Mick Stanic and Cameron Reilly, the hosts of the G'day World podcast, posted a interview they did with me in March. I wanted to return the favor and put up some of an interview I did over the phone one Monday afternoon in February about their podcast and their then new venture, The Podcast Network.
I interviewed them because I working on a potential cover story on the different digital technologies that are reshaping "the world of radio," as I put it in the pitch I submitted to my editors in January entitled "The Future of Radio." Download file
But, as it happens, Wired magazine did an excellent cover issue first, called the End of Radio that packaged together a series of articles. It was a direct hit. I just sat in my office for a few minutes after getting the magazine, staring at the cover.
I had all this reporting. Was there a way to salvage it? I had to switch gears. So instead, we focused the story less on the technology and more on how these innovations were going to affect the radio industry with a story called the New Radio Revolution.
But as for the reporting I had done with Mick and Cameron, which I had planned to use as a rich example of what was happening with podcasting...that pretty much didn't fit into the new angle or the tight space I had for the new story. So here's some of that conversation:
Q: How do you two know each other?
Cameron: We met through a mutual friend who works at Microsoft, Frank Arrigo, who is an interviewee in one of our shows. Mick is in Sydney, and I am in Melbourne. Frank said you should get in touch have a chat. Over the course of the next few months, we would meet and then started talking on Skype once a week.
Q: How did you get interested in podcasting?
Cameron: The podcasts started off as a bit of a joke. We were on Skype and I was flicking through my Skype contact list and we would crank call some of our friends, ring them at midnight. Initially, we thought no one was going to listen to us ramble on. We thought that at best a couple of friends on this side of the world would listen to it.
Initially, there were a lot of American podcasts shows and we said here's a good opportunity to talk to Australians and other Americans. We got Buzz (Bruggeman)on and he acted as a connector. Then Doc Searls was on and the interview list grew and grew and it made sense to expand it.
Q: So what does the opportunity of podcasting represent for you?
Mick: There is something out there that's grabbing people's attention. You learn very quickly that no one wants to watch TV ads, people want content that's relevant to them, the thing about Tivo is it's about content I have chosen, rather than sit there and be forced to watch what's on TV.
Cameron: We have a messianic complex, we see it as our personal destiny to save ourselves and others from reality TV and having shows pushed down our throats. We're not all the great unwashed dumb masses. There are a lot of people who want to listen to intelligent content. We're not getting it from radio, or tv or hollywood films. There is a big vaccum out there that can be filled with intelligent content, we think we can put together a framework that can help people.
Q: Cameron said you had been playing around with audio online. For how long?
Mick: It really was early in the second quarter of last year. It was an interesting step, we have each been blogging for a while, me for for about 2 years. We had been playing with blogs and using them to see how they are benefiting people to communicate with each other, obviously looking at it from the busienss sense. I had seen what Eric Rice was doing with Audioblog. It was a cool little tool and interesting from a technical perspective. It was the obvious next jump from text to voice.
Cameron: The interesting thing is we can produce and distribute shows cost effectively, we can produce for niche markets really cheaply.
Q: So tell me about The Podcast Network.
Cameron: Mick and I both quit our jobs to dedicate ourselves to The Podcast Network. Producing a podcast is relatively easy, there were few glitches that we weren't able to figure out within 12 hours. The big challenge happened when we hit several thousand downloads, it was non trivial to find someone to host us. We we wanted to come up with a platform so that people didn't have to worry about the hosting and bandwith and post production.
We're building an ad and distribution model as well, we want to make the backend for the podcasters If you look at the niche marketing magazines out there, the more niche you get, the more value there is to advertising So it's sort of like "Podcasting, the magazine for your ears". It's easier to sell advertising as the content becomes more niche. And, at some point, the more niche that the content becomes the more likelihood that people will be using to pay for content. There is no point, for instance, in making people pay for generic sports channel, but there might be something to be done on the Yankees.
The other good thing is the FCC can't touch us.