Monday, March 06, 2006

What Makes Podcasts Work Part 2

I don't have TiVo, which means I need to watch TV when it's actually on. That's not such a bad thing since, frankly, I don't watch nearly as much TV as I did before kids.

But I do make time for Battlestar Galactica. Before you start screaming "GEEK!" watch the show. It is one of the best shows on TV.

So, why talk about it in a discussion about podcasts? Because it also happens to employ a great use of podcasting. Executive Producer Ron D. Moore does a podcast that accompanies every show, something that is basically a DVD commentary released right along with the first broadcast. The best part of it, for me, is its low production value.

While the show is slick and well done, just as a TV show should be, the podcast is done in Moore's home office on an echoey microphone. You can hear the gardeners running leaf blowers, his kids running around downstairs, the dogs barking, the cars driving by and the phone ringing. You can even hear when he lights a cigarette or clinks ice in his drink glass.

This apparently annoys some of the folks who write in the Battlestar Galactica forums, which Moore apparently reads. During a recent podcast Moore told his audience to "stop whining" and even had his wife walk in at one point and joke about tying muzzling the dogs and tying up the kids.

In fact, this past week his wife played a more central role, spending the entire podcast in the room with him adding her own commentary. She also gave a physical description of his home office.

Why does it work? Because it's like I'm sitting with the guy who's in charge in a very relaxed, personal setting. If this were a slick podcast with a musical opening and high production it would lose something. It's the lack of anything that makes it what it is. Through it I feel a personal connection to someone I'd probably never meet in real life.

Compare this to one done by Lisa Loeb to accompany her show #1 Single. It's interesting and all, but it's way too slick. Instead of feeling like I'm getting to know her a little better, I feel like she's just promoting her show, which is, ironically enough, a reality show.

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