You know podcasting has now definitely entered the mainstream when two politicians – one a Prime Minister no less, and both leaders of their parties and members of the government – use the medium in conjunction with two national newspapers to convey particular messages to voters in the UK.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Blair was interviewed by The Sun newspaper in that paper’s first podcast. He uses the medium to talk about cleaning up anti-social behaviour in towns and cities (a hot political issue in the UK at the moment).
On Tuesday, new Conservative Party leader David Cameron became the first UK political party leader to record a podcast by using The Daily Telegraph‘s regular podcast service (which the paper launched in November) to speak about broader political issues and attacked Blair’s anti-social behaviour plans. Unlike Blair’s podcast, Cameron’s was not an interview – he simply talked during a seven-minute segment in conversational style.
Initial impressions – Blair’s interview doesn’t sound that different to the type of scripted interview you’d hear on the radio. In contrast, Cameron’s delivery sounded spontaneous and informal.
A very interesting development in communication in UK politics.
Shel and I will be talking about these podcasts from the communication perspective in today’s edition of For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report podcast, which we’ll be recording this evening Amsterdam time.
[Update] In a comment to this post, Niall Cook points out that the first leader of a UK political party to do a podcast was, in fact, Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats. Kennedy did six podcasts in April and May 2005 – that’s eight months ago – during the UK general election campaign.
So much for journalistic fact-checking – the Telegraph says quite clearly in its podcast that Cameron is the first party leader to do a podcast. Clearly not so.