I love the simple elegance of podcasts, specifically ones that are audio-only. The medium affords an easy-to-digest bundle of information with a personalized touch. You can listen to one episode or subscribe to hundreds of them and still feel a connection through the conversational format.
This just in: video has not killed the radio star.
Over the years, the tools and services used to aggregate podcast feeds have changed almost as much as the selection of shows. That’s the beautiful thing about this format: the barrier to entry and the speed of exit are both next to nothing. You can start listening or creating content using the device you are using to read these words right now.
Creating & Consuming
My own interests in podcasting have run the gamut, from movie commentaries to news and culture to career advice and more. That kind of flexibility is only possible when a medium fits into your schedule and can change with you over time. The simplicity of the format is its strength.
I’ve taken a stab at creating podcasts as well. From a short interview series with my friend Wesley, to working with Dan Benjamin at 5by5 on Fireside — basically Squarespace for podcasters — this passion is slowly becoming more of a regular hobby.
I have plenty of ideas for new shows, maybe you do as well, and the barrier to entry is lowering with each passing day.
But what if the content we enjoy through our podcatchers wasn’t voiced by humans?
Enter: Amazon Polly
While it’s no surprise to see Amazon entering another area of our daily lives, there’s something really special about their lifelike text-to-speech processing engine. I imagine in a few years it will be harder to tell a speech processor from a human — this one is already extremely good.
Curious? Listen for yourself: https://overcast.fm/+Mga7-Pi5I
I wrote the article, but Polly is doing the talking. Now that the service has a direct connection with the iTunes Podcast Directory, you can auto-transcribe your WordPress posts and turn them into a rich audio feed. No coding required.
Tools like Amazon Polly provide one more way to transform our words into earworms.
In truth, the way we listen to content hasn’t changed a lot over the years. The change is that anyone has the shot to turn up his/her publishing up to an eleven. I truly believe that the best podcasts will always be voiced by humans, but the opportunity to add another channel with so little effort should not be taken for granted.