to be heard as well as read," he says. Coursey also frets that neo-Nazis and other nefarious groups will get a hold of the technology. If you replaced the occurences of the word "podcasting" in the article with "the Web," you'd have a duplicate of the types of pieces people were writing a decade ago.

Personally, I see 'casting as a growth technology. But the real explosion won't come until people begin posting video clips, and handheld video-capable devices hit the market. Then, 'casting will be taking on the even greater beast of television. It will also open the door to the great bete noir of progress, the phenomenon that truly brings disruptive technology to the masses: pornography.

Source: unmediated