Thursday, June 21, 2007
Tartan Podcast this week. After 2 years and 110 programs, producer and host Mark Hunter is closing out this portion of his podcasting career. The Tartan Podcast showcased upcoming independent artists in Scotland (especially Glasglow, where Hunter lived) and I discovered several excellent bands through the program, such as Gum and Kasino.
As the final episode played, I reflected on how the nature of audio has changed. Growing up in Northern Virginia, our family always listened to Harden and Weaver on WMAL in the mornings. They were brilliant broadcasters, entertaining and interesting in a low-key fashion. Although they had a successful 32 year run, and garnered several awards, little remains of their legacy (in fact, I couldn't even find an appropriate link for them).
You'll have to take my word for how great Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver were. To my knowledge there are no recordings of their broadcasts. It's not possible for anyone who didn't hear them on air to listen to examples of their craft now.
The Tartan Podcast is a different story. Mark Hunter will keep the website up, so anyone who is just discovering the program can listen to all 110 episodes. You'll have to take my word about Hardin and Weaver -- you can judge the Tartan Podcast for yourself.
But the purpose of this post isn't to contrast the transient nature of audio in the 1960's against the permanence of Internet audio. The Tartan Podcast has ceased production, but the show isn't frozen in amber for all eternity. Already some of the links on the site have gone bad. Kasino's called it a day, and the lead singer of Gum is now a solo artist.
The Tartan Podcast website will be around for a while -- as long as someone pays for the storage. Its possible that five, ten or even twenty years from now Mark Hunter will cancel the account, and the site and all its contents will disappear from public view.
The Internet has changed the way we listen to audio, and how its distributed, and even what happens when a program completes it run. For the Hardin and Weaver program, the show winked out of existence after their last sign-off; for the Tartan Podcast, it's the long goodbye. The time between that final post and the disappearance of the website might be measured in months, years, or perhaps even decades, but it will still be a finite period of time.
If you haven't discovered the Tartan Podcast yet, there's still time.