Guido Fawkes Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About

Don’t get me wrong – he knows his political blogging alright!  I thoroughly enjoyed his speech to the “Blogging the Election” Irish Bloggers Conference in Dublin last weekend.  Guido‘s at the top of his game, with the British political establishment, the media – and now advertisers – eating out of his hand.

Opening the conference, Sunday Tribune Business Editor, Richard Delevan suggested that one possible metric for a blogger’s “impact” might be whether they attract the notice of the mainstream press.  Guido has done more than attract their notice: he frequently sets the agenda, as in the case of the cash for peerages investigation where his reporting of the story has earned him the trust of sources closest to the case.

Like Richard and others, Guido brings old-media craft to bear on the new medium of blogging.  By doing do he leaves both bloggers and “dead-tree” journalists in the starting blocks.

I’m trying to do something similar with podcasting.  (Have you noticed? 😉 )  So Guido certainly had my attention when he declared: “Podcasting is dead!”

It’s a great soundbite of course!  (Remember, Guido’s a media pro.)  And it was delivered so well that I might even have given it serious consideration – if it wasn’t for where I was sitting when I heard it.

As I listened to Guido, I was in my car, skimming down the Dock Road in Limerick on my way to work.  (It was very early in the morning!)   Due to work constraints I was unable to physically attend the conference in Dublin, but I’ve been glad of the opportunity to hear the presentations on and see the photographs tagged irishblogcon.

Guido made these comments in the context of telling us that he would shortly start a video blog.  By “podcasting”, he means “audio podcasting”, and he declared emphatically that “nobody listens to them on iPods … they all click on the screen and listen to it in front of their computer, so you might as well listen and see the video.”

Ironically, earlier in his speech, Guido had rather patronisingly given his Irish audience the benefit of his abortive experiences as an audio podcaster.  This can be summed up as: “Don’t bother trying it … I have, and it’s disastrous … It’s a lot harder than you think and that’s the reason that radio people get paid so much …”.

Oh … OK.  Thanks for the advice Guido.  Obviously video production is a lot easier then?  (And by the way, how much do radio people get paid?  Must look into that …)

To be fair, I think what Guido is trying to say is that video provides more value to the consumer – and that that in turn leads to a better Return On Investment for the producer.  But if that is true, where does it leave radio?

I don’t know how elections campaigns are debated in Britain, but talk radio shows are a crucial arena in Ireland.

As an audio producer, I would be inclined to dispute Guido’s assumption of video’s superior Return On Investment.  I suspect that that it is wrong, both on the Cost side and the Benefit side.  However, I wouldn’t get up on a podium and declare this to be a Fact.

We’re all blinkered by our own experience, and it appears that Guido simply doesn’t “get” the key advantages of “anytime, anywhere, audio-on-demand”.  I must confess that, until recently, I didn’t “get” video blogging either.  At least not until I started researching YouTube for a forthcoming feature on An Líonra Sóisialta.  ( donlionra+week05)

So is cheap, user-friendly technology putting video production into the hands of the laity?  Of course – just like blogging and audio podcasting are doing for those kinds of media.  Is video blogging a better ROI than audio podcasting?  Ask me after Christmas, when I give it a go!  Do people only listen to podcasts on their computer?  Hardly – but what do I know?  You tell me!

Explore posts in the same categories: irishblogcon, irishblogs, media, podcasting, Politics, radio, Video

13 Comments on “Guido Fawkes Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About”

  1. We need to meet in Limerick and record a blowback response to Guido Fawkes’ take on podcasting. He addressed an unwashed audience and made an effective first impression that could discourage interest among those most likely to experiment with new media in Ireland.

  2. Guido Fawkes Says:

    Fair comments. Good luck to you. But video is a superior medium. As for anytime, anywhere, well not many people listen to podcasts on their iPods – it is less than 10% I believe. So for most users it is just as easy and more interesting to watch a video.

    That is of course mere opinion. But theimpact of video is far greater than audio.

  3. I personally have found most video podcasts to be a waste of bandwidth. Having a talking head doesn’t add much, so it will depend on what added value to the ‘cast by adding video. Personally, I listen to podcasts on my iPod, so perhaps my name is “nobody” now. I also listen to podcasts on my computer, but tend to do so while my eyes and part of my brain are focused on other work on my computer, so the video doesn’t add anything.

    There probably are video casts out there that are worth the extra bandwidth, but haven’t found one yet. An occasional special feature maybe, but I tend to use YouTube to post those.

  4. I only listen regularly to one podcast, the Welsh language alternative radio station Radio Amgen, which has been going since 2001, and as a podcast since 2005. It’s a fantastic show, and I guess if the quality of the programme is high, and it is consistently podcast then there will still be room for audio.

    On the other hand I have found myself spending much more time watching videos on the web than audio. In fact I watch more S4C on the web than I do on television now. Their broadband service is excellent.

    You might also be interested to see the Welsh language video group on YouTube that I set up – Sianel Amgen Cymru (Welsh Alternative Television).

    Over 180 vids and we’ve even got an ident!

  5. […] EdgeCast Podcast. Blog. Make Your Own Media. « Guido Fawkes Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About […]

  6. Kevin Peyton Says:

    I think if you take Guido’s “podcasting is dead” comment in the context of consumption on the desktop, then there is a lot of validity in it.

    It is pretty much impossible to listen to spoken word content and do something productive at the desktop (writing, coding, etc). If that is the case, then this infers full attention from the viewer and video fits well here….

  7. I can see where Guido derives his conclusion because I know those with earbuds on public transport listen to background music more than they listen to podcasts. However, I get direct mail from others who listen to podcasts when commuting. This is a growing number of listeners as reflected in a growing number of direct mails.

    I also know podcasts are part of satellite radio feeds and set top box programming on cable television. Both of these involve subscribers who pay to hear audio content. This is an emerging market demographic, not a declining number among media consumers.

  8. cionaodh Says:

    I probably represent a different sort of demographic than any who’ve made themselves heard here.

    While by no means a Luddite, I don’t own an iPod (or other MP3 player), nor a mobile of any sort. I’ve one phone and a pre-Y2K computer.

    I enjoy an occasional “podcast” (can we call it that if one never puts it on a portable device?), but listen to it primarily at my desktop computer — if I feel the need to enjoy a ‘cast “on-the-go”, I’ll burn it to CD.

    There are very few online video sources (“vodcasts” or other streaming video) which interest me.

    So, for all these reasons, I have thus far opted to stay with a dial-up internet connexion.

    I guess we might say I’m “occasionally networked” — by choice, and seemingly among a growing minority, as the “always-on” generation marches in lock-step toward whatever the latest time-sucking gadget or trend is.

    So if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be the relaxed-looking one without earbuds or tuneful mobile — come chat me up. Just be sure your buds are out and your mobile’s switched off.


  9. Thanks all for your responses.

    I think that the vast majority of people listen to podcasts on their PCs simply because they don’t (yet) listen to that many podcasts.

    Most people initially discover podcasts (audio or video) on their PCs. However, if you find a few that you wish to subscribe to – you start to look at more convenient ways of consuming them.

    After spending hours at my PC every day I leave it with many more hours of work undone. I never listen to podcasts on my PC because I don’t have time for the distraction.

    When doing other tasks, where once I would listen to the radio, now I usually play a podcast.

    The only video podcast I watch is the only one I can find which plays on my mobile device. Rocketboom offers a feed with the shows in 3gp format which I can play on my Nokia N91 phone.

    In fact, the N91’s podcast client application is so good,  and because the device supports wifi, I download many of the podcasts straight from my home broadband to the phone itself.

    I don’t think audio podcasting is dead – but I think the PC might be.

  10. […] Guido Fawkes assertion that most people listen to podcasts on their desktop computers would appear to be supported by Uncle Seth’s Public Service Announcement song and video. We featured this last week as An Lionra Soisialta focused on podcasting. […]

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