Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On Podcasts, Vodcasts and Radio

For some time at Radio Five Live the BBC has been exploring and crossing the boundaries between online and on air broadcasting. The announcers and journalists announce with pride that Radio Five can be heard on 909 and 693AM, on digital tv, online and on Digital radio. Webcam views of the studios are often available and the Five Live Blogs have become an integral part of much of the station's output, many transmitted programmes are available as podcasts. Such is their enthusiasm for exploring our brave new digital world that they devote an hour of radio time each week to "covering the news as it's seen by bloggers, podcasts and citizen media". Strangely this programme is broadcast at 2AM on Tuesday mornings but digitally aware listeners can catch up via podcasts or via the programme web site.

I listen to Radio Five Live at various times during the week in the car, in bed and often while I am online. One of my favourite programmes is the Simon Mayo afternoon show where I enjoy the book and tv reviews. However the jewel in the crown of this programme is without a doubt the weekly film reviews presented jointly by Mayo and Dr Mark Kermode. I cannot always hear these reviews live and often listen to the podcast.

I was interested to notice that this week the film review has been released on line as a video podcast "radio with pictures". We can see the radio broadcasters at work. Its strange, radio as televison in a quick time movie on my laptop.

Now the original film reviews were entertaining, informative and thought provoking, Kermode and Mayo talk with interest about films sometimes supporting their discussion with soundtracks from the chosen films. No need for pictures, no need for moving images. Radio at it's best.

The video podcast contains additional information, the spoken words are the same (I think) but are now supported by still images of the movie posters and video clips from the films.

I've tried "watching" the vodcast with my eyes closed; it works.
I've watched the vodcast with my eyes open; it works.

I'm not sure which is best. Should I be comparing them?

There are things to think about here!
Do we need to see moving images of a radio programme?
Would all radio programmes benefit from the vodcast treatment.
Should radio programmes be vodcast?

Is this a case of we have a technology and we must use it?

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