I’ve been meaning to wax lyrical about podcasts for a while now; cos if there is any ‘great’ discovery that we’ve made over the last two years podcasts might be it.
Because they work. And what they deliver on a local, niche level is fascinating. Because they make me, Mark and Nick local, niche radio stations.
Again, starter packs and DIY kits. But I give each of my boys the same digital voice recorder that I’ve got – only it’s one of those that snaps open to reveal a USB connection. Means you can download a 30-minute sound clip straight onto your lap-top; from there – albeit with the help, for now, of Neil – it transforms itself into an MP3 formatted thing and, bingo, we’ve got a half-hour radio show.
And that digital voice recorder costs £100. And makes me, once a fortnight, into a radio station.
And because we work this local, football beat we can sit in a quiet country pub somewhere and interview, I don’t know, Mick Mills and Johnny Wark about their memories of the 1978 FA Cup final; I can ask Dion Dublin if he’d mind getting his saxophone out and ‘jam’ with City youngster Matty Halliday… and before he hangs up his boots, let’s do a 30-minute radio show with Dion…
I use one of those lap-top effect mike things that cost me £9.99; and the effect is very simple… it puts the punters on the next door table in that country pub; all they are doing is ‘ear-wigging’ a conversation between a football writer and two revered ex-pros – a conversation that minus a local journalist’s contacts book they would never be able to have.
But now they can listen too…
But if that’s what you have in mind; that you’re setting your stall out to simply allow your ‘listener’ to pull up a chair at the next table, there is an added benefit… cos people don’t come to that table expecting to hear a pin drop; you can get away with the whole, ‘rough and ready’ feel to the recording; it’s the content that’s the king, not the quality of the recording…
Because we’re not setting ourselves up to be a professional radio station; we’re not pretending to be something we’re not. But for £100 I can be a radio station. For half an hour every fortnight.
I say all this cos last night I was out at a leaving do for one of the NCFC Press team; he’s been the man behind the mike for Canaries TV; tripod and digital camera in tow. And without covering old ground, the fact remains that ever since every football club opened the doors of their own website they became a TV station.
And if you’re MUTV or Arsenal TV, right now you’re giving everyone a run for their money. After all, everyone else can’t access ‘your’ news.
But what was interesting was the night’s thoughts on people bolting a digital TV camera onto their website and suddenly giving it the full: ‘Look at me, I’m a TV station….’ routine.
Podcasts, to my mind, you can get away with; you’re not raising the bar expectation-wise too high. TV, is another matter.
Because if you come out of a media ‘umbrella’ – that in the mix there is a professional journalist involved – then people arrive at your door with certain ‘professional’ expectations in tow. They expect a professional performance; with professional standards of presentation, of script, of lighting, of sound, of facial expression…
Otherwise, you sink back into little more than UGC; perhaps we’re back on the value trail again; that if you want to be viewed in a ‘valued’ light you have to demonstrate a quality of delivery over and above the norm.
For the TV broadcasters, it’s in their DNA. They have spent 60 years mastering their craft; their problem on this multi-media battlefield is doing the written stuff; words can sometimes fail them, just as the TV camera can all-too often fail the word-smiths.
And, to borrow badly from Mr Jarvis, if you can’t do something well yourself, link to someone who can… fill in the gaps in your armoury with the specialists who can. Don’t diminish the value of your brand by pretending to be something you’re not.
The future lies in collaborative networks; in people dove-tailing their skills and their services together in a professional package that lifts us above the norm; that gives value back; that delivers quality.
I can get away with rough and ready podcasts because of the niche content therein; I’m not about to broadcast the Last Night Of The Proms.
Likewise, I don’t see TV. I see that as an out-source deal; a content-swap; my words for someone else’s video.
Podcasts, no, they’re good. Think of the kit; think of the starter-pack. Think of the radio show with the chairman of the parish council on the ASBO teenagers; the Post Office manageress whose shop is closing; the Library van that’s not coming; passionate, niche subjects of interest only to a niche, local audience.
Last Night Of The Proms might be a no, no. A concert by the Junior School band?
£100 to be a local radio station; if only for half an hour a week. That works.