New Scientist: Twice a week, Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson co-host an internet radio talk show. No big deal. What is a big deal is that Holtz lives in California while Hobson lives in the Netherlands. And neither has access to a radio studio. Yet with a couple of PCs, a broadband connection and a fashionable piece of free software, they can bridge the Atlantic and broadcast to the world.
This is a nice intro to a great feature article in the 16 April edition of New Scientist magazine about podcasting and Skype.
No, in spite of the intro, it’s not about For Immediate Release, the bi-weekly podcast that Shel and I do – we’re used an an example – but about the catalyzing effect the Skype internet phone service is having on what anyone can do with a bit of imagination, a PC, microphone, a broadband connection, some recording software and a friend or colleague on the other end of an internet phone call:
[…] The sound quality is excellent and the software also allows callers to exchange files and play music while they are talking. Radio buffs are now exploiting the new technology to become both interviewer and DJ on a shoestring budget. In doing so, they may be starting a broadcasting revolution, one that democtratizes the industry and makes the amateur broadcaster king.
While I wouldn’t describe Shel and I as ‘radio buffs,’ the article’s example of our podcast show – and I do like New Scientist’s calling it an ‘internet radio talk show’ – does perfectly highlight how the combination of inexpensive and easily-usable technology (the computer, the network and the phone software) makes it all possible. Celeste Biever, the journalist, interviewed Shel and quotes him in the article:
"We knew if we were going to pull off a show that sounds good we couldn’t use a telephone – the sound quality is terrible and we couldn’t afford it," explains Holtz. "But Skype sounds like a CD."
Nice one, Shel!
The article – entitled "Software killed the radio star" – includes an easy-to-understand technical overview of how Skype works for podcast recording, with commentary on how Skype pioneers Stuart Henshall and Bill Campbell use the software. Stuart and Bill write the Skype Journal blog – a great place for hot news and very useful tips and tricks about Skype and how to make the most of it, including using it for podcasting.
If you’re a New Scientist subscriber, you can read the article online.
Many thanks to FIR listener Richard Byrom for the heads up about the article.