In a recent blog post that created quite a stir among the San Francisco Bay Area podcasters, Michael Tolosa commented that the scene is “incestuous” in nature, citing that most hosts of one show are guests of another, and vice-versa. While this may be true, I don’t necessarily feel that this community is incestuous. Abstracting the definition of incest, it would imply that the sharing of ideas between shows is not accepted by our society’s customs. This couldn’t be farther from the case; in the specific case, the melting pot of guests from various viewpoints within the tech industry that Leo Laporte has on the TWiT podcast allows for an engaging and eye opening discussion about technology and forecasting for the future.
When we consider the evolution of podcasting from someone recording a few moments of audio for download to the full blown audio netcasts and video podcasts, it doesn’t surprise me at all that podcasting, especially in the tech-heavy Bay Area, has taken this route. It is as if podcasting has evolved in the same way the internet is used: Podcast 1.0 was a single-user system, while the current Podcast 2.0 is a more social, interactive environment that provides more information, reaches a larger audience, and, most importantly, is an open forum for discussion.
I am reminded of a time when the now-defunct Play, Inc. set up a network of online interactive shows using their Trinity broadcasting system in a box. The premise was to have live streaming shows that included audience participation (through some sort of instant messaging utility). Alex Bennett, a prominent Bay Area radio personality, signed on to this format and had a good run with it until, unfortunately, Play, Inc. closed its doors. The format of the Play TV network perhaps was a bit ahead of its time, but it demonstrated the social nature of broadcasting over the internet and how Netcasting should move into the global conversation.
I think we should be thankful that the podcasters in the Bay Area have created such an open community that shares ideas, stimulates discussion and genuinely provides entertaining content that I can shove onto my iPod.