A Sign Clear Channel is Worried

Here's a sign that podcasts have caught the attention of Clear Channel


From Billboard's Radio Monitor, 7-11-2005: "The great thing about radio is that it's local—it's focused on local content. Sirius and podcasting can't create local content. Podcasting is a great thing. Have you listened to any of these podcasts? It is painful." --Mark Mays, President/CEO Clear Channel Communications


Coming from a company that produces quite a bit of "local" content hundreds of miles away from the actual broadcast area, this is pretty laughable. The fact that he is slagging podcasts as "painful" tells me that he is trying to build an argument against the "Indies" (to use an Apple term). I have to wonder why the CEO of Clear Channel would do this - perhaps he is worried about the potential impact podcasting could have on his company down the line?

Jungle Run Half Marathon

We did the Jungle Run Half Marathon in Los Gatos yesterday. Although this was the third year Firstwave has put on this event, it was my first time running it. Firstwave also does several other events, including one of my personal favorites, the Santa Cruz Half

The weather was a bit warm as the usual Pacific marine layer was a no-show. The temperature for the 7am start was around 65-70 degrees. The race began on time (always a good sign) with about 300-400 runners.

The first 4 miles of the course were fairly uninteresting. We wound through parts of Los Gatos and then into Campbell. At the 5 mile marker, we entered onto the Los Gatos Creek Trail and ran back towards Los Gatos, passing through Vasona. The last 3+ miles of the trail were an out-and-back, almost to the base of Lexington (I was happy we didn't have to run to the top! I've done that before and it is a hike). Most of the trail was shaded and very scenic.

Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization - The race was well put together and the course was clearly marked/staffed. Grade: A

Course - The Los Gatos Creek Trail was great; however, the first four miles, including a not-so-great run down Winchester Blvd, detracted from the overall experience. I'd highly recommend re-doing this part of the course. Grade: B-

Aid-stations - The aid stations were located as advertised. All stations had water, some had Cytomax also. One thing to work on for next year - the sight of a 30-gallon trash bag in a garbage can being filled with water from a garden hose isn't that great. How about some bottled water out there? Grade: B

Swag - The short-sleeve shirts were nicely designed, as was the finisher's medal. I've run larger races with swag wasn't as good. Grade: A

Metric: Podcasters Mailing List

Looks like the Podcasters mailing list is seeing a good uptick in traffic since the release of iTunes Several things to note: * The data is as of 6/6/2005 10pm PST. The numbers may flatten out as the month goes on. * The data includes the 4th of July holiday weekend in the USA My personal observation has been a noticable increase in traffic on the list, with an unusual number of "Help, I'm a newbie" type posts. (In addition to the debates about Podcast Alley and iTunes caching files) Looks like the iTunes debut, coupled with the numerous stories in the mainstream press about iTunes/Podcasting are starting to draw new users (publishers and listeners)

iTunes RSS Issues

Here's a great post about iTunes issues with their RSS parser/namespace. (Note the best info is in the comments) Hard to believe that Apple would do this one:
iTunes sends only two HTTP headers: “Accept: */*”, and “User-Agent: iTunes/4.9 (Windows; N)” (presumably platform-specific). It does not support ETags, Last-Modified, gzip or zlib compression, or RFC 3229
. Anyone know how often Apple polls?

iTunes - Podcast Subscriptions

A few thoughts about the new subscription functionality in iTunes

As a contributor on a (small) piece of jPodder, I am pretty familiar with the "podcatcher" category/vertical and the surrounding UI/subcription management issues. I think Apple has done a great first pass with their UI. I'm not sure how they derived their top-level directory categories (different than iPodder.org), but useful nonetheless.

Here's a screen shot of Adam Curry's Daily Source Code podcast:

A few things of note:

1. Apple has given the DSC link some primary real estate. Not sure if Adam is renaming it to "Podfinder"?

2. Subscription is easy - a simple click and nothing more. Hopefully the PSWG spec can do the same outside of iTunes.

3. The running time is "Unavailable". Adam populates his feed with the enclosure attributes like so: <enclosure url="http://mp3.dailysourcecode.podshow.com/DSC-2005-06-25.mp3" length="15893494" type="audio/mpeg"/> However, the enclosure spec does not include a run time, only file size.

4. Release date is not shown

5. The price is "Free" - looks like moving to a micro-payment model won't be very hard. It could even turn into the old Netscape model where you could download the browser for free or purchase it from a retailer. It was amazing how many people chose to purchase rather than download. This could turn out to be the same as iTunes becomes a user's central app for subscriptions/downloads.

Numbers 3 and 4 above are due to the fact that Adam's feed does not support the iTunes namespace yet. That seems like something Apple would have pushed for the launch.

iTunes - Podcast Directory?

Does anyone know if Apple is going to open up the iTunes Podcast directory (via OPML, etc)? I've been digging around their site and reading various news articles, but I have yet to see any mention about them opening the directory. (Adam Curry said during the Gillmor Gang panel that he "hoped" Apple would open it up)

If Apple does open the directory up, it would be a boon on many levels.

There are a few major issues with the ipodder.org directory including:

1. Updates/additions - I've seen quite a few emails complaining about the lack of responsiveness on updates and additions.

2. Stability - My personal experience has been that the directory is pretty unstable.

3. Duplication - the decentralized hierarchy of the directory can mean that there is duplication in different nodes. This makes it difficult to get a "true" picture of podcasts in the aggregate.

I am not aware of the infrastructure running the service (maybe it just needs another server, etc) but it is unstable enough that I'd welcome the stability Apple could bring. Having a centralized data repository could certainly help the tools/analytics vendors that are sure to pop up.