An MTV Host Moves to Radio, Giving Voice to Audible Blogs
By KEN BELSON
Published: May 2, 2005
It was an offer even the podfather could not refuse: the chance to be host of a radio program devoted solely to podcasts, or homemade radio shows formatted for digital audio players.
Adam Curry, a former MTV host who developed software that lets people automatically receive these programs on Apple’s iPod and other players, will produce and be host of a four-hour program every weekday starting May 13 on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Mr. Curry will help choose material for “Adam Curry’s PodShow” from some of the thousands of amateur shows produced in basements, living rooms and dormitories. Sirius subscribers, who pay $12.95 a month for the service, can listen to the show on channel 148, “Talk Central.”
Podcasting has grown out of the boom in MP3 players, which can store hundreds of hours of music in devices the size of a transistor radio. The word “podcasting” is a nod to iPod, the most popular player.
Podcasts – essentially homemade digital audio files that users upload to the Internet for others to download on demand – run the gamut from tributes by aspiring disc jockeys to their favorite music artists, to up-and-coming bands, to talk show “hosts” chatting with their friends about everything from fine wine to fly fishing.
As with TiVo and other digital video players, users can listen to podcasts whenever they want, pause them or rewind them to listen again. This allows users to carry their shows with them and no longer be bound to a radio station’s schedule.
Unscripted podcasts are an audio version of television reality shows for the airwaves. The unpolished and recreational feel of podcasts often draws comparisons to the Saturday Night Live skit “Wayne’s World.” The serendipity of the shows appeals to listeners looking for an alternative to canned commercial radio.
“It has to be the completely unedited voice,” said Mr. Curry, who will preside over the show from London, where he lives. “There’s a whole universe of people who make music but there is no disc jockey putting it out there.”
Sirius is not the only radio network moving into podcasting. Infinity Broadcasting plans to convert one of its AM channels in San Francisco, 1550 KYCY, which now broadcasts mostly syndicated talk shows, into one mostly filled with podcasts.
More than 200 people have already submitted podcasts to the station, whose programming will be simultaneously streamed over a Web site for listeners outside the San Francisco area. The channel will continue to sell on-air advertising, though it will be adapted to fit the irregular length of the podcasts, according to Infinity.
Mr. Curry’s show on Sirius will also include advertising. But the company expects the show to have a free-form feel, much like the podcasts, rather than the more rigid format of mainstream radio.
The audience for the show is likely to be skewed toward 18- to 34-year-old listeners, who are also the core users of MP3 players. Mr. Curry expects them to be a vocal and demanding group, one that will help drive what’s heard on the show.