Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NPR On Demand?

Podcasting and related technologies have been called the "End of Radio." I haven't been buying; at least for the most part. Given that podcasts have to be consumed in real time, a person can consume far less audio content than is the case with inherently skimmable written blogs. As a result, I've previously argued that:
as professional broadcasters like the BBC start putting content on the air, (e.g. "In Our Time") many--probably most--people will largely devote their limited audio-listen minutes to professionally-produced broadcasts. Call this podcasting if you like, but it's really just on demand radio as you can record more crudely today with software like Replay Radio.

Conspicuously absent from such on demand radio has been NPR which, like the BBC, would seem to have many programs tailor-made for the purpose-both highly topical and less so. (I'd argue that the current state of the technology in which several manual steps are needed to sync a program, for most people programs that can be listened to a week or a month after broadcast are preferable.)

Well, it looks as if NPR may not be totally clueless after all. It's apparently decided not to renew its contract with Audible, the maker of lame, proprietary audiobooks and the like. (In all fairness, Audible was long about the only game in town.)
As we formulate a more comprehensive strategy, we chose not to renew our agreement with Audible when it recently expired. We are now developing a new strategy for making NPR content downloadable and portable. Once the plan is finalized, we will announce it publicly.

via O'Reilly Radar
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