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Online Radio is Booming (How to Listen to GuerillaMedia in 2004)

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Unless you’ve been busy watching Donald Trump’s new TV show The Apprentice, you might’ve spotted a recent piece in The Guardian by Ben Hammersley titled “Why online radio is booming”. 

“All the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio.”, Ben tells us, before asking:

“But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?”

For me, it has to be GuerillaMedia. The name rolls off the tongue, and I can really see this term catching on. 

But if you’re feeling a little left out of this supposed online radio boom, fear not. This post is designed to help get you up and running. Read on, and you’ll be listening to on-demand episodes of The Web Talk Guys on your Rio Karma digital audio player in no time.

old mp3 players

Audio Players for GuerillaMedia

And that brings us nicely to step one. If you want to listen to those audio files away from your computer, you’re going to need a portable player.  

If you already own a MiniDisc player, you can dub those GuerillaMedia shows onto recordable discs. But you can remove the extra hardware by investing in a dedicated digital audio player. 

I’ve already mentioned the Rio Karma. There’s also the Creative Zen and Apple iPod. Connect one of these to your computer, and you can transfer digital audio directly onto the device without the need for extra hardware. There are iPods available with 20GB of storage – you could probably fit about 5,000 GuerillaMedia episodes on there. Not that you’d ever be able to find that many.  

As the medium grows, who knows what extra features these devices will add over the next two decades? There might come a day when you can record videos, take photos, make phone calls, and even surf the web directly from your Dell DJ. 

Download Some GuerillaMedia Episodes

Now that you’ve got your player, you need to surf the web and find some content to download. I mentioned The Web Talk Guys already. Head on over to their site and you’ll find a list of episodes. Right-click ‘save as’ on the MP3 links, and from there, most digital audio players have a simple drag-and-drop functionality once they’re cabled up to your computer. 

Hammersley has another few listening recommendations in his article. You could also Ask Jeeves, “help me find some audioblogging, podcasting, guerillamedia or online talk radio episodes to listen to, please”. That helpful cyber butler will take care of the rest.

The Future of GuerillaMedia: Big in 2024?

If Ben Hammersly thinks online talk radio is booming now, imagine how things could pan out over the next two decades. 

For instance, we might see some listeners enjoy the medium so much that they decide to get behind the mic themselves and become GuerillaMedia hosts. If your PC came with a desktop mic, you could download an audio recording and editing software called Audacity. I know this seems a little clunky, but think how different it will look in 2024! 

As for topics, the world really is your oyster. If you have three other friends, why not get together with them and discuss films? There’s a huge gap in the market for a “Four Guys Chatting About Movies” series. 

Alternatively, you could start a show for entrepreneurs, which would sort of make you one by default.

You could read aloud the encyclopedia pages of serial killers, though I wouldn’t think you’ll grow much of an audience around that.

Or you could go really meta and create a “How to do on-demand online talk radio” series.

Maybe one day, a celebrity might start their own GuerillaMedia channel. If they had the budget to assemble their own pro-level setup, they could even seek to interview other celebrities (assuming they have access to an ISDN line or know of any who live locally.) 

If the medium becomes credible enough, there could even come a point where an agreement will be reached between creators and record companies, meaning GuerillaMedia hosts will be free to play copyrighted music on their shows, so long as it’s for less than seven seconds and they’re not making any money.

Of course, these are all just wild predictions, and nobody knows for sure what the GuerillaMedia landscape might look like 20 years from now. One thing I’m sure of, though, is – to quote David Bowie – “it won’t be boring”.

Happy 20th birthday to the term “Podcasting”! As you might’ve guessed, the medium is a little older than the word itself. Lindsay’s “History of Podcasting” article explores how things looked pre-2004…

when did podcasts start?

When Did Podcasts Start? A Brief History of Podcasting

When Did YOU Discover Podcasting?

We’ve also asked some of our pals and peers this question. Here are their origin stories:

Dave Jackson – School of Podcasting

Dave Jackson‘s first encounter with podcasting was in 2005 when a friend mentioned it after attending a marketing conference. He recalls Googling it and finding only one and a half pages of results, which surprised him. Dave experimented with creating an RSS feed and uploading files, realizing the potential of podcasting.

Lindsay Harris-Friel – Fiction Podcast Weekly

In 2007, I’d moved in with the guy who I’d later marry. He had a beagle-basset hound who liked long, slow walks so she could sniff every single thing in a five-mile radius. There was not enough music for the endless sniffari excursions. As I’d comb through iTunes to find anything to listen to, I finally found The Bugle, which, at the time, was produced by The Times of London and starred Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver.

The tagline, “Audio newspaper for a visual world”, hooked me. Also, it was free. By the time I heard Zaltzman’s infamous bit about Laurie Andersen and Lou Reed’s Music for Dogs, I was hooked.

To get your music from the computer to your iPod, or vice versa, you had to plug it into your computer, and transfer each track or a playlist of tracks from your computer to the iPod. It was time consuming, and you sort of had to know what you wanted to listen to that day or whatever in advance. You’d have to stop and think, “oh, I’m in a Jamie Cullum mood this morning,” when you might desperately need Ani DiFranco and Joan Jett by the end of the day. And, you’d have to plan out when you were going to make that transfer, like remembering to plug it in and hit transfer before you went to bed or got into the shower. 

Putting music in your library was super duper fun, too. You could transfer music from a CD to your computer, then into your iTunes library, and finally to your iPod. Or, you could pay 99 cents for one song or around $10 or $12 for an album. So, I guess podcasts must have been an amazing loss leader for iTunes, since they were free. 

The great thing about podcasts on iTunes was that you could make playlists with music and podcasts in the same list. So, I could listen to a meditation podcast followed by music, to fall asleep at night. When Apple put podcasts in a separate app, I was furious. 

Lindsay Harris-Friel

Mike Russell – Music Radio Creative

Mike Russell’s first podcast experience was with “Internet Business Mastery,” hosted by Jason van Orden and Jeremy Fransden. He discovered it while searching through an early version of iTunes. The podcast’s content on starting an online business appealed to him, especially during his long daily commute to his office job. It was the catalyst for Mike and Izabela launching Music Radio Creative, which continues to thrive to this day.

Katie Paterson – The Podcast Host

I took a kind of weird route into podcasting. A hip-hop record label I loved (Stones Throw Records) started releasing DJ sets and mixes in the form of the Stones Throw Podcast back in 2008ish (I think! I tried to verify this but it looks like the podcast doesn’t exist anymore). So it was less of a podcast really and more a mix station like you find on Mixcloud or Soundcloud.

But it got me interested in the idea of podcasts, and things kinda rolled on from there. I also remember that I only started actively looking for podcasts because I got an iPod mini for Christmas and there was a podcast category. Had that not been there, I doubt I would’ve been interested in podcasts until a few years later. I’m sure a lot of people would say the same!

Katie Paterson

Mur Lafferty – I Should Be Writing

In October 2004, a friend of mine mentioned that there was this new thing he was really interested in called podcasting. You could go ahead and talk into a mic, and as long as somebody subscribed to it, it was guaranteed to hit their inbox.

I decided to do some geeky essays about being a nerd with a toddler. Then, a couple of months later, I realized there wasn’t a lot of information about for writers, except for Michael Stackpole’s “The Secrets” podcast. So that’s when I started. “I Should Be Writing” – a show to encourage beginning writers to deal with all of their issues, like impostor syndrome and worrying that one rejection means the end of your career kind of thing. I just like talking into a mic, I guess. But I never thought that a radio job was a career I could follow. I don’t know why, so I never looked into it that way. But once there was a way I could record online and podcasting made it easier for people to get, I was all in.

Mur Lafferty

David Ault – Almost Every Audio Drama That’s Ever Existed (Honestly)

David Ault recalls his early experiences with online audio groups before podcasting was established. He mentions his involvement with the Jodrell Bank Astronomy podcast and his exposure to podcasting through it. He talks about the challenges of accessing content with slow internet connections and the efforts made by some groups to make their podcasts accessible to everyone.

Cliff Ravenscraft – Podcast Answer Man

My first podcast I ever listened to was Leo Laporte doing a podcast version of his radio show, “The Tech Guy.” This was just before he started “This Week in Tech. I learned about podcasting from Leo Laporte’s blog, where he talked about learning how he could distribute his radio show via an RSS feed. At first, I listened to it on a Creative Zen mp3 player. I had to download the files with my laptop and sync them manually to the player.

Cliff Ravenscraft

Evo Terra – The End Audio Fiction Newsletter

I listened to my first ever podcast on October 12th, 2004. It was, if memory serves, The Bitterest Pill by Dan Klass.I discovered it when my co-host—we were producing a syndicated independent radio program at the time—said “have you heard of this thing called podcasting?”  Pretty sure Dan’s show was one of the ones listed in whatever article that was he shared.

My first listening device was the old iRiver mp3 player! I used iPodderX as my podcatcher.  Files from the RSS feed were stored on a folder on my computer, and I had to use the data transfer cable to get it to the iRiver. Because there were not smartphones in October of 2004 that could subscribe to podcasts. That was still a few months away until iTunes in the summer of ’05.

Evo Terra

Colin Gray – The Podcast Host & Alitu

Believe it or not, the first podcast I ever listened to was delivered to me on a CD in 2005. It was Boagworld, with Paul Boag, and they somehow managed to get it included on the cover CD (remember those?!) of Web Designer magazine. I popped it in my computer, listened to him and Marcus chattering about web design, and the mix of humour, personality and deep learning just hooked me. It pushed me to find out how the whole medium worked and, the next day, I was in Currys buying a data-stick MP3 player to feed my habit.

It was just a horrible experience in those days! Loading up iTunes, plugging in the datastick, syncing your episodes – deleting the old and adding the new – and half the time, it’d forget or delete the one you’re halfway through, so you’d have to download it all over again, and skip back to the place you left off 😅 I think it’s a testament to the power, the utility, the addiction of podcasting that I and millions of others didn’t grudge a second of it, and I’ve barely gone a day in the two decades since without listening to an episode.

Colin Gray

We’d love to hear YOUR own early podcasting memories in our IndiePod Community.

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