Podcasts Are Coming Of Age

Podcasting has been around for a long time now, by internet standards. Anything that lasts more than a few months is long-lived by internet standards, but you know what I mean. Some things have their blaze of glory and disappear, though they leave a kind of legacy, like MySpace. Some things fire into the stratosphere incredibly briefly, incredibly brightly, and then are forgotten forever, like Chocolate Rain or the Star Wars Kid. They live on in infamy, in memory, but that’s about it. So it’s hard for anything, be it a person or an idea, to stick around for any length of time. Of course, podcasting isn’t really like a specific website or internet meme, but it is something that was either going to fly or sink.

With video-casting on YouTube and a website or three in every home, I did wonder back in the day (about 2008) if podcasting would really generate that desired state of normalcy, or if it would be something a geeky few would love briefly, before moving on. Here we are in 2011 and podcasting is unbiquitous. I co-host one myself, all about thrillers and other genre fiction. I listen to loads of them, especially fiction podcasts like Escape Pod and Podcastle. I’m still dancing with joy because my favourite podcast of all, Pseudopod, bought one of my stories recently. I can’t wait for that to come through.

But you know that podcasting is becoming truly accepted when it starts to win awards. Not podcasting awards, obviously, but other awards that have been around for ages and have now started recognising podcasts. I noticed this when I was going through the recently released Ditmar Awards ballot. Here’s the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium nominations list:

* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, edited by Alisa Krasnostein et al.
* Bad Film Diaries podcast, Grant Watson
* Galactic Suburbia podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex Pierce
* Terra Incognita podcast, Keith Stevenson
* The Coode Street podcast, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
* The Writer and the Critic podcast, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Out of six listed nominations, five are podcasts. Among them are podcasts that I listen to regularly and one of them got my vote. The sixth one is a review website.

Here’s the same category last year:

Best Fan Publication

* Interstellar Ramjet Scoop, edited by Bill Wright

* A Writer Goes on a Journey (awritergoesonajourney.com), edited by Nyssa Pascoe et al

* ASif! (asif.dreamhosters.com), edited by Alisa Krasnostein, Gene Melzack et al

* Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet (bullsheet.sf.org.au), edited by Edwina Harvey and Ted Scribner

* Steam Engine Time, edited by Bruce Gillespie and Janine Stinson

No podcasts.

In the 2010 Hugo Awards, the Best Fanzine award went to StarShipSofa edited by Tony C. Smith. A podcast. It won a Hugo! It is brilliant, but even so it’s a great step in the acceptance of podcasting.

And this is just the genre podcasts that I’m familiar with. I’m sure there are thousands more out there covering all kinds of subjects. It seems that the audio magazine has really come of age. Even radio stations now are offering their shows as podcasts to appeal to people that might not be able to listen at a certain time, or may have missed a show. More power to the podcast, I say, and not just because I’m involved with one. Podcasting is a great example of utilising the power of the internet for good, producing quality, interesting content. Long may it continue.


This is a reprint from Alan Baxter‘s The Word.