Picture by Gauthier Delecroix

Update, 9 February 2019. In this post, written last year, I predicted that the glorious chaos of podcasting would begin to consolidate and that one big corporation would try to do a Netflix and begin to build a big library of exclusive audio. I may have got the name of that corporation wrong — in fact I relegated them to an appendix in the original post— but Spotify just made their move and it looks like the consolidation has actually begun…

If podcasting is going to become a real business it’s going to have to leave the commercial dark ages…


This is not about the 90% of podcasts that are still three people at a table talking about something. Nor is it about all those podcasts that are basically a byproduct of radio production. It’s about the new stuff — the bigger, glossier, narrative formats that are going to change audio and storytelling for good. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two is about the platform battle

Podcasting is evolving fast. There’s a strong sense that we’ve passed some kind of tipping point, that this is how we’re going to consume audio (the stuff that isn’t live…


(Warning: this starts trivial and then gets sad pretty quickly. Sorry.)

I‘ve been on Twitter for twelve years.

That’s one fifth of my life and 46,000 tweets. At one minute each, that’s a month of continuous tweeting. At eight hours per day and with two days off per week that’s getting on for six months of writing. If I’d been paid for all that work I’d be… Actually, why would I go there? So here’s a souvenir of that first month, learning my way around this new world. My first 49 tweets, in order (and with some extra context).

Tweet number 1 — 10 February 2007


The suits at Twitter closed Vine.

Stupid stupid stupid.


Podcasts are on fire. Not literally on fire — I mean they’re hot. Not Snapchat hot but definitely craft beer hot or eyebrow threading hot. There’s still no economics here (although there are mattress ads and some subscription stuff) but you can’t dispute that audio is evolving faster than ever and that more people — inventive amateurs and mega-corporations — are playing than at any time since the whole thing began. And whenever things are evolving fast you see new forms and new ways of presenting the old ones and it all gets very exciting.

So here’s a trend. Swipe…


For a few days in 2016, we thought we’d finally found out who Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is. But then. Hold on. No we hadn’t.

Eight big moments in the history of an enigma. Or something.

31 October 2008. The paper that started it all

This is the paper that introduced us to Bitcoin and to its inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s a pretty dry, nine-page paper, including the footnotes (and here’s Satoshi announcing it, on a cryptography mailing list). There are equations, flowcharts and tables and it famously concludes:

We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust. We started with the usual framework of coins…


I took these pictures in and around St Nicholas Night Market, which was the location of the BBC Introducing stage during the very joyful 6 Music Festival in February 2016. For some reason almost everyone was laughing and laughing… They’re all, incidentally, published under a Creative Commons license, so you should feel free to use them.


On the 93rd anniversary of the first outside broadcast, some local radio magic — with a famous astronaut, an amateur radio link to space and a load of brilliant school kids from Hertfordshire.

Pupils at Sandringham School, a state secondary school in St Albans, near where I live in Hertfordshire (North London commuter belt), were the first in Britain to link-up with Tim Peake, the Brit on the International Space Station.

And they did it directly, using amateur radio. No fancy NASA uplink and no broadcast-quality video. Jessica, a pupil at the school, crammed an operator’s course into a few…

Arnold

I’m a trustee at the amazing Poppy Academy Trust, a social media editor in radio, a poet and a volunteer at Watford Refugees.

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