Since OMW's not a regular visitor to the website of Rubber City Radio standards WAKR/1590 Akron, we missed this until tonight. But it looks like the local station, which proudly proclaims itself as the Akron market's "News Authority", is dipping its toes into the waters of 21st Century technology.
WAKR set up an experimental podcast section on the news audio page of its site at WAKR.net. The page, as we view it tonight, has the usual audio links from some recent stories...as downloadable MP3 files. But go a little lower, and you'll find a URL for station audio in podcast format.
We plugged the URL into iTunes tonight, and were basically inundated with what looks like the station's entire coverage of the Cynthia George murder trial...from beginning to end. There are also some reports on the recent decision that freed Clarence Elkins from prison.
Podcasting isn't really technically a "new technology". It's basically just automated MP3 file download to an MP3 player. Other stations, like Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland, have an extensive MP3 download section. But this "experiment" means that WAKR news audio will be deposited directly onto the OMW Official iPod without daily intervention. OMW's been a strong, strong proponent of local radio operations - and now TV - jumping onto this bandwagon...going where their listeners go, in other words.
We may not be fans of the standards format that WAKR runs for the greater part of the day, but now, we'll get their news audio without remembering that "oh, that station that plays the standards also has an hourly newscast every single hour!" And maybe when we're not near the iPod, we'll check them out more often...having been reminded of their on-air presence.
Some broadcasters are getting into the podcasting universe in a big way. Many large market Clear Channel-owned talkers are offering daily downloads of the entire shows of their local hosts. (Yes, that means a podcast version of Mike Trivisonno's show probably isn't far off. Remember, subscribing to podcasts is a voluntary action.) We actually keep track of a former co-worker this way. And on the TV side, we're subscribed to WEWS/5's podcast audio version of their "NewsChannel 5 at Noon". With the iPod now supporting video, we'll probably soon be able to watch local TV news on our iPod while nowhere near Northeast Ohio...