Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Podcasting Association? 

While there are still plenty of people who prefer to look backwards rather than forwards and react to the new forms of media like a rabbit does to a wolf, especially in the world of boxing, the ranks of bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, and the like continue to grow. As the new media becomes not-so-new anymore, the producers and creators using these recently-devised communications tools have begun meeting and talking with each other. A regular mass movement has been born, from the ground up, and is starting to mature.

One recent idea attracting attention has been the need for some type of association of podcasters. One such group, the Association for Downloadable Media (ADM), has already been formed, albeit with somewhat limited goals. Their mission statement lists their chief aim: “To provide leadership in and organization of advertising and audience measurement standards, research, education and advocacy to all those involved in portable media (Podcasts/ATOM/RSS media enclosures) across the Internet, iPods, MP3 players, mobile devices, P2P and other upcoming platforms.”

Others have criticized this effort as being too top down and corporate-oriented, including the setting of annual dues of US$150 for individual members.

This has led another group of people, on the initiative of Scott Bourne and Lee Gibbons of the podcasting company Podango, to begin a discussion and new blog “as an ad hoc attempt to kick start a podcasting association that might unite podcasters worldwide and provide a foundation of communication and interaction that will facilitate the growth and development of the podcasting movement.”

They have also posted a survey about this issue on their blog.

I completed this survey and added the following at the end in the field provided for open-ended comments. I encourage others to get involved in this effort as well:

I hope there can be one industry association. ADM's $150 yearly fee in a fledgling industry, however, is ridiculous, and shows that it aims mainly at larger corporate outfits rather than the untold number of bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, etc. It also shuts out many younger, working class, and poor people who are using these online tools to make their voices heard.

We need a group to represent our interests on issues of us getting recognized as legitimate (even though most of us are actually more legit) as the mainstream media machines. We need an advocate which can fight for us, and represent us directly.

Also raised by others is the need to create an organization which can help provide access to medical insurance in the US, where over 45 million people still have none.

The National Writers Union, of which I have been a member for over a decade, should have addressed this, but is dominated by dinosaurs who largely do not understand the Internet, or actually fear it.

This group should aim for the grassroots and avoid getting taken over by the large Internet and tech companies such as Yahoo, Google, Apple, etc. It cannot be a trade union as such, but can be an association of the unrepresented producers, creators, and other workers in the online media.

It also should be flexible enough to change whenever the next innovative forms of media arise, be they through cell phones, some new device to come, or whatever. Podcasting itself is pretty new, and a group should not tie itself down to just what exists in 2007.

Finally, democracy is key. It is very messy, but structurally it must be insured. Otherwise, it will be just another bureaucratic tool standing in the way of us achieving our rights.

Thanks, Eddie Goldman
No Holds Barred

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