Effective Communication in Podcasting

Internet based New Media (YouTube, podcasts, etc) is the number one way that people learn about Linux and Open Source software. Linux, as a concept, lacks a marketing department because it’s a community supported project and not a company. Granted, there are companies who distribute Linux, like Canonical and Red Hat but they don’t buy big splashy ad campaigns. That leaves the vital task of spreading the word about Linux squarely on the shoulders of the Linux Community itself.

Every student of broadcasting knows the name Edward R. Murrow. He was a key player in the early days of broadcast news starting around 1930 and he was certainly the most respected radio and TV news person of the 1950’s. Ed gave a very famous speech to the Radio and TV News Directors Association convention held in Chicago in October, 1958. Mr. Murrow was not one for such speeches but he gave this one to lay out what he thought was the state of Radio and TV news at the time and where it might go in the future. Ed could not have foreseen the miraculous advances in communication that have come in the nearly 60 years that has gone by but I could not help but here his voice in my heads I prepared my notes for the video featured here. One passage from that speech seems to ring more true today than it did back in 1958:

“I have no technical advice or counsel to offer those of you who labor in this vineyard that produces words and pictures. You will forgive me for not telling you that instruments with which you work are miraculous, that your responsibility is unprecedented or that your aspirations are frequently frustrated. It is not necessary to remind you that the fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other. All of these things you know.”

I created a video that should be of great benefit to anyone who is starting out in podcasting. No, it’s not a technical video but rather a video describing some basic rules of good broadcasting and effective communication. There’s way more to creating a compelling podcast or video than opening up a microphone and starting to talk. The best content creators in New Media do a lot of preparation and put a lot of thought into their offerings. Sure, Internet-based stuff is usually not as slickly produced as what you’d expect from a TV network but it doesn’t have to be to get people’s attention. It is what you have to say that matters most. That has been true since the early days of radio 100 years ago and it still goes today.

The technology needed to produce podcasts and YouTube is easy to use and anyone with a computer, a decent microphone, a webcam and a little time can share their knowledge with the world. Casually browsing the Internet with “Linux on the brain” will reveal a lot of Linux-related videos and articles. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it is either really poorly produced, full of bad information or simply out of date. The number of active content creators who provide up-to-date information presented in a way that people can actually stand to digest it is surprisingly small. There are also people who intentionally post misinformation or just plain hate aimed at Linux. As you can see, we need more individuals from all corners of the Linux World to bring their enthusiasm and knowledge to the Internet based New Media of today. This is why I started doing what I do.

There has been a lot of open discussion going on in the Linux community about podcasts and YouTube and it occurred to me that maybe it might be time for me to say something about it myself. You see, I am a little different than your average Linux Nerd with a webcam because I was once a relievedly successful radio and TV broadcaster. I went to school to learn Radio Engineering in the mid 80’s, started working as a part time announcer and engineer and worked my way up to management after 10 years. At one point, I was in charge of eight radio stations and a TV station with the title of Operations Manger. I also programmed the automation systems. Along the way, I found myself being asked to teach broadcasting classes of one kind or another at schools and I gave a lecture or two along the way.

When I got serious about doing Linux videos on YouTube, I drew on all of that Old Media experience plus I took a few classes to make sure I knew what I was talking about before handing out advice to others. That has led to the EzeeLinux project. The goal of EzeeLinux is to educate folks about Linux and get them started on the right path to success… I have been truly humbled by the response it has gotten.

That said, I don’t feel like I’m competing with anyone – the more, the merrier! I honestly feel that Linux and Open Source Software are arguably one of the few truly good things happening in the world today. It brings people from all over the world together and provides a means to get cutting edge technology into the hands of anyone, anywhere who wants to take the time to learn how to use it regardless of their financial situation. That is the kind of power that can quite literally change the world, folks. No one should be left behind in this Information Age. Come to think of it, Ed Murrow would probably do a documentary about Linux if he was still around today… It would be right up his street, I think. It’s the kind of thing he liked to talk about.

Good night and Good luck!

Joe Collins
Joe Collins worked in radio and TV stations for over 20 years where he installed, maintained and programmed computer automation systems. Joe also worked for Gateway Computer for a short time as a Senior Technical Support Professional in the early 2000’s and has offered freelance home computer technical support and repair for over a decade.

Joe is a fan of Ubuntu Linux and Open Source software and recently started offering Ubuntu installation and support for those just starting out with Linux through EzeeLinux.com. The goal of EzeeLinux is to make Linux easy and start them on the right foot so they can have the best experience possible.

Joe lives in historic Portsmouth, VA in a hundred year old house with three cats, three kids and a network of computers built from scrounged parts, all happily running Linux.

One comment

  1. Inside jokes is one of the reasons I never got hooked on David Letterman. I’d watch the one off episode every now and then and something would come up for 5-6 minutes that went nowhere.

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