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Advice to Podcasters

 Are my readers interested in media criticism? I am not sure. But they probably should be, since media consumption is likely to become a bigger and bigger part of life.

Recently I was following a tip to a new podcaster, "The History of England," (David Crowther. It is a history of the country of England. Do not confuse with Kevin Stroud's "History of English" about the language.) I had high hopes but they fizzled out. It is a shame to admit defeat because there was a lot of good content on his podcast. It was large. And his voice is pleasant to listen to, despite the usual "speech defect" of an English accent; that is, he is half-non-rhotic.

Since podcasting is a new medium to me, it interests me to see likes and dislikes take shape fairly quickly. What bothered me about Crowther's podcast is the snideness in his voice. It isn't the greatest defect in the world, but I still want to run away from it.

Why so? Perhaps it reveals the podcaster's presumed superiority to his own subject matter. If so, why bother with the subject at all? He should find something else to talk about.

Why have I become so impatient with frustrated comedians of a certain type: the quipster? The listener comes to their podcast hoping to find an interesting topic. But the podcaster seems too pleased with his own vaunted sense of humor that I do not find all that funny.  

Perhaps that is what Strunk & White were getting to in their warning to writers to recede (their egos) into the background and let the subject matter shine forth.

In contrast, David Stroud's "History of English" podcast has no snideness. His interest in his topic -- rather than himself -- comes through in his podcast. He lets his topic be the star of the show.  He needn't denigrate his topic with snide quips. He is a lesson to all podcasters.


Anonymous said…
I have thoroughly enjoyed History of English (thank you) but am caught up and looked for another language/linguistic podcast. I stumbled on Lexicon Valley, which began in 2011 and has 656 episodes. The current host replaced the original two hosts sometime along the way. I'm really enjoying the knowledge of the 1st hosts and their comedic repartee as they discuss their topics, which are all over the board. Their use of outside linguistic experts is entertaining and educational. Check it out.

656 episodes! They had better be rhotic! (grin)
Chris, I am trying to find Lexicon Valley's website, so I can download episodes for free.
Anonymous said…
I listen on my iPhone for free.

Anonymous said…
For example, today I listened to episode 22 which was a 30 minute discussion, with an outside expert, of the development of the Cherokee syllabary by Sequoyah in the early 1800s. Totally fascinating.