BoingBoing picked up the This American Life story. I don’t share the knee jerk reaction they and others seem to be having, but I do think the story highlights a question that podcasting presents for public radio: Which will win, the “public” or the “radio”? If public radio is truly public, shows like TAL will have to adapt to allow the public to use the content in ways that work for them. This is not an unreasonable request, considering that public radio is largely funded by charitable donations from foundations, non-invested corporations and listeners. I’ve personally contributed hundreds if not thousands of dollars to NPR over the years, and I can’t count how many times I’ve been reminded that “you put the public in public radio”. If that’s true, there should be more working together, more quid pro quo. If public radio is truly public and not just radio, it will need to do more to embrace, not fight, evolving communications technology.

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