Written in 2007
I have written before that I think radio has a great future, since it is now available in many more flexible forms than just tuning in to the airwaves. We no longer have to follow time tables and dial between stations, and radio is easy to consume while doing other things, such as commuting, jogging etc.
This summer I have downloaded a lot of podcasts to my Nokia N95 smartphone. It has a very easy to use podcasting application that lets me search for and download both audio and video podcasts using the 3G network.
But I strongly feel that podcasts could become much more appealing if the existing technology was used more creatively;
The big drawback with podcasts compared to text is that you have to play through the clip to know if it is interesting. You cannot just glance at it and then go someplace else if it bores you.
I can browse through 60-second clips on YouTube if I feel like killing some time. But I mostly find it boring to listen to or watch a 5 minute segment anywhere, unless I know it is about something of key interest to me.
What is the difference between a regular radio and a mobile phone with radio capabilities or and MP3 player? The display! So why not use it?
I get lists of podcasts from different publishers. They are mostly named just with a date and show name. No hint on content, participants or who the publisher is.
- Text information for every media file: Headlines, who is participating, when was it published? Also there should always be a description of the publisher.
- Tags describing the clip content, with interactive tag clouds.
- A clickable text menu listing the program “chapters”, so that I can jump directly to for example the news item I want.
And why are so many video podcast shows just a talking head? What”™s the point? It just adds megabytes of useless video to my downloads and looks like television did in its infancy! If the resources for producing a professional video program are not available it is way better to work with audio and texts/still pictures.
And please, standardize file formats and controls. Now I get error messages like “This file type is not playable on this device”, but often they still work. Other times I download a huge clip and then find that it fore some unexplained reason will not play at all.
And the controls are different depending on what media player I happen to be using. Imagine if the pedals and steering wheels did not work the same in all cars!