Podcasting: The Next 10 Years – Liveblog from NMX in Las Vegas


Tom Webster, Edison Research VP


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New Media Expo ( NMX15 ): Is THIS the Year Podcasting Will Be Big?

Podcasting is going to be Big. Right?

Right. That’s what we podcasters have been telling ourselves ever since I learned what a podcast is nearly a decade ago. At Blogs ‘N’ Dogs, a whacky and wonderful conference in Banff that combined blogging workshops with frigid rides on dogsleds, I saw a guy interviewing people at a party with a tiny recorder. I asked him what he was doing.

“Podcasting,” Roland Tanglao said. Huh?

Roland explained the basics, and by the time I’d had my dogsled ride I was a podcaster. I recorded an audio snippet in my hotel room and posted it somewhere, probably at Eric Rice’s erstwhile HipCast site. I returned to the States lit up with the possibilities of this new media platform. I created a video podcast, named, as I remember, the Mile High Pod Chronicles, and an audio feed, the Audio Pod Chronicles.  The “chronicles” name came from a series of travel journals I had shared with friends and family by e-mail, starting with “Chronicles of the Mouse,” created during a family trip to Disney World.

This was in October, 2005, two years before the original Kindle arrived. By July of 2008 I was an avid Kindle fan, and I knew how to put up a decent audio podcast. That led to creation of The Kindle Chronicles, the Friday podcast all about your Kindle, now approaching episode number 350.

Looking back over this decade of my participation in podcasting, I seem to remember someone somewhere announcing that Podcasting is Going to Be Big every single year. I believed it, because I loved listening to and creating podcasts, and it’s easy to assume lots of other people share your passions. Instead, the growth of the podcasting audience has been stately, not meteoric, to the point where iTunes last fall passed the 1 billion mark in total cummulative podcast subscriptions, according to a story in The Washington Post.

Edison Resarch in a U.S. survey done in May of 2014 found that the share of time spent listening to podcasts was 25.9 percent of all audio sources, just behind AM/FM radio at 27.5 percent. The other big shares were owned music, 22.3 percent, and Internet-only music and radio, 10.6 percent. (See this excellent article by Anne Friedman in the Columbia Journalism Review for more.)

Last year at New Media Expo, the annual gathering of the podclan in Las Vegas, we heard convincing predictions of Bigness. One I remember was about how podcasts are being gathered into networks in a way similar to the way radio networks were assembled leading to the Golden Age of Radio.

I’m sure podcasting is indeed growing as a media platform, but I don’t care as much as I used to about rosy predictions. I just love putting a weekly show together. I have met amazing people as interview guests and listeners. I have attended press events for new Kindle devices. I have not come close to breaking even in financial terms, but I have created a front row seat on the eBook Revolution and have happily sat in it and watched history unfold for nearly seven years.

Tomorrow I will fly to Las Vegas to learn new tricks, meet new people, and get another dose of passionate engagement.

Here, mainly as a reminder to myself, are things I want to accomplish at New Media Expo this week:

  1. An action checklist for renaming my show The Reading Edge. I want to learn how to do this with a minimum of disruption and confusion for my listeners.
  2. Find an audio editing tool or process that streamlines the deletion of ums and ahs from the audio of my guests, and me.
  3. Solicit advice and tips about podcast sponsorship that will guide me in discussions I have begun with a publisher interested in partnering with my show.
  4. Learn at least three pro tips from fellow interviewers about how to improve the 20-minute recorded conversation I have each week.
  5. Stop by the Libsyn booth to personally thank Rob Walch, Elsie Escobar and the rest of the team for the rock-solid  service Libsyn has provided for my show ever since episode 1.
  6. Find at least two podcasts I don’t know about yet that cover topics similar or related to mine. This probably means shows related to eBooks, authors, digital publishing, and eReaders. But I will be open to surprises. There may be someone podcasting about needlepoint who has a similar interview format, or a shared sensibility and voice. I would love to find someone doing a Kobo podcast, just to see what’s up with the only viable rival to Kindle.
  7. Meet and learn from someone at Apple who works on the iTunes Directory, the mother lode for podcast discovery.
  8. Avoid expensive new gadget infatuations. I have a terrific microphone, the Yeti by Blue, and a decent portable recorder, the Zoom H1. I don’t need to spend hundreds more dollars on new stuff. But I probably will.
  9. Put together 44 minutes and 58 seconds of terrific content at NMX, a collage of shorter interviews that will give my listeners a chance to experience and learn from the gathering in my next episode.
  10. Create and upload TKC 350 from my room at the conference hotel well before checkout time on Friday, April 17th.
  11. Help three new podcasters get started, sharing my experience and passion.
  12. Eat sensibly, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep.

As I prepare that To Do list for NMX I realize that podcasting is already Big in my life. To see how much fun I’m having, I hope you will check out the show notes page and have a listen. And if you are already a regular listener, thanks for making this adventure such a consistent and deeply rewarding project!

[Cross posted from LenEdgerly.com]

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TKC 349 Ashleigh Gardner


Director of Content at Wattpad

Interview starts at 17:50 and ends at 37:37

I think that Wattpad’s a great place for people to be able to tell their own experience and their own story. We’re seeing really interesting, diverse stories being added to Wattpad from around the world.



“Oyster Expands Its ‘Netflix For Books Service with a New E-Book Store” by Anthony Ha at TechCrunch – April 8, 2015

The Oyster Review

ES Explorer free app for Kindle Fire

“Amazon files first-ever suit over fake product reviews, alleging sites sold fraudulent praise” by Todd Bishop at GeekWire – April 8, 2015

Tech Tips

Penelope Laurans, master of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale


Snippefy for iOS

Interview with Ashleigh Gardner



Beth Reekles at Wattpad

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles

“Random House Acquires Novel by Teen Wattpad Star” by Sally Lodge at Publishers Weekly – April 3, 2013

Anna Todd at Wattpad

Margaret Atwood at Wattpad

Kim Kardashian: Trapped in Her Own Game by kfxininity at Wattpad


Free Kindle downloads of 8-volume official biography of Winston Churchill (ends April 11, 2015) by Randolph Churchill and Martin Gilbert.

Hugo Award Nominees Announced


“3 a.m. Special in Aisle 9 of the Apple Store,” by Len Edgerly, Chapter 12 of Time for a Change at Wattpad

Next Week’s Show

I will be in Las Vegas next week for New Media Expo, a gathering of podcasters. By show time I should have a varied collection of voices and ideas for your listening pleasure on TKC 350.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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TKC 348 R. U. Sirius and Jay Cornell

RU and Jay

Co-authors of Transcendence

Interview starts at 8:31 and ends at 38:29

As an historical upward swing, people can view all this as ways of increasing our ability to share information and ideas and therefore get smarter. I’m not sure we’re taking advantage of that yet, but maybe we will. –R. U. Sirius


Amazon adds new review options via drop down menus” by Henry Baum at Self-Publishing Review – March 22, 2015

“Amazon Refines Customer Review Process With New Ratings Options” by Nate Hoffelder at Ink, Bits & Pixels – March 23, 2015.

Amazon Dash Button invitation page

Amazon Home Services

Tech Tips

BookDrop (formerly Kindlebox)

Interview with R. U. Sirius and Jay Cornell

Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity 

Transcendence web site

Books at the Kindle Store by Vernor Vinge

Mondo 2000: A User’s Guide to the New Edge : Cyberpunk, Virtual Reality, Wetware, Designer Aphrodisiacs, Artifical Life, Techno-Erotic Paganism (1992) by Rudy Rucker and R. U. Sirius

disinformation web site


“America’s Greatest Novelist Arrives on the Kindle!” by Jon Cog at Me and My Kindle


Blue Ink Review

Eolake Stobblehouse’s eReader Joy blog

Outro Music

“The Story of Us” written and sung by Fran Betlyon

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!


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Why I Returned to iPhone from Amazon’s Fire

two phones

1. Meerkat

At South by Southwest Interactive, Meerkat was The Thing. The buzzing of the early adopters was electric. Yes, I would be able to try it with my iPad mini when I returned to Denver, but who wants to lug something that big around for spontaneous video livestreaming? Meerkat, and now Periscope, have added a whole new reason for having a computer in your pocket or purse. My Fire Phone was not going to be invited to the party.

2. Starbucks and My Bank

I couldn’t find an app for my bank at Amazon’s App Store for Android or at 1Mobile Market. The Starbucks app that I downloaded from 1Mobile Market liked to stop working every now and then, complete with an irritating alert on the home screen announcing, “Starbucks has stopped.”

3. Pebble and Apple Watch

Although 1Mobile Market enabled me to download the Pebble app to my Fire, the performance was unreliable on the watch. And of course Apple Watch will have nothing to say to a Fire phone.

4. Security

In Marc Goodman’s Future Crimes, I read this scary statistic: 99 percent of all mobile malware is targeted against Google’s Android mobile operating system. The problem, Goodman asserts, is that Android devices are slow to receive updates and bug fixes to the operating system. That gives criminals the time they need “to find hole after hole in the Android OS and target it for exploitation.”

By comparison, Apple’s software is generally updated in a more timely manner on iOS devices. A friend of mine who works in information technology at a major bank recently told me they are switching from Blackberry to Apple for all bank-supported mobile devices, because Apple has the best security. Not Android. Since the Fire phone is based on Android, I decided that a move to Apple would put me on a more secure mobile platform. I’m not saying this was as important a reason to switch as Meerkat, but it was on the list.

5. It Ain’t Forever

When I learned from an AT&T rep that I did not need to sign up for another two-year contract in order to switch to an iPhone 6 Plus, that made my decision much easier. I had thought I would need to come up with nearly $1,000 to buy an unlocked iPhone, but the AT&T Next installment plan required only paying the tax up front, less than $100. I fully expect to switch back to Fire Phone 2 when it is released, probably this fall. Since AT&T is handling the current Fire phone, I’m sure the next one will be available as an upgrade via AT&T Next. There will probably be a fee to switch, but that’s a cost of my following Amazon’s gadgets as closely as I do in my weekly podcast. I will spend a lot more flying to wherever the Fire Phone 2 press conference is held.

6. The Six Plus is a Beauty

On visits to the Apple Stores here in Denver and in Cambridge, Mass., I always stopped by the phones table to admire the iPhone 6 Plus. I’d put one in my pocket each time, assuring myself that it’s not too big for easy carrying. I loved how thin it felt compared with the blocky Fire phone. Even in a quick review of its software, I found things to covet. For example, the photo editing on the iPhone includes an elegant straightening adjustment, so you can bring the horizon of a photo into perfect alignment even if you missed it when you snapped the shot. There is no way to do that on the Fire.

The larger size of the Six Plus makes it better for reading and watching video. The diagonal measurement of the Plus is 5.5 inches, compared with 4.7 inches for the Fire. I wasn’t sure when I switched, but it turns out the iPhone 6 Plus is big enough that I will probably retire two gadgets from my arsenal, the iPad mini and my Fire HD 6. Yes, they are nicer to read and watch on than the Plus, but the advantage is not enough to justify keeping them. I love it when I can pare down the number of gadgets I take on a trip. With the purchase of a fantastic $26 Bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone, I can do real work at a Starbucks using the iPhone 6 Plus. It looks a little odd, because the keyboard is so much bigger than the screen, but I can write a script for the podcast or a blog post just fine.

7. Family Matters

I am the designated Tech Support for my extended family, and over the years I have convinced most of the clan to join Tribe Apple. During my eight months in the Amazon Fire desert, my iPhone skills got a little rusty. I was slower to figure out how to help my parents, in their 80’s, and my wife Darlene and her sister, and my sister, and my daughters–it’s a big network I support–how to make minor adjustments or solve irritating problems. Now that I’m back on an iPhone, I will be better able to help.

8. Text and iMessage

One of the most irritating aspects of leaving Apple for Amazon’s Fire was that I could not respond to text messages from my computer, a MacBook Air. It turned out to be a pain in the neck to disengage from iMessage, and for a while my family wasn’t able to send me text messages at all. Once I got it figured out, my messages showed up in green instead of blue, which designates iMessage. Where computer texting really pays off is in the ability to copy a web page link and drop it into a text message. I did this yesterday when I found a new biography of George Washington that I thought Dad would like. In just a few seconds I had the link in an iMessage on its way to his iPhone 5S.

9. I gave the Fire a Good Trial

I was swept away with enthusiasm for the Fire phone during the Seattle press event when Jeff Bezos triumphantly held one aloft and dazzled us with its innovative capabilities, notably Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Even so, it was with some trepidation that I actually ported my mobile number from my then iPhone 5s to the Fire. The switch required that I leave Verizon for AT&T, which meant weak or nonexistent cell coverage on our occasional drives to see old friends in Casper, Wyoming. Still, I loved the Fire and over eight months I became an enthusiastic user.

Features which caused grumbling in the tech press, like the gestures enabling you to see right and left side panels without touching the screen, became second nature to me. Now I miss them on the iPhone. In order to reveal the quick menu of settings to turn on the flashlight or adjust the brightness, you just tilt the Fire and the settings appear. A different movement of the wrist reveals a left panel that, from the home screen, shows all the Amazon options for content–books, video, audiobooks, shopping etc. When reading a Kindle book, a flick of the wrist brings up the chapters and other navigation choices.

The Fire phone’s Dynamic Perspective, the beautiful 3D effect which took a lot of engineering to accomplish, is stunning in my opinion. The lock screens are beautiful, and you can’t help but move your head to peer around the objects, like a fountain pen, to see what’s behind them. It also, I believe, makes it possible to read a Kindle book by scrolling instead of tapping for page turns. This is a more natural way of reading, in my experience, and I miss it on the iPhone.

The other day I saw a QR code that interested me, but I didn’t bother trying to grab it with my iPhone. That was a great feature of the Fire phone. With one press of a physical button, I could activate Firefly and read a QR code without breaking stride. The same button, held more briefly, brings up the camera. That’s an easier and quicker camera activation, in my opinion, than the iPhone’s two-step process. You press the home button to turn on the screen, then you swipe up from the bottom of the screen, over the camera icon.

And of course the biggest thing I miss from the Fire is Mayday, Amazon’s revolutionary free 24/7 video chat tech support. I paid $99 for two years of AppleCare support for my new iPhone. I can reach a tech between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Central Time, but the wait for someone to answer the call is usually 10 times longer than I ever waited for a Mayday response. And when the tech does answer, I have to explain to him or her what I’m looking at on my iPhone. By comparison, the Mayday techs see my phone instantly and can, if I agree, take over the controls to fix a problem in seconds that I would still be trying to explain to the Apple rep.

10. Why I Returned to iPhone: The Long Form

You can read 11 full chapters of my transition from Fire phone to iPhone 6 Plus in a Wattpad story I wrote titled Time for a Change.  I want to thank listener David Enzel for suggesting that I post a summary of my reasons for the switch here. I’d love to hear your comments on Fire v. iPhone, so please weigh in below. You can also email me at PodChronicles AT gmail DOT com.


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TKC 347 Tom Semple

Tom Semple

Software Quality Engineer in Santa Clara, California 

Interview starts at 13:06 and ends at 39:32

So if you have Evernote installed on your Fire, then it will be one of the options. You can put it directly into your notebook. It’s not quite as slick as I’d like, but it’s better than copy and paste.


My “Time for a Change” story at Wattpad including Chapter 11, “What I Will Miss Most About the Fire Phone.”

Click here to follow me on Meerkat


iPhone 6 Plus (unlocked) at Amazon.com

Unlocked Fire Phone

Scott Galloway on Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google (video) – January 20, 2105

Interview with Tom Semple


Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

clippings.io Kindle notes and highlights organizer

Marvin reading apps

Next Week’s Guest

R. U. Sirius and Jay Cornell, authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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TKC 346 Eric Migicovsky at SXSW

Eric Migicovsky

Founder and CEO of Pebble Technology Corp.

Interview starts at 7:54 and ends at 19:50

What we found is that as long as you’re open, and the watch is an open platform, people will hack on it, people will build. So there’s actually a Windows Phone for Pebble, there’s a Blackberry app. I’ll have to check to see if there’s an Amazon app.


Conversations at South by Southwest Interactive

Prof. Krystine Batcho of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. She was a panelist at a session titled “Pros and Cons of Constant Connection (Interview starts at 1:19)

Katherine Malm (4:39), longtime Kindle Chronicles listener, who owned with her husband Peter Pan Mini Golf in Austin.

Trip Adler (19:53) Co-founder and CEO of Scribd. He was a panelist at the session titled “Seemingly Seemless Seamless. (Also mentioned: Oyster, Kindle Unlimited, Juli Monroe’s Teleread post on comics at Scribd)

Alistair Somerville (27:09), a sensory design and cognition expert at Acuity Design, a Pebble watch wearer and participant in the “How Digital Can Shape the Future of Books” panel.

Dan Franklin (33:20), digital publisher at Penguin Random House UK and co-leader of the panel mentioned above. (Also mentioned: Anna Todd, a traditionally published author who got her start on Wattpad; Claude Lévi-Strauss) 

Interview with Eric Migicovsky

Pebble watch site

Pebble’s current Kickstarter campaign


Apple Watch

A Faster Reader app for Pebble at Google Play store

Pebble watch at Amazon.com


Our Daily Bread

Upcoming Guests

Tom Semple

R U Sirius and Jay Cornell, authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Persepctive” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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Disrupting Innovation – Book Publishing and New Media – Live Blog at SXSW15

panel photo

Panelists: Aaron Lammer, cofounder of longform.org; Jeff Umbro, digital marketing manager at Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Ryan Chapman, managing director of marketing and digital projects, BOMB Magazine, and Iris Blasi, Marketing director at Pegasus Books. Here we go…


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Serialized Fiction Panel at #SXSW15: Live Blog

IMG_20150316_093609Next up at South by Southwest, a panel about serialized fiction. There are a couple of folks from Plympton, a pioneer of the genre. And we’re off…

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SXSW Liveblog: Publishing Innovation – Next Century Reading

Up next here at South by Southwest Interactive: a two-person panel comprising Ashleigh Gardner, head of writer and publisher partnerships at Wattpad, and Jason Hovey, vice president of business development at Booktrack.

Naturally I will be interested to hear from Ashleigh Gardner, given my ongoing experiment at Wattpad. For comparison, I’ve also started a SXSW Journal at Amazon’s new entry into the community-writing space, WriteOn.

I am also familiar with Booktrack, because I interviewed co-founder Mark Cameron at Digital Bookworld for TKC 339. Here we go:


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