Thursday, September 30, 2004

User Generated Content: User Generated Programming

Early this week I saw the post on the Blogger Con website the post concerning a session on Podcasting. I of course thought to myself that the weirdo Mac people had some new fangled thing that isn’t that interesting to talk about. Mac people are so religious. (You have to take your shots if you are Windows user) By yesterday I had seen a ripple of posts about podcasting and decided to dig out the iPod I bought for my wife for a gift when they first came out. The iPod had been hiding in the bottom of my computer bag waiting for the next cross country trip providing very little value other than making my heavy bag heavier.

I went to iPodder.org and started digging around. Then the light went off. I have been listening on and off to Ken Rutkowski’s Ken Radio show, and recently I have been listening to it a lot. So much so in fact that I have been periodically burning CDs for the drive home. If I miss the last NPR slot its drive time going home with right wing radio or air America, and I am getting a bit worn out with the shrillness on both sides. Ken and Andy Abramson do a great job doing a daily tech roundup that is worth the mention.

So last night on the way home I listened to a burned CD of Adam Curry’s show from a couple of days ago about Dave Winer, and some history etc. and I really started getting into the whole idea. When I have talked with people in the past about User Generated Content, one of the examples I like to point out is Tivo. It’s not strictly User Generated Content, in that people are creating the narrative like blogging/online gaming/reality TV etc. but it is user generated programming. It’s my network. Of course mine is full of news shows, football games, and the occasional outlier. On my network I am Brandon Tartikoff.

Ipodder is Tivo for internet radio, albeit with a bit of a homebrew flavor. What I find interesting is that in traditional media distribution, arguably, high quality content is pushed out of the center of the network in a rigid distribution construct. It may be that Friends is on at 9 PM on Thursdays or that I can only see a movie this week, or a show is on at this time on the radio. In the world where content comes from the edge of the network, the control is pushed to the user. I watch the shows when I want on my Tivo. I can now create my own radio for the drive home and I don’t want to listen to Clear Channel Radio USA.

Although I have only found the relatively few shows on the iPodder site a bit techy and sort of limited in content, this is clearly just the beginning. Kudos to those with the vision to use the combination of RSS and iPod synching to make it a really cool experience although still a bit more tweaked to the technically inclined. The path to some interesting grassroots radio which will surely develop professional quality over time is a refreshing counter example to the high cost, homogenized content that comes from the center of the traditional media network.

2 comments:

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