The shifting control of information and entertainment

Let me add my voice to those of Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls, Dave Winer (the father of RSS), Adam Curry (former MTV jock) and others who are touting podcasting as a major new media development. Curry and Winer are pioneering the concept, which is essentially a radio show that’s included in an RSS feed for downloading (it can be automatic) to your hard drive and then loaded into an iPod for listening whenever and wherever. Why is this so important? Because it adds “where” to the Postmodern mantra of “I want what I want when I want it” and opens the door for entirely new business models.

Add to this the pending departure from radio of Howard Stern and the cloud of doom over terrestrial radio becomes evident.

Finally, in the all-you-can-do-is-shake-your-head department, the Parents Television Council (PTC) is asking the FCC to fine NBC for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s “shit” during a live interview at the end of last weekend’s NASCAR race. The idea that the airwaves are public and therefore require governmental manipulation is what’s really been under attack for the past couple of decades. Cable TV, the Internet, Satellite TV, Satellite Radio, and now podcasting are all efforts by free people to get out from under the thumb of those who have the power to decide what we can watch and listen to.

2004 will be recognized, I believe, as a watershed year in this conflict. Janet Jackson’s boob, Howard Stern’s fine and now Junior’s excited utterance are highlighting the absurdity of the government’s command and control over speech and expression. Even FCC Chairman Michael Powell has hinted that the FCC may one day be unnecessary. When that happens, the manipulators of our culture will find themselves talking only to and with themselves.

I want what I want when and WHERE I want it.


  1. The next step is to skip the whole download and iPodder step and get to wireless broadband iPods so I can just stream the audio/video directly from the net to my iPod.

    I mean who really wants to keep track of all these 5–100 Mb files we are currently downloading to our PCs so we can then turn around and transfer to a portable device?

  2. Kinda have to agree with Rod, really.

    Seeing the potential of podcasting as a replacement for broadcasting is a mistake.

    I’m liking Doc Searl’s new phrase better, podblogging.

    Overall, though, I agree: the impetus is a good thing.

  3. Rod K’s comment really got me thinking and writing so I blogged a response since it would be too long to post here.

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