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A New Kind of Podcast

NPR is doing something neat: NPR’s Most E-Mail’ed Podcast.

Here’s the idea – people can e-mail other people links to stories from the NPR website. My guess is they mostly hear the story on the radio, then go online to let their friends know about an important or interesting story.

This is the same as Yahoo!’s Most Popular E-mail feed in the way it works (I also find that to be the best source of news stories that matter). But here’s where it diverges – in the News, Yahoo! just passes that data on to me, as an RSS feed. But with NPR’s strategy, they assemble an audio podcast (probably automated) and each day they load the compilation into their RSS feed. It’s like listening to the best of NPR every day without leaving the radio on all day (and without the DoS Attacks, errr…. pledge drives). I have to admit, some of the stories on NPR annoy me, and I haven’t heard any like that yet on the Podcast.

That part is evolutionary – it’s just one meta layer removed from from the RSS feed Yahoo! offers.

But here’s where it’s different, and perhaps revolutionary: NPR is the content producer, not just an agregator like Yahoo! is with news wire stories. NPR is in the position of offering value by assembling shows, being their own editor, their own producer. But in this model, the listeners are the editors and producers, and they don’t even know it. And so far, from what I’ve heard, they’re doing a better job.

I expect this is a story we’ll hear repeated over and over with slightly different details as Media becomes redefined on the Internet.