When the podcast revolution came, like any conscientious trend-surfing blogger, I joined. As an RSS-savvy talking head on Dial-a-Dork, back when it was still on the radio, I helped convert our existing MP3 show archives to podcast form. As it turned out, broadcasting on the netwaves made the transition easier when we eventually decided to forgo the airwaves.

It also turned out, of course, that I skipped town and underwent something of a career and lifestyle change. Partly due to technological limitations, but mostly due to time constraints, pitching in on Dial-a-Dork has since become a very occasional endeavor. Heck, iTunes tells me I haven't yet listened to the last three shows.

This is the paradox of the podcast. Compared with the written blog, it's far easier to create something to publish: you just talk. But the time you save costs every one of your subscribers, every time you post. Each of them needs significant chunks of network bandwidth to download it, disk space to store it, and time to listen to it. A blog entry I can skim, search, copy and paste, or machine-translate, and it loads instantly. If you would be heard, know that the discipline of writing significantly lowers the cost of being your audience.

While podcasting has serious shortcomings for general-purpose communication, it has its uses. Since a blog largely carries one voice in one direction, the podcast is well employed when it places multiple voices in interaction. Dial-a-Dork works due to its strong personalities and their complementary areas of expertise, and is even able to incorporate listeners into the show thanks to the near-live webcast. David Johnson's highly regarded What They Sang To Me succeeds because it takes fuller advantage of the medium, placing the host in a typically brief but personal conversation with the inherently auditory music and lyrics of song.

The lesson in all this, as usual, is that technology always needs people who know how to apply it wisely. On this I ruminated. What do I know about that lends itself to podcasting? I decided there was nothing worthwhile. Then, a few months ago, I had the bright idea of recording myself playing the piano piece I'd been studying. That way, I could listen and identify areas needing improvement. Or put it on the web somewhere in case anyone wanted to hear it. Or…

That settled it. I will have a podcast. It will be updated rather infrequently and it will consist of me making music. When I learn a new piece, or write a catchy composition (as in my previous post), I'll podcast myself playing it.

I'm waiting until my web publishing software of choice is updated to cleanly support podcasting. When it does, I'll announce my Schmonzcast here.