September 7, 2005


Politicos embrace podcasting (Cynthia H. Cho, September 7, 2005, LA Times)

It makes perfect sense that politicians and pundits are embracing the new medium, in which audio files are downloaded from the Internet to an iPod, MP3 player or similar device. Podcasting, many politicians say, gives them direct access to their constituents and allows them to talk to voters without a "media filter." It also allows them to reach an audience that otherwise would not have the time or inclination to sit at a computer for the reports — particularly technology-savvy young voters, a key demographic in nearly all elections."So many people are accustomed to written information that you really have to have a few more bells and whistles in this day and age," says former Rep. Chris Bell, who is running for governor of Texas as a Democrat. Since April, he has recorded three podcasts.

On Aug. 12, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) became the first U.S. senator to offer a podcast downloadable from his Senate website ( In it, he read aloud his Washington Report, a biweekly wrap-up of Senate issues, and talked about Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. A day later, the White House posted all of President Bush's radio addresses since January as podcasts (at

Do y'all listen to podcasts yet? The Other Brother is contemplating making at least one post a day from here available as a podcast.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2005 12:02 AM

Personally I prefer to believe that I'm communicating with little gremlins who live my computer.

Gremlins with voices? I dunno about that. Might be a little too spooky.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 7, 2005 10:55 AM

No. I can't imagine ever doing so.

  • The bandwidth is too low – I read much faster than any existing human talks.
  • It's much harder to skip around and re-read key bits of the excerpt / post.
  • Cutting and pasting for making a comment is a bit more difficult as well.
  • I can't listen while I drive, as I have no "feel" for driving and have to do it fully conscious, not that I drive more than about 5 minutes a day on average.
  • My other activities take far too much concentration to spare.

I suppose other people might like them. After all, people (even some of the regulars here) avidly watch unrelated adult humans playing meaningless physical games, another activity for which the attraction is inexplicable to me.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 7, 2005 10:58 AM

This means that the methods for issuing subliminal marching orders has been perfected. Brings a new meaning to the phrase "Pod People".

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 7, 2005 12:09 PM

I haven't pod casted yet, but I'd be more than happy to do so for my blog. It may be more of an economic tool, given that I have a radio show.

I encourage you to go forward with it. I hope to have daily pod casts of about a minute or so.

BTW, last week's show is now available off of my site.

Posted by: Bruno at September 7, 2005 12:25 PM

Harry Shearer's Le Show is a great way to pass one direction of the daily commute.

And if I can find This American Life as a podcast, it will do the same for the return trip.

Posted by: at September 7, 2005 12:28 PM

No. I figure an Ipod purchase is about 5 years away based on the following timeline:

Purchased our first microwave two years ago.

Signed our first cell phone contract a month ago: haven't turned mine on yet.

No cable TV yet, so no TIVO as well.

My rolling wonder of German technology has no way to connect properly to an Ipod and the car is where I do all of my aural entertainment and learning.

Besides, hearing your voice may detract from the mystique - kind of like when you see the picture of a radio personality for the first time.

Posted by: Rick T. at September 7, 2005 12:33 PM

Rick: you can get little devices like this that allow iPods to broadcast over an unused FM channel, so you can easily listen in the car.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 7, 2005 4:02 PM

"Besides, hearing your voice may detract from the mystique - kind of like when you see the picture of a radio personality for the first time."

Or when your favorite supermodel speaks and you realize it's actually possible to spoil that illusion.

Then again, if this catches on, a lot of writers will suffer the fate of silent film stars, too,and it'll just be another place where the pretty (voices) take over, just like in TV news.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 7, 2005 5:25 PM


I have heard of this. Isn't the downside significantly reduced sound quality?

Posted by: Rick T. at September 7, 2005 5:51 PM

Quickly checking reviews online (there are lots at the Apple Store), most think it works pretty well. For spoken word stuff over a standard car stereo, I doubt if you'd hear much difference.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 7, 2005 6:25 PM


I've been using an FM transmitter to listen to podcasts and audio books in the car and the sound quality is fine. Even music isn't bad, though I'm definitely not an audiophile. I tried a cassette adapter, but couldn't get adequate volume. Many newer car stereos even have an auxiliary jack that you can plug directly into and get even better quality. Also saw a stat today that 35% of new car models will have an iPod-ready option.

Posted by: The Other Brother at September 7, 2005 7:53 PM

Somehow, I don't think pod-casting would be an improvement.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2005 11:28 PM

FM transmitters and cassette adapters are not very good if you really like music. (I suppose voice would be okay).

Before the summer I installed a digital Pioneer adapter for my 7 year old, once upon a time top of the line Pioneer P1R head unit. The sound quality is fantastic and it charges the iPod. I even made a dock out of maple that allows me to slip the iPod into the dashboard with one hand like a cassette. No wires hanging around. The song and artist names show up on the stereo display. Really cool.

Haven't tried podcasts yet, but I sure like listening to audiobooks on an iPod. Been enjoying Len Deighton's excellent Berlin, Mexico & London trio of books recently.

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 8, 2005 12:38 AM