Are We Still Podcasters?


I was speaking with Daniel J. Lewis from The Audacity to Podcast recently about what we do as podcasters. Daniel—not me, the other one—has been doing his shows on UStream. Daniel—me, not the other one—tried that but found that Mixlr was the better solution for live shows right now. Other podcasters have been utilizing UStream and Mixlr, as well as other streaming tools, for years. This begs the question‚

Are we still podcasters?

If we’re going by the generally accepted definition of a podcaster, maybe not. According to Wikipedia, a podcast is a “non-streamed webcast“. Episodes are pre-recorded and made available for download to a listener’s device, to be listened to offline. They may also be played on-demand on a podcaster’s website or in iTunes, but the key element here is that the episodes must be pre-recorded. That’s what makes a podcast a podcast.

If we’re doing live shows which we then make available as podcasts later on, what are we doing? You wouldn’t say that a morning radio host who makes his shows available on his website is podcasting. He’s broadcasting and making recordings of those broadcasts available as podcasts. Are we not doing the same?

We’ve fought against the perception of the word “podcast” for years. People who aren’t familiar with podcasting sometimes think that an iPod is required. They sometimes believe that podcasts aren’t meant for them because they have not, historially, been mainstream or widely adopted. Many simply don’t know what a podcast is and are turned off by the word because it’s unfamiliar. We all know what radio is. We all know what television is. Those words make sense to everyone. “Podcast” doesn’t share that luxury.

I’ve started a little experiment. I’ve been telling people that I’m an internet broadcaster. It’s a mouthful, but people get it. When they ask me what kind of show I do, I’m able to tell them and they’re able to understand because they make a connection between radio broadcasts and internet broadcasts.

What we do is not “online radio” despite what a major internet broadcasting service bills itself as. Radio is a descrete technology that has as much to do with the internet as it does with television—nothing at all.

I also dislike the terms “webcast” and “netcast“. Like “podcast”, those words are not used by the average person on the street. While they do make sense, “broadcast” is a word that nobody needs to actively recall a definition for. We don’t say radiocast or televisioncast when talking about those mediums. Broadcasters work in radio and televsion. There’s no reason broadcasters can’t work online.

  • “I’m a radio broadcaster. I’m a radio talk show host.”
  • “I’m a television broadcaster. I’m a television talk show host.”
  • “I’m an internet broadcaster. I’m an internet talk show host.”

Makes sense to me. What do you think? Are you protective of the word “podcast” or “podcaster”? Do you think you would make a change?

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About Daniel M. Clark

Daniel M. Clark is a podcaster at QAQN, a writer at danielmclark.com, and an all around cool dude everywhere else. He wrote a little book called The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Podcaster for NMX. You can follow him on Twitter (@qaqn) or email him at daniel@qaqn.com.

Comments

  1. It’s not easy to educate the masses about these subtle differences and what podcasting means. At least now I can point to in the direction of this post. Nicely stated. Thanks Daniel.

    • Thanks, Ileane. I’m all about the education (okay, and entertainment) – and I’m always looking for the best ways to bring in the most people to the medium. If tweaking the terminology helps a little, then I think it’s worth experimenting with!

    • Thanks, Ileane. I’m all about the education (okay, and entertainment) – and I’m always looking for the best ways to bring in the most people to the medium. If tweaking the terminology helps a little, then I think it’s worth experimenting with!

  2. I will also point to this post as a form of education and in the meantime when I speak to people I will try your “internet broadcaster” terminology. Thanks for this!!

  3. I will also point to this post as a form of education and in the meantime when I speak to people I will try your “internet broadcaster” terminology. Thanks for this!!

  4. I will also point to this post as a form of education and in the meantime when I speak to people I will try your “internet broadcaster” terminology. Thanks for this!!

  5. I agree about the term podcaster, as it is limiting by definition. As someone who does recorded audio and video shows, as well as live, interactive broadcasts, I struggle with how to succinctly define what I (we) do. I say that I host an online talk show, or sometimes say that I am an online broadcaster. They are both easily understandable to people who may not be familiar with what a podcast is anyway, and broad enough in definition.

    When I started my show, I made a deliberate decision to include the word “radio” so that people who didn’t know what a podcast was in 2005, immediately understood the idea that it was something to listen to. Of course, now I find even my own name (http://WDWRadio.com) limiting as I do much more than audio, but it gets the idea across.

    I think you using “internet broadcaster” is a great solution. Of course, as the line between the “internet” and its content being streamed directly to set-top boxes and even TVs, I wonder if that description will someday be need to be examined as well.

    Great post!! Thanks

    • Lou, this was a great comment, thank you. You raise an excellent point – in 5, 10 years (or even sooner) when the lines between mediums blur even more… what then? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

    • Lou, this was a great comment, thank you. You raise an excellent point – in 5, 10 years (or even sooner) when the lines between mediums blur even more… what then? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

  6. I’m not protective of the term “podcast.” Frankly, whatever makes the point with people is what should be used. Telling people you’re an Internet broadcaster gets the point across, so why not? Plus, the term “broadcaster” isn’t restricted to audio or video / live or recorded. Of course, in my own mind – I’m merely considered “the talent.” :D

  7. Here are my thoughts on the Term Podcasting originally written in 2007 - http://podcast411.libsyn.com/a-podcast-by-any-other-name-is-still-a-

    I think the name Podcast won back in 2005 when Apple added it to iTunes and that was re-enforced when Microsoft later added it to Zune.  

    I know a lot of people proud to say they are a podcaster others not so much.  But I can’t remember the last time I asked someone if they heard of podcasting and they said no – it has been years. It is out there it is mainstream and the term with be with us forever. 

    Regards,

    Rob Walch
    podCast411,  Today in Podcasting, and Today in iOS Podcasts 

    • That’s a great article, Rob, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. For the pre-recorded, non-streaming mp3 files that I produce… those are definitely podcast episodes. Podcast is absolutely the right word to use for all the reasons you mention in your article – it’s pervasive at this point.

      But when it comes to live-streamed broadcasts… I do feel that “podcast” is too limiting. As I said in the article, you wouldn’t say the guy on the radio you heard in the car this morning is a podcaster, but his show is made available as a podcast after it’s done live.