I host a weekly, themed amateur podcast. All three adjectives used very casually because sometimes my laptop doesn’t work and I have to postpone for a week, sometimes the theme is just “ranting” and amateur is used very sparingly because it is to say I have some potential in a podcast market. My friends and sometimes anonymous contributors call in most always enthusiastic with their stories and more interestingly enough, almost always confused as to what a “podcast” is. “Is this live?” “Are there people listening?” “What is this?” All questions I have heard, and can be answered in tying Tom Gunning’s thoughts on “re-newing old technology.”
I have always enjoyed talk radio, and in a “go, go, go” society, we have no time to sit down and read the newspaper. It makes it much easier to be able to enjoy your news while driving or wherever accessible. However, accessibility was one of the major criticisms with talk radio, the inability to listen to your favorite stations without having a radio became problematic. This want to be able to listen to radio on demand brought to fruition “web radio.” Now with the internet being so accessible web radio became a hit, which lead to the ultimate creation of podcasting. Podcasting brings a sense of “uncanny” as Gunning describes, because it evokes a feeling of reminiscence while combining an air of newness. The gathering of a family around a radio is an iconic picture of American culture, albeit a bit dated. That is why I believe the excitement and entertainment that came from listening to the radio has been broken down to a more personalized, unpredictable and concentrated format. Gunning goes on to talk about this want for technology to be able to turn the future into a Utopia. The idea is that while technology advances more of our wants are met. In this instance, my generation aptly named the “Me Generation” wants everything personalized. With podcasts we don’t have to “suffer” through listening to commercials, or only being able to listen to a particular show at a particular time. The want for a more personalized, a more portable entertainment has been met.
To touch on my meme, it must first be brought to the forefront that since there is a large feeling of “newness” to podcasts, their use is still murky to many people. To this effect, most all of my friends have only heard of my podcast, which is a comedy podcast, so they believe that podcasts are just mediums for comedians. To celebrities, and to my knowledge, podcasts have become another way to market their product. Gone are the days where a celebrity would have to tour all around America talking on radio stations to promote their standup show, or new TV series coming out. Now, celebrities can go to one or two podcasts in the Los Angeles area and send it to the whole world. Society would like to see podcasts as a learning and educational venue marketed at the same audition as talk radio. For this reason I believe names like NPR and TED Talks are the most prominent features on the iTunes Podcast section. I would like to think of podcasts as a new medium to create, talk and socialize. I think podcasts create a link to and from creatives and consumers of media aimed at a goal of interconnectivity. At the end of the day, and in summation, podcasts give voices to many people who might have not previously gone through the ranks of becoming a radio DJ. Now, one can simply download Garageband and grab a mic, and start creating. Podcasts have democratized a new way to connect and share and to entertain, and as long as they are in the zeitgeist, I will appreciate them
Ciccarelli, Stephanie. “History of Podcasting.” Voices.com. Voices, 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.
Gunning, T. 2003. ‘Re-newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature and the Uncanny in Technology From the Previous Turn-of the-Century’, in Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (eds) Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press