There’s an interesting paper called The Politics of Podcasting by Jonathan Sterne, Jeremy Morris, Michael Brendan Baker and Ariana Moscote Freire over at the new issue of the Fibreculture Journal.
It’s basically a thorough history of podcasting (including the coining of the word) and a look at it in relation to what we normally consider broadcasting. The conclusion sums up what I think many have been thinking for some time:
If we free the term broadcasting from its corporate connotations and remember its longer history, then podcasting is not simply an outgrowth of blogger culture, but rather part of a much longer history of dissemination. Podcasting is not an alternative to broadcasting, but a realisation of broadcasting that ought to exist alongside and compete with other models. If broadcasting were a more generally available term, then perhaps we could begin to speak of our own broadcasts without sounding grandiose or pretentious.
Although I still agree with much of Mark Pesce’s take on the Future of Television, Stephen Fry neatly sums up the worth of the BBC in an interesting speech he gave:
You know when you visit another country and you see that it spends more money on flowers for its roundabouts than we do, and you think … coo, why don’t we do that? How pretty. How pleasing. What a difference it makes. To spend money for the public good in a way that enriches, gives pleasure, improves the quality of life, that is something. That is a real achievement. It’s only flowers in a roundabout, but how wonderful. Well, we have the equivalent of flowers in the roundabout times a million: the BBC enriches the country in ways we will only discover when it has gone and it is too late to build it up again. We actually can afford the BBC, because we can’t afford not to.
(Photo: Povoa_de_Varzim on Flickr)