One is Silver and the other Gold

Podcasts are very similar to radio, in my opinion. We’ve listened to podcasts in class that were created solely for the sake of podcasts and also podcasts that are actually clips from radio segments and I really haven’t noticed that significant of a difference between the two. However, the author of “Three ways Podcasts and radio aren’t Actually Quite the Same” disagrees.

Adam Ragusea cites the following as key differences between the two: podcasts have no time constraints, they don’t have to be as concerned with pleasing such a wide and diverse audience, and they are more directly targeted in the sense that everyone who clicks on that podcast wants to listen to that podcast. By these arguments, it’s clear to see that the writer is very pro-podcast. Although, he does concede that he agrees with the popular argument that podcasts and radios are very similar. He is only arguing for the knit-picky 10% of his mind that disagrees.

In my critique, I will be just as knit-picky in arguing the pro-radio side. One huge advantage that radio has over podcasts in terms of authenticity is that radio is usually live, Radio listeners are able to call in directly to hosts when they challenge them to games or prize contests or to comment on whatever the radio host is discussing. Podcasts don’t have this feature. There’s also a feeling associated with live radio, the same feeling that is associated with live television or the feeling that comes along with seeing a live play as opposed to watching a movie on a screen. It’s the same reason why Saturday Night Live is such a successful and popular show.  It’s the thought that what one is listening to or watching is going on in real time. It is a phenomenon that just adds to the quality of what one is experiencing. Live broadcasting allows viewers to hear unedited versions of what previously recorded broadcasts do not show.

Even for some radio broadcasts that were previously recorded can give a similar feel because they are not rehearsed and are more naturally occurring conversations than what are one experiences in a podcast. Podcasts can be scripted and are more organized. Similarly to the point I discussed in last week’s blog post about Oral History, content becomes much more relatable when you hear it from a primary source. In terms of history, it can really never be live, so a personal narrative or document is really the next best thing. However, podcasts have the opportunity to be live. The podcast we listened to in class about the boy who collected the Superman comic books was interesting in the story format through which it was presented, but it may have been more engaging if we were able to hear naturally occurring discussions as they went along throughout the actual events as opposed to the summary afterwards. Hearing something from the past gives a very similar feel as hearing something live as long as it ws recorded in real time and unedited. For example, watching a repeat of Saturday Night Live doesn’t mean that you won’t still see the bloopers or the actors breaking, which obviously wouldn’t happen in a scripted program.

While podcasts and live radio might be different in some ways, they are similar in many. Audio entertainment overall is used for the same purposes and recorded in similar ways. So, there may have been minute differences pointed out by both the author of this article and myself, the differences are not so overwhelming that it changes the experience of listening all that drastically. Podcasts are indeed more modern but are clearly modeled after the way radio broadcasts work, and radio broadcasts have evolved to keep up with the competition of broadcasts. Both are equally entertaining generally and offer similar listening experiences, their differences simply provide ulterior options based on minor listening preferences.

One is Silver and the other Gold

One thought on “One is Silver and the other Gold

  1. msicherer says:

    While I agree that the differences between podcasts and radio shows are minute, I do not believe they are as insignificant as you are making them out to be. These minute differences make themselves significant in the much larger impact they have as a whole. The three points Ragusea brings up (about podcasts being not limited by time, being more personal, and being something that listeners “opt in” to) come together to make a much more significant difference. It is because of this much more personal attribute of podcasts that they can really dive deeply into any given subject, unlike radio shows. I personally believe that the differences between the two make it almost unfair to compare them. In the end, it is just a choice of preference really.


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