Steve calls in from the Integrated Media Association's New Media Summit with his special guest, Stephen Hill. The talk is all about the convergence of radio (most notably public radio) and "new media" if that term even makes sense any longer. That convergence is due to digital technologies and the fact that it's now possible for nearly anyone to create broadcast-quality audio with a very small investment in equipment. Stephen reminds us that even FM radio isn't very old, having become popular in the mid 1960s, when broadcasters even supplied the receiver. (Hey...sounds like satellite today!)
Public radio in the U.S. has more than 20 million subscribers, but the public-radio insfrastructure has become a bottleneck in its own right. (Is NPR the "Clear Channel of public radio?")
Is podcasting the next step for independently produced audio? It was an important topic at the New Media Summit. The consensus is that podcasting is still in Geeksville mode, but it's real close. What business model will prevail? Stephen thinks it's bundle-and-charge aggregation.
But if there's an explosion of content, how will we sort our way through it? Will it be something like Attention.xml, or will we rely on more traditional systems like individual or group editors? An important development may be the Public Service Publisher proposal (PDF) presented at the conference. (See Dennis Haarsager's blog for more info.)
[You can also hear other editions of The Gillmor Gang.]