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podcasts: good as a media delivery mechanism, bad as a standalone media

Diggnation and This Week in Tech are moderately entertaining but not more so than the standard friday afternoon gather around somebody's computer and show off some cool stuff. The guys of Diggnation and TWiT don't seem to have any special information to tell me; I maybe get a nice "in the know" glow from hearing similiar tidbits of useless information emerge in a disconnected context. (Can it be a context if it's disconnected?) Patrick Norton and John Dvorak and Leo Laporte each have interesting personalities, but I think they're interesting like, if this guy is sitting in the break room, i'd be willing to sit down and hear about what he's up to, but I wouldn't sit in rapt attention while he goofs off with a few other moderately entertaining curmudgeons. Podcast qua Podcast: no.
But! Podcast as a way to deliver actual valuable news and entertainment and analysis -- that's just right. I use my ipod (thank you, Marshall, so much) as a time shifter. NPR and BBC and Jim Lehrer and Weekend America and Slate all deliver bits to my device, and I just keep a casual queue going, with some smart filters. Most days I have a few hours of NPR content available, and a few audiobooks I get through slowly... The content is what's important. A bunch of guys chatting about tech, or, worse, just one guy talking about tech: blech. But if you've got some actual journalists composing stories and pieces and reporting on the news, and you make that content available to me to put in my pocket and listen to anytime -- now you've got my attention. Which is the new new new economy.

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