With the update to iTunes to include a podcast directory, the world of podcasts has exploded. (And it isn’t over yet!) The biggest difference is that you no longer have to use two programs to get your feeds into your iPod. This is good and bad.
The good news is that accessing the feeds is amazingly easy and managing your subscriptions is a snap. The bad news is that where big business sticks its finger, backroom deals are sure to follow. iTunes lists all the big independant podcasts (just a few months ago that was NOT a disctinction, all of them were independant) but it focuses more on the corporate podders. Yes, the megacorps have once again swooped in hoping to crush any free expression of communication in favor of all content being paid (to them.)
What this means is that 1) it is hard for an independant podcaster to even get listed on iTunes and 2) you have to sift through a lot of corporate crap to find anything good. So that I wasn’t just blowing smoke, I took it upon myself to try out a ton of podcasts (it really is easy to do with iTunes) and report on the good, the bad, and the lame.
Read on for my first batch of reviews…
Mind Cast – this appears to be some old hermit who sees it as his duty to inform the world about whatever strikes his fancy. He rambles a bit and often goes off on tangents – it would be a good resource for someone without a strong knowlegde base, but for an intelligent person, it is not that great.
Rating 4 out of 10 microphones
ABC News Nightline – This podcast is simply a summarized version of the Nightline television show. It is a perfect example of the corporate need to participate and eventually control a new medium. It is not what I look for in a podcast, but will continue to subscribe – only listening when the subject is something that interests me.
Rating 4 out of 10 microphones
Cycling Insight – THIS is what podcasting is really about. Two whacky Aussies ramble about what has been going on in the cycling world. My love of cycling gives this cast an edge, but I really think just about anyone would like listening to these nuts. They call pro cyclists by nicknames they create – Ullrich is “The Sausage” and Armstrong is “Rafael Rodriguez” for his love of “tack-o’s” and other Mexican food. In addition to the silliness, they have some really good cycling content.
Rating 8 out of 10 microphones
This Week in Tech (TWit) – Another example of an early podcast doing what it was designed to do. Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton (formerly of TechTV) host this computer nerd show. It is entertaining at times, boring at others, but it is a true podcast.
Rating 6 out of 10 microphones
Earthwatch Radio – Another excellent podcast. Their agenda is the health of the planet and their content is short and to the point. EW does not do a regular weekly show, but rather a short (2min) blurb when they have new content. It is the epitome of “just the facts.”
Rating 9 out of 10 microphones
The Sports You Do – This podcast created by Active.com (a site that handles registration for tons of sporting events) is an example of a hybrid podcast. Active.com was a startup with this grand idea of one site for registering for all your fun runs, bike races etc. and has really exploded. Their podcast content features famous racers, triathletes, cyclists etc. and for that value it is great. It is not as slickly produced as the megacorps casts, but definitely on the high end of podcasts. This one gets a nod because it does provide a ton of content with very little hype.
Rating 7 out of 10 microphones
Podcast Brothers – Tim and Emile Bourquin are also podcasting pioneers. This show focuses on how content producers can “monetize” their podcasts. They interview successful casters and talk about how they are making money from their efforts as well as looking at things like mixers, microphones, and software available to improve your podcasts. They provide great content and their production quality is extremely high.
Rating 10 out of 10 microphones