The recent spate of podcasts from locked-out CBC employees is a bit of a revelation. Because they're not getting paid and not having to follow government broadcast regulations, voices and personalities we CBC listeners are familiar with as part of our daily lives are coming to us in a much less formal manner. It's fascinating to hear how people with wide professional skill in broadcasting approach this different medium.
What's really surprising is how much more like "amateur"/"indie" podcasts their work so far has been, rather than being like watered-down versions of their regular work. This week's Vancouver Studio Zero podcast, for instance, was quite personal, without the journalistic detachment regular CBC radio usually demands. Locked-out employees were pissed off (Bill Richardson used exactly those words) and on CBC Unplugged they acted like it.
And you know what? I've enjoyed these informal podcasts more than some regular CBC programming by the same people. The podcasts don't replace the serious journalism the network usually provides, and so far there's nothing to compete with the television side of the organization, but maybe having long-time traditional broadcasters like Richardson involved in off-the-cuff podcasting will help legitimize it, and bring non-traditional media podcasters more of an audience, as Todd at Geek News Central speculated this week in his podcast.
They'll see, perhaps, that while the studios and equipment and personnel and facilities of the CBC are essential for much of the top-quality, award-winning programming they usually produce, it is also possible to create compelling material by yourself, on a shoestring, as Todd and so many other have done over the past year or so. Maybe they'll discover more podsafe music (as they did mine) too.
We can hope, anyway.