I’ve just been reading on the BBC Radio 4 site that the News Quiz with Sandi Toksvig, Alan Coren, Jeremy Hardy and Andy Hamilton is going to be published as a podcast – this can only be a good thing.
I love what the BBC is doing for podcasting and the fact that they’ve accepted and embraced it as the ‘completely’ new medium it actually is and not just seen it as an extension of the web.
In fact the BBC Podcast page is a great example of a podcast directory and the BBC Podcast section of iTunes is one of the best on the platform.
I know many see me as a BBC Evangelist and I am, I’m not ashamed of the fact – I’ve always been a big BBC fan but this is one area where the corporation really does deserve praise.
OK so some have issues and raise complaints about the podcasts - a lot of those complaints came about after the last series of The Now Show wasn’t made available as a podcast but the reasons were explained and there wasn’t much that could be done.
Others complain about the fact shows disappear or aren’t updated anymore – often Americans that don’t realise that once a series has finished there are no new shows TO update but that when the new series begins they will start to appear again.
That is one of the real downsides of ‘radio’ and it’s series based concept being applied to podcasting and its always on concept.
Maybe the solution is to remove listings for shows from iTunes and the BBC directory or for iTunes to have a ‘This show is currently off the air but should return in May’ statement – maybe something that removes the list of available downloads.
120 and counting
There are now 30 podcasts from BBC Radio 4 alone – some are full shows, some are parts of shows – some comedies, some news – others long and a few short – but they’re all pretty good and worth the time it takes to get them on your iPod.
In total there are 120 podcasts from the BBC so far with many more likely to join that number in the not to distant future – expect to see podcasts of other regular comedies on Radio 4 as well as dramas when the BBC gets the rights and more news/feature content from across the BBC Radio network.
To break it down further there are currently six podcasts from BBC Radio 1 which include two from Chris Moyles, one from Scott Miles, entertainment news, documentary and a new music podcast from Huw Stephens which is very good.
Radio 2 also offers six podcasts including Chris Evans Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand, Steve Wright, Wogan and Matthew Wright.
Radio 3 only has the one – Arts and Ideas a pick of short features and portraits from across BBC Radio 3.
We’ve already been into the numbers on BBC Radio 4 – 30 in total so far. These include everything from the Best of Today to Broadcasting House on the political side and Beyond Belief on the religious.
Other personal favourites are Start the Week (when it’s on air), Thinking Allowed and File on 4.
Five Live is giving us 17 podcasts – mainly sport and news stuff but also includes the best film reviewer on the planet – Mark Kermode as well as the brilliant Pods and Blogs.
The digital networks have less with one from 1Xtra – Home Grown Mix, two from 6music – including Music Week and Russell Howard, two from BBC 7 – Cbeebies best bits and Heroes and just one from The Asian Network – Love Bollywood.
There are 25 very good podcasts from the World Service – my favourite being Digital Planet and World Have Your Say.
Then there are nations and regions – a part of the BBC output often overlooked nationally but still producing some amazing stuff.
Seven podcasts from BBC Radio Scotland, six from Radio Ulster, seven from BBC Radio Wales and so far five from English Regions.
There are also four podcasts that pull in content from across the BBC Radio network including NewsPod, World of Business, UK Black and World Football.
Oh and this post did start life as praise for Radio 4 but turned in to a full blown BBC Podcast Praise fest.
Oh and as of this moment in time BBC Podcasts count for 12 of the top 25 Podcasts on iTunes – ok so when you publish 120 podcasts and they’re all from shows broadcast nationwide it’s easier to get in the top 25 but still impressive.
From what I can work out there isn’t a single podcast in the top 25 on iTunes that isn’t produced by a major production company – with the exception possibly of the Best of You Tube by Plankton.
The rest are by magazines, newspapers, television channels or celebrities.
This isn’t the most elegant code in the world and I know it uses horrible tables – I’ll produce a better version when I’ve got time – but here is the code I created to generate the little BBC Podcasts box on the sidebar.
It basically has a drop down of catagories (like the one on the iTunes podcast directory) and opens iTunes on the relevant BBC section.