Podcasting has become a phenomenal success, almost overnight, for radio. While Austereo’s reporting about 300,000 downloads per month, the ABC’s up to 500,000+ for Radio National alone. No wonder both are busy working on viable business models that will capitalise on this rapidly growing traffic.

Wait a minute! The ABC making money from programming? Is that kosher?

Under the ABC’s charter, commercial sponsorship is definitely out, but through its Enterprise Division it can package and sell material to the public – which it does very successfully online and through its chain of ABC shops.

So why not charge for Podcasts says Management?

Critics of the idea say there’s a big difference between selling a program on CD well after it is broadcast and podcasting which provides listeners with the facility to simply time shift a program that they otherwise may have missed and are, therefore, entitled to hear it “free to air” included in their “8 cents” per day.

RN staff presented a discussion paper as a passionate appeal to management, stating, “Radio National staff are concerned that any bumbling effort to commercialise RN Podcasting will kill the goose that’s laid the golden egg.


“Think of the public backlash”, says the paper. “Think of losing that audience. Think of losing that opportunity for learning how to play in this new and exciting landscape. Instead of being known around town as the innovators, we’ll be the dunderheads. The mob who shot themselves in the foot. The best strategy is for the ABC and RN to continue to build and learn from Podcasting.”

That’s what they reckon. What do you reckon?

Of course, if you don’t care a fig one way or the other, you could, instead, weigh in to this week’s hottest topic: Whether the “Shock Jocks” are to blame for the Sydney “race riots”.

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