The point of podcasting

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For now, podcasting isn't a way to make huge amounts of money. Unless you’re Adam Curry, the “podfather” and founder of PodShow, and/or his “podchildren,” Dawn and Drew, you’re probably not going to be quitting your day job to start a full-time podcast anytime soon.

PodShow and Odeo are two podcasting-related startups that have started right here in the fair city of San Francisco, but neither of them have shown themselves to be making any money yet. Sure they’ve attracted venture capital left and right, but that doesn’t mean anything around here—yet.

I disagree with my co-worker Jennifer Berger , who recently lamented the fact that we have a lot of dross out there in the podcasting world and wanted better content filtration for it. The fact that practically anyone can podcast is precisely what makes podcasting so great—translated into geek-speak, “it’s a feature, not a bug.”

That’s the whole beauty of the Internet, blogs, and now podcasting (and, eventually, video podcasts or vodcasting or whatever people end up calling it): cheap distribution of content that can be produced and consumed by anyone, anywhere. Sure, not every podcast is going to have the listenership of traditional NPR-style radio or even the thousands of listeners of Dawn and Drew—but they all started somewhere.

How do you start a popular podcast ? The same way you start a successful radio show, blog, or even a magazine: with compelling content. But even that misses the point—all podcasts, even Adam Curry’s, started as hobbies. It’s fun to podcast, period.

This weekend I was interviewed for a new podcast called the Teen Tech Buzz, produced by a couple of 13-year-olds from New York City. They produced a trailer with GarageBand and quickly set up their accompanying blog and RSS feed very easily. Will they become the next Dawn and Drew? Who knows, but they’re having fun, and that’s all that really matters.

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