My wife’s step-dad, Jon, is an accomplished psychologist. In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada relied on a report he wrote when forming its opinion on whether gay and lesbian parents should be allowed to adopt children:
The psychological research generally does not support any scientific basis for discrimination against homosexuals with regard to fitness to parent. The fitness and suitability of gay and lesbian parents or foster parents needs to be considered on a case by case basis, as it is for heterosexual parents.
Jon hosts a podcast on topics of interest to the psychology community. Even as an outsider to that field, I enjoy it and recommend it to anyone even casually interested.
Beyond the content, one of the first things you will notice is that the production quality is low. This is because the tools to create podcasts are awful (even for professionals) These episodes are recorded in a home office on a Mac using Garageband. Jon does basic editing and crossfades in the intro/outro music. He keeps track of his backlog of episodes in iTunes, and posts them to a podbean feed with no metadata, artwork or any of the other details we associate with highly produced podcasts. And yet I listen to every episode because the content is good.
Earlier today, Marco Arment posted the following:
But I’m not a believer that everyone should podcast, or that podcasting should be as easy as blogging. There’s actually a pretty strong benefit to it requiring a lot of effort: fewer bad shows get made, and the work that goes into a good show is so clear and obvious that the effort is almost always rewarded.
This was in response to a well-researched post by Allen Pike where he teases the idea of building a good podcast recording app.
Marco suggests that the barrier imposed by the difficulty of producing a podcast is a good thing, because it means ‘fewer bad shows get made’. He is wrong. The lack of good tools stops lots of shows getting made, many of which might have been excellent. The prejudice is that skill with technology and audio editing or access to resources to get someone else to edit is a prerequisite to being interesting.
Bad shows don’t get listeners. They don’t get on the charts. They’re just another low-ranked search result that gets ignored. You’ll never even know they exist — what’s the problem?
Dr. Jon Amundson is not a computer expert or an audio engineer. There are no ads on his podcast and nobody gets paid. He just has 30 minutes every week or so to prepare a ten-minute episode to share some wisdom. I am glad that, in spite of the obstacles, he has been able to figure out the process of producing a podcast. I hope Allen succeeds in making it easier for people like Dr Amundson to produce their podcasts.