I’ve been meaning for a while to write about pod-casts and I thought an easy entrance way to the subject would be to share my favorites. For those of you who aren’t conversant with pod-casts they are recorded audio programs (although there are also video pod-casts) on subjects both familiar and obscure produced and distributed by mostly average people. That is, not radio or entertainment personalities as we’re used to defining them – for the most part. I’d like to be more specific but pod-casts are part of a new media emerging from the internet and are not clearly defined. They can be done by both amateurs and professionals. They can be frivolous or deeply meaningful. Only with time will they evolve and take on their final aspect.
I feel that this new media is important. What is happening on the Net now is like the early days of traditional media – like the days of silent film or the beginnings of television. Its a place where people with greater visions then budgets can experiment and produce shows that are important to them.
And I’m pretty much obsessed with it – pod-casts in particular. I’ve been listening for going on two years and have heard both the good and the bad. So I thought I’d start with the best.
“Simply Syndicated” is a group creating pod-casts on a wide variety of mostly entertainment subjects out of Leeds England. Lead by Richard Smith this eclectic group of media pioneers produces shows such as Movies You Should See, The Definitive Word, Make It So, Books You Should Read, and many others. Each of their shows is worthy of an entire article unto itself and in the future I plan to do just that.
So why do these pod-casts rise to the top of the pile out of the thousands that exist? Frankly, I just find them the best! They’re consistently entertaining and informative. The people involved are genuine, funny, and honest. The point of view is truly English which is close enough to American that I find it accessible yet fascinatingly different from my own experiences, and there is enough variety that nothing becomes tiresome. This isn’t to say that their aren’t other pod-casts of such high quality available, but for me the offerings from Simply Syndicated stand alone at the top of the mountain.
I think I’ve got to get a little more specific. I don’t want to short change any of their programs. I plan to eventually write an article about each one. Perhaps their premier program Movies You Should See is good place to start. MYSS is a great example of why their shows are so enjoyable. From the title you easily tell that it is a movie review show. Comparing it to another movie review show, American television’s At the Movies, it is immediately obvious what a different take on movie reviewing this is. At the Movies provides quick concise reviews of the movies new in the theaters. MYSS picks a movie and discusses it with a rotating group of friends often for an hour or more. When was the last time you heard an hour of truly interesting conversation? The films discussed are often genuine classics that you might not have heard of or seen, but for the most part these aren’t art house movies. They’re fun entertaining films that the panel members actually enjoyed watching. Which isn’t to say that their aren’t those who didn’t like the film or parts of the film being reviewed but they get to express their views in an articulate manner and their points are discussed. And these discussions aren’t dry. The people involved are actual friends and the discussions are like hanging around their living-room after watching a particularly good film talking about its strengths and weaknesses. Given time you feel you know these people and your happy that you do!
If you are looking to start listening to pod-casts I’d really recommend the shows from Simply Syndicated. Pick a topic that appeals to you and give it a listen. I really don’t think you can go wrong with anything they produce. You’ll find all of their shows on their Web site at: http://www.simplysyndicated.com.