In defense of podcasting as a medium
My friend and fellow MSDN Regional Director Scott Hanselman thinks "podcasting = verbal incontinence". What he's describing is his experience of listening to the podcasts that are avaliable now, and he has a point. The stuff that people are publishing is sometimes hard to listen to. It's done mostly by bloggers now, and people who have techie commentary, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but that's what we have today.
I want to encourage you all to think about podcasting as a publishing process or a new form of media. When the first video signals were sent across the air and there was no real broadcasting process yet, the content was rough. But the media itself had been established and it was just a matter of time until it was perfected.
From the non-techie perspective, podcasting is about pushing content. It's more than that, however. It's about pushing only the stuff that the customer wants, and filtering out the unwanted stuff. In the age of information overload, that is a breath of fresh air.
Blogging works for the same reason. I subscribe to that which I'm interested.
Now use your imaginiation. I belive that in a very short time, you'll be able to log onto cnn.com, msnbc.com, or any news content provider, provide a list of keywords or topics that you're interested in, which can be very very specific, and let a program like iPodder fill your mp3 player with the news that's relevant to you. Every day.
One of the things I love about blogging is that people can publish to a small crowd effectively. Small in numbers, but large geographically. So, all sorts of really niche shows will pop up, much like magazines. Not for the purpose of reading slides or conveying complex technical info, like Scott says, but for the purpose of creating community and keeping people plugged in and informed about the things they care about.
I see podcasting being used by a new breed of journalists who specialize in not just a topic but a particular story. Better than sending journalists all over the world to cover this and that, immerse them in a story and have them report on it daily, hourly, or what have you. Podcasting gives them a direct connection (effectively) to the people who want the information.
So, while I agree that it's early and the medium doesn't work well for reading code, or trying to convey ideas that are better suited to print, I think that podcasting as a media has just been born, and it (or something that smells like it) will someday soon perhaps be the foundation on which audio and video media, and perhaps even software, will be distributed.