UK media goes 'podcast' crazy

Did Santa dish out iPods to the UK establishment this year? Suddenly it’s all gone multimedia-crazy. After Downing Street’s video diary comes David Cameron’s ‘exclusive seven-minute broadcast for transmission through The Daily Telegraph’s new podcast service’, and now the Sun’s ‘history-making podcast‘ with Tony Blair. To be fair, the Guardian has been doing this for years – and hey, I was serving up downloadable audio myself whilst at the Foreign Office, back in May 1997. 🙂
The Sun’s 4’29 piece is like listening to an early Beatles album. It’s all George Pascoe-Watson in one ear, all Tony Blair in the other. Blair sounds anything but natural… and it does grate when he welcomes ‘the Sun campaign to help its readers identify those people causing real trouble in their communities.’ I don’t mind seeing this in print, but I really feel uncomfortable hearing him say the words.
As for George Pascoe-Watson, whose elevation to Political Editor is probably the main reason for doing this (on both sides)… is it me, or does he sound too ‘broadsheet’, too ‘establishment’ to be doing audio for the Sun? I’m not asking for Chris Tarrant or anything, but it’s in complete contrast to the language in his write-up of the interview:

TONY Blair last night urged Sun readers to ‘shop a yob’ — as he unveiled a huge crackdown on thugs who make decent people’s lives a misery. Mr Blair — speaking to The Sun in the first ever internet ‘podcast’ by a Prime Minister — vowed to help YOU declare war on anti-social behaviour.

Are these true podcasts? No on both counts. The Telegraph is simply a downloadable MP3 file. At least the Sun offers some RSS… but with a filename ‘tony_podcast.rss’ – and note both the first-name terms, and the singular ‘podcast’ – it doesn’t promise a lengthy series. Am I being too pedantic? Podcasting is as much about the distribution as the product. If it isn’t a series, and it doesn’t come to me automatically via RSS enclosure, it isn’t really being ‘cast’ to my ‘pod’.
Oh… and I’ve just heard that Sky News has started offering ‘podcasts’ of a sort. Full coverage later.