Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blog Talk Radio


I enjoy listening to Farai Chideya's radio program News & Notes. While listening to her Blogger's Roundtable discussion last Wednesday evening I learned about Blog Talk Radio (BTR), a web-based service that provides a free solution for hosting and listening to live radio-style interactive talk shows. This appears to be a very effective union of old & new media formats that allows anyone with a phone and a computer to create an interactive call-in talk show. To quote the BTR site, Blog Talk Radio is:
"Internet Radio, Citizen Broadcasting, Social Media Podcasts" ... "Empowering citizen broadcasters to create and share their original content, we can now access a richly diverse, sometimes balanced, often peculiar, mosaic of the Global Human Voice."
The site includes a number of features to support live interactive broadcasts, including web controls to allow the host to activate or deactivate up to 4 call-in guests (via telephone or Skype), a chatroom feature, and music, sound effects or commercials to be played during broadcast. Once completed the programs are subsequently made available as MP3 podcasts, RSS feeds, or via iTunes. Programs are broadcast as Windows Media streaming audio (so on a mac you may need a Windows Media Player program or browser plugin such as Flip4Mac to tune in live). In addition to the live broadcast features, the site also provides profiles and blog spaces for both hosts and listeners. They also offer a flash player widget that hosts can embed within their own blog or web page so listeners don't have to navigate to www.blogtalkradio.com.

The site is free for listeners and hosts, because it is ad revenue driven. BTR offers a revenue sharing program to split the revenues between BTR and program hosts, with rates that depend on who brought in the advertiser. They also provide reporting tools to measure the listening audience and ad revenues.

In my own quick review there appeared to be many interesting programs offered with tremendous diversity, exhibiting a range of production quality. Blogs are reasonable for exchanging ideas casually (asynchronously), but when you really want to immerse yourself in a topic, multi-party interactive programming is even more fun. BTR seems to me to be one of those natural solutions that appears obvious in retrospect, because it makes a lot of sense. For modern, interactive and engaging information sharing, what could possibly beat BTR? (Hmmm... Now I will have to dig deeper into Interactive TV which I learned about at BTR!).

1 comment:

Antonio said...

Excellent heads up on the BTR. I was just thinkin about finding stuff like that. I've been able to get some podcasts, via iTunes, but it's great to know that Flip4Mac will permit me to get the other broadcasts.