Podcasting has been called the ultimate in personalized media, since most podcasts are produced by amateurs for small, specialized audiences. But the real ultimate in personalization may be a podcast for an audience of one – you.
That’s the promise of Modcast, a technology developed by Florida-based Bind that enables a podcast listener to choose which segments of a show to hear, then have a customized audio file generated on the fly. Other companies, such as Podcasternews.com, are also experimenting with modcasting – which suggests that customization may be a big wave in podcasting’s future.
The modcasting technology “puts you in the producer’s chair,” according to Jonathan Brown, Bind’s president. Along with vice president Matt Thompson, Brown will launch an online quiz show intended to demonstrate Bind’s modcasting technology by tailoring the audio feedback to a player’s answers.
Brown, a software developer, and Thompson, a marketing strategist and a communications* professor at the University of Central Florida in Sarasota, already produce a customizable weekly podcast, “The Cubicle Escape Pod.” The show focuses on strategies that budding entrepreneurs can use to bootstrap their companies. The two colleagues say that Modcast technology was the indirect result of a suggestion from a listener.
“We check certain blogs to see what people are writing about [the podcast],” explains Thompson. “One blogger was saying he liked certain parts of our show, but there were other parts he wished he could turn off. Jon and I both, simultaneously, read that same blog, and started talking. We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if listeners really could turn off parts?”
So Thompson and Brown decided to break their weekly podcast into seven separate audio files, each containing a segment of the show, such as “Big Word of the Day,” “Earbud-Worthy Music,” and “Rapid Rants.” Once listeners register at the podcast’s website, they can select from these segments. Then the Modcast software assembles the chosen segments into a single, seamless MP3 file for downloading to the listener.
“The podcasting community seems to want to get to the content as quickly as possible,” says Thompson. “As one of our readers wrote, they ‘don’t want to fart around.’ They want to get rid of the fluff.”