Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Podcast Reviews go on

More flights, more podcasts. Actually, I also listened to some while on vacation. Podcasts are wonderful when you have some time to relax and knit. Even better than books because you don't get caught up in them for hours. Case in point: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I had been holding off reading this because it is a large book and I know myself. I took it on vacation since I'd have time to read it. Here's how I did it -
Day 1: Read 40 pages
Day 2: Read rest of book till some time in the wee hours of the morning
This is my usual pattern when I find books I enjoy. I can't put them down. I generally only read books on weekends for this reason. Podcasts don't have this problem. They end much quicker.

Gwendolyn's Gifts: This is a podcast by a woman who has an Etsy shop. She discusses various topics like setting up a craft space and what is on her needles. I liked them because they are short but I also found that the podcasts didn't hold my interest very long. There needs to be some breaks and transitions between the segments.

Irie Knits
: This one hasn't been updated in a while. I thought it was entertaining, and again short and sweet. But the topic didn't hold my interest too long.

It's a Purl, Man: This one is by a knitting guy and he interviews a friend of his. The back and forth of the different voices makes for interesting listening. He is knitting a chuppah for his wedding and his sense of humor is infectious.

Knit Picks: This is also one of the biggies and obviously is associated with the online vendor. Kelley Petkun owns Knit Picks with her husband Bob. The podcast is intimate sounding, full of tips and techniques. She has a book review segment which is really nice and also discusses what is on her needles, the Knitter's Almanac project (knit all the items in sequence over the course of the year) and day-to-day events in her week. What I found off-putting was her intonation. She speaks slowly and clearly (so far so good) but she pauses at and thereby accents the wrong words in a sentence. It is hard to follow the sentence when there are pauses between the adjective/adverb and noun/verb. It sounds condescending and as if she is talking to a small child. It is also heavily scripted - which I think accounts for the intonation. I listened to four podcasts trying to give her a second chance. The only one where this didn't occur was in her interview with Vicki Square (Episode 23), where she is much more natural and the sentences flow more freely. I want to like this one but I'm not sure I can unless the intonation changes. I may email her and suggest this but I'm not sure how it will be received. I also would like a few more segues and transitions. There is only one - the introduction to the book reviews.

Knit Science: This is also a very technique-focused podcast. The author researches a particular topic and discusses it. A clear contrast to the Knit Picks podcast. I found the podcast easy to listen to. The two episodes ended with a story read by her son. I liked that. This one is going to stay on my rotation.

Knitters Uncensored: This one is lively as there are three people talking. One of the challenges of podcasting is to avoid sounding monotonous and this one succeeds because the three people are having fun. It is labeled 'Explicit' and contains some off-color jokes and innuendo. I enjoyed it. My only beef with it is that it is long. Each episode is approximately 90 mins. I also got the feeling that I was coming in in the middle of a conversation that I didn't fully understand. Of course, I only listened to the latest episodes so this is a correct statement. But it is more likely to happen, than not, that people will start listening with the current episode and then move on to listen to older ones if they like the podcast. So I wish there was a bit more background. All in all, I liked this one. I have to listen to the last episode again as the plane was noisy and I was dozing off due to jet lag. I decided to switch to 'A Night at the Opera' part-way through. That is one of my favorite albums of all time.

I have not yet even listened to half the podcasts I've subscribed to. My trips are almost at an end and it is going to be interesting to see how much I listen when I'm back home in my cozy recliner with my knitting. Will I choose podcasts or music?

To be continued...


Kelley said...

Dear Jaya,

Thank you for your observations regarding my podcast. You are absolutely right, there is room for improvement. I am still working out a system that keeps me from rambling along irritatingly but doesn't come out as dry as you noticed. Hopefully, things will improve over the next few 'casts.

Yours in knitting,
Kelley Petkun

Jaya said...

Hi Kelley,
Wow! I am so impressed that you came and left a message. Thank you for taking this the right way.

I love the content of your podcasts and I think if you just relax and use your script as a guide, it will be a lovely podcast.


Gwendolyn's Gifts said...

I just found this reference to my podcast. Thanks so much for even listening! I appreciate your critique (I'm still new to the podcast world!).