Low barrier to entry — that is one of the appeals of podcasting, driving an explosion of content at the amateur, semi-pro, professional, and entrepreneurial levels. The emergence of podcasting on the business side is matched by personal technology advances that make it relatively easy, and inexpensive, for any person or group to create good-sounding audio and place it in the on-demand market.
But there is a knowledge gap, and we are seeing it filled by educational initiatives that explain podcasting conceptually, as well as the technology and distribution.
We reported this week on PRX’s initiative to preach the podcasting gospel to non-commercial radio stations via Project Catapult. This venture addresses the conceptual shortfall that exists in many radio stations. A widespread interpretation of podcasting in radio is re-purposed broadcast content placed online. That’s fine, and could have business advantages, but the real movement (and money, and potential) of the podcast category lies in creating new shows with their own brands, distribution tactics, and audience strategies. Presumably radio stations don’t need much technical education, well equipped as they are on the studio side.
The Knight Foundation for Journalism in the Americas launched a podcasting MOOC this week — that’s a Massive Open Online Course. Anyone can join at any time and run through the curriculum at a self-determined pace. The course is called: Introduction to Podcasting: Creation, Development and Distribution Strategies. The instructionals are created by three members of a publication called Voice of San Diego, which produces a slate of podcasts in addition to newsletters and other products.
The curriculum does have a “Wat are podcasts” element, but on the whole the course is more nitty-gritty. One section covers the technicals. Later in the syllabus there is a section which delineates talk shows from storytelling programs. Segments on distribution and audience-building are included.
This cycle of emergence and adoption resembles how blogging rose up from hobby to professional levels. The key knowledge point early in the cycle, for creators and consumers alike, is the “What is it?” question. At RAIN Summit Nashville, Eric Nuzum (SVP or Original Content Development at Audible) noted that many consumers still don’t know what “podcasting” means. That probably goes for some potential creators also.