Podcasts replacing Radio?

Was listening to another Daily Source Code by Adam Curry today, it was an older show from a few days ago. I seem to have a love/hate relation to his show, on some days its really cool, and other days I'm tempted to hit un-subscribe.

This is partly because of the premise of Podcasts in general that I hear, and partly from the problems I see in Podcasting. If you haven't listened to the Daily Source Code, its fairly good. It's part informative (usually techie), part random mumbling about what happened to his shoulder today, and occasionally he plays some music.

One of the mantras I hear a lot, especially on this show, is how Podcasts are retaliation to the control and limits of the FCC. If Podcasts are going to challenge radio seriously, they need to effectively replace what so many people enjoy right now. The radio I'm referring to is full of music. Podcasts for the most part are full of talking.

Adam is well aware of this problem, and has helped (I'm not sure of the level of involvement) launched the podsafe music network. This is very very cool, and I look forward to when I'll be able to get Podcasts that are 95% music, 3% ads (gotta have some way to fund the bandwidth), and 2% DJ's telling you what you just heard (Even though it'll be in the podcast shownotes).

I wonder what he's doing to bring the major labels on board, and even the larger indie labels as they've already locked up a bunch of great talent that needs more exposure that radio just isn't providing. The PMN is a great first step, and I can see its definitely aimed at getting artists interested in putting their stuff on it for more play.

In the end, I'm not even sure how much longer a potential market of significant size exists for Podcasts. The known market is people driving somewhere, typically to work (when I listen). The vast majority of Podcasts aren't too hot on quality, typically have a poor script (if any), and don't play any music that interests me. With the increasing subscriptions to XM and Sirius (both free of the FCC), and the coming of digital radio, Podcasts have quite a bit of competition for listeners.

While some people love hearing others talk or mashups (I'll admit there's some cool ones), will it be enough to reach the 100 million listener march?

Ben Bangert
Ben Bangert
Software Contriver

Code. Homebrew. Hike. Rollerblade.