January 9, 2007#

Podcasts – NYT on the front row, Spain still trying to translate the word

Here’s some information about podcasts which I’d like to share. Why? To be honest, mainly because NYT podcasts are so f***in’ good but also because Spain seems to be nearly podcast free.

How It Started

I consider myself a regular podcast listeners since about a year or so, having started listening to German news show podcasts trying to somehow keep myself busy on the sheer endless busride from my appartment to the university campus.

I found this to be a pretty goot alternative to radio, as it gives you a lot more freedom in choosing what you want to listen to, though unfortunately not beeing as easy to use when new to the subject.

Hardware & Applications

I started with an iPod Shuffle which I had got for free, soon noticed that Apple doesn’t want me to listen to Podcast on such a cheap device and thus forced to use some of those nice but not at all intuitive and stable programs like Juice or Doppler. Let’s just say the chain of Juice downloading the podcasts, Windows Media Player keeping track of new shows and uploading them to an Apple iPod plus iPod Shuffle Library Updater didn’t work as very reliably. All this has been quite a mess. So finally facing my stay abroad in Spain and an even longer bus ride to the university campus I bought myself an iPod Nano 2G and know what? It works like a smooth. iTunes and my new iPod make a perfect team and now it really isn’t any more than just plugging your iPod into your computer before breakfast and plugging it off afterwards and you’ll have all new episodes of you favorite show on this shiny little thing.

Where’s the Podcasts?

So now I’m set to listen to hundreds of awesome shows on my iPod every day on this one hour metro ride? No! Unfortunately not! But why? Because there simply are no podcasts, at least not in Spain.

Well, I must admit that’s been a little bit of an exageration, nevertheless Spain stills seems to be quite busy finding a translation of the word into their own language before even thinking about using the word. That is to say, none of the big newspapers seem to be offering podcasts, neither the small ones. TV stations either. You’d be happy to find their program schedule on their websites not to speak about additional features like podcasts, RSS or media stuff. Well, at least there’s ads! ;-) So what remains is low quality recordings of Spanish radio shows, tremendously long in duration, huge in size and tiny in content, as long as you aren’t taking bad jokes and "second hand" music for content (allthough the latter two things might be subject to my personal likes and dislikes). Anyway, not considering the non-functional podcast links on www.elmundo.es, a big spanish newspaper, this is all you’ll get, so check it out yourself at:

Now talking about Germany, I’d be happy to say that they are doing a better job, but they’re not! It’s exactly the same style. Simple recordings of radio and TV news broadcasts which are published on the according websites as so called podcasts. At least there’s more than in Spain, so, you’ll have a bit more of a choice and therefore might find some shows being somewhat above average, others somwhat below. Try it youself at the following site:

There’s even one german site with quite good podcasts:

New York Times Podcasts

So finally where’s the good podcasts? Easy question, easy answer: Go to the New York Times web site at www.nyt.com. That’s what podcasts should be like and the reason for this blog entry. They are really PRODUCING podcasts and obviously spending money on this matter. They’re not just publishing recordings of interviews or read-alouds of some of their columns, allthough one of the best podcasts on their site is just this. David Pogue, a NYT tech clumnist reading aloud his weekly published article. But he’s as good a reader as he is a writer and that he is for sure … again subject to my personal likes! The podcast which is named after it’s author is about the latest gadgets on the tech market whose features are presented and explained but also judged, quite often with a good portion of humour, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes somwhat more hidden. In short, excatly the style I like. ;-) Just give it a try:

And make sure you don’t miss all the other podcasts on the NYT web site, especially:

So finally, feel free to share your favorite podcasts in the comments to this blog entry.

By the way, even in Germany and Spain, there are a few podcasts which are quite okay, but mainly this is small unknown podcasts which are being published on a far less regular schedule (if any) and aren’t really suitable for your daily metro or bus ride. That’s why I didn’t lose any word about those in the text above.