Podcasting and The Citizen Broadcasting Trend

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Jackie Huba, co-author of “Creating Customer Evangelists,” posed an interesting question on her blog earlier this month, “Would you listen or subscribe to a business podcast?”

I responded that yes, I would, saying:

“To really answer it, I think you have to expand the question to include all forms of audio over the Internet.

Last year around this time I saw a prediction that Internet radio would be hot. I was skeptical (actually I laughed). Well, it turns out that 2004 saw a mini-explosion in all things audio-related.

The thing is, varying terminology and related technologies are being used to describe similar end results (i.e., an audio file). When you expand the question in this way, you realize that audio is really hot right now — but it might be called podcasting, Internet radio, conversations, audio blogging, recorded interviews, MP3 downloads, or other terms. But they are referring to more or less the same end result: an audio file that can be downloaded and listened to.”

As you look around you see that the same citizen journalism movement that blogs have brought about, has started to extend to audio. Several factors are fueling this movement: (1) wider availability of broadband connections, (2) cheaper and better computers equipped with speakers and hefty hard disk space, (3) the convergence of telecommunications and computing making it easy to record audio and turn it into a computerized file, and (4) the stunning popularity of the iPod device.

Everywhere you look, it seems, individuals and small businesses are starting their own Internet radio programs and doing podcasts. A small number are focused on business topics.

Some have been at it a while, such as TDavid’s Script School, and IT Conversations. Others started last year, including Blogosphere Radio and authors doing 800-CEO-READ podcasts. Still others have started recently with their own business podcasts, including The Vision Thing. Each one has a different focus and different format … but they are all examples of citizen broadcasting.

As regular readers here know, Steve from Small Business CEO and I started an audio offering over at SMBTrendWire.com. Our niche is small business. So far we have five 45-minute recordings of small business experts on a variety of interesting topics. We do a live audiocast every two weeks, which is also recorded and then becomes available for listening anytime of the day or night using Windows Media. A podcast format is in the works and will be available shortly.

There is a revolution going on in broadcasting — a citizens’ revolution. This citizen broadcasting movement is not just occurring on the Internet. There also appears to be a broader movement influencing traditional radio that “gives radio back to listeners,” as Ben McConnell notes. I predict that in much the same way blogs are changing traditional media forever, the citizen broadcasting movement will change traditional radio.

The year 2005 should be interesting for the citizen broadcasting trend.

NOTE: if you do any citizen broadcasting on business topics, I invite you to leave a comment below with the URL where readers can find your audio.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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