Wednesday 7 May 2014

New media for beer: Podcast

You may have noticed that I am no longer a prolific blogger. This doesn't mean I have ceased to be interested in beer. Nor does it mean I am not reading other blogs. The world of beer still fascinates me, you will be pleased to learn.

On the whole, we beer bloggers write for other beer bloggers. It takes time and effort to produce blogs. It also takes time and effort to fire up a browser and read blog posts. 

The modest effort required to look up and read blog posts I believe limits our audience. I believe a wider audience is available for us beyond blogging. We have plenty of insight and we can express ourselves pretty well, but on the whole we write for each other. If only our blogging efforts had some other means of delivery, I believe we could reach a wider audience. 

A common gripe amongst us beer people is that newspapers, television and radio give beer little coverage. If they do, it’s often negative, such as beer being associated with problematic town centre binge drinking. We know that craft beer is booming and that interest in good beer has probably never been greater. But a mainstream media paucity of beer coverage lets us down.

I'm certainly not the first person to think of it, but I think we need a podcast. A podcast, as a more passive medium, can reacher a wider number of people than blogs. A podcast, in mimicking radio, can go some way to filling the beer void in national broadcast media. It's win-win. But it will have to be a joint effort.

I've looked up existing beer podcasts and found them somewhat underwhelming. Opening bottles and chatting is something we all enjoy, but listening to other people do it isn't a whole load of fun. A podcast needs a more journalistic attitude.

As a dedicated Radio 4 listener the a good format was obvious: a "From Our Own Correspondent" for beer is exactly what we need. I've been doing a lot of research into all the magical things that are needed to make podcasts work: HTML, PHP, RSS and the like*. 

So here it is. 

The website isn't finished and I've yet to set up the RSS integration with iTunes, however the first episode is nearly ready. So far I have two features for the first episode: Des De Moor on German monastic brewing and me interviewing Dave "Hairy Biker" Myers. Because I like odd numbers (especially primes) I would like a third feature for the opening episode. This is where YOU step in and shout "I'll do something!" 

Have a look at your blog archive and dig something out. A piece of a thousand or so words should do it. You can find tips and instructions here on how to record and submit a piece. But please contact me on my new email address before hitting the record button.

Let's get this thing launched!

p.s. you can hear a preview of Des's piece here. Des has set the tone perfectly: if the idea of submitting something appeals to you, pay attention to Des's pace and diction - they're just right. 

p.p.s. follow me on my new Beerlines Twitter account.

* I'm already experienced in audio production – my hesitant musical offerings can be found hereIn a previous life I was in a band that actually recorded albums that people paid money for (well, not many people as it happened).