BlogTalkRadio is you chance to host your very own radio show, participate in, or just listen to one. The service’s been around for some time, and has attracted quite a few celebrities, both online and the more traditional kind. With that in mind, I got in touch with Community Manager Deborah Ng to hear what she had to say about BlogTalkRadio, podcasting, and other things. The interview was a treat to good to pass up.
Not everyone might be familiar with BlogTalkRadio. Could you tell us a little about the service?
BlogTalkRadio is a free service allowing anyone with a telephone and a computer to be a talk show host. There’s nothing to download and no equipment to buy. For someone like me who is technically challenged it’s the perfect way to fulfill a lifetime dream of talking on the radio! As soon as you sign as a host you’re provided with a switchboard, a chat room, both host and guest call in numbers, and all the tools you need to become a successful online radio host. Many of our hosts have built up quite a following and have lively chats accompanying their shows. Some of them have even booked such guests as Brad Pitt, Jimmy Fallon, Senator John McCain, Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki.
Anyone can start a free talk show using BlogTalkRadio. How many shows are there?
A lot! We have thousands of people signing up to our service each week, and several hundred shows airing live every day.
How would you recommend bloggers to put BlogTalkRadio to good use?
BlogTalkRadio is a terrific way for bloggers to expand on a short blog post or establish their expertise by discussing their topics in detail or interviewing experts and authors in their niches. They can also request to be a guest on other shows by filling out the form on the BlogTalkRadio website or requesting to be a guest in that folder at the BlogTalkRadio forum. It’s a great way to turn your own blog into web 2.0 at its finest. Interactivity with your readers creates an environment that they can become emotionally invested in, and provides them with the sense that they truly know you, as a blogger and as a host.
There are some big names and brands featured on BlogTalkRadio. Which are the hottest one right now?
The FlyLady, Marla Cilley, has built an incredible listener-base on BlogTalkRadio and has over 500,000 subscribers to her daily Yahoo e-bulletin. Other popular shows include the Wal-Mart’s 11 Moms Network, including Frugal Coast2Coast and Tech Moms Talk featuring none other than @geekmommy herself Lucretia Pruitt, the CrunchGear show, Boing Boing’s Make:Talk, SOBcon Radio and Jim Turner’s Social Mediasphere. We also have major corporations including Sun Microsystems and Woman’s Day Magazine’s RadioWD as well as the Pentagon that have their own Branded Networks on BlogTalkRadio.
The new Cinch feature is cool. Tell us a little bit about it, please!
The aptly named Cinch allows users to call in to a number and record sound bits which are then immediately archived over an RSS feed. These sound bits can be used to do on the street interviews, record thoughts and ideas, mashups, and more. Some call it “Audio Twitter,” because it’s so quick, so easy, it really is a Cinch!
Other than Cinch, what are you doing for mobile bloggers?
BlogTalkRadio now has a mobile site, allowing you to listen to us anywhere! The mobile site is via m.blogtalkradio.com, and it is a nice way to listen to your favorite shows in the car, or on the go. A few important details about our mobile site I just want to pass along to your readers:
- iPhone users can steam both live and archived show to listen to anytime they like.
- BlackBerry users can stream archived shows and call in to listen to live broadcasts.
- All other smart phone owners can still listen to streams in our archives and dial in to listen live.
Video has often been portrayed as the next step for blogging, forgoing podcasts, at least pre-Twitter. How do you think all this fits together?
Webcasting certainly has its place, but podcasting is where it’s at. With BlogTalkRadio, anyone can conduct major interviews using a phone line, from anywhere in the world. This allows for the Mom in Boston to conduct an interview with the A-List Celebrity in Hollywood without having to hassle with in-person meetings and all the time requirements that entails. You can’t do that with Webcasting quite as easily. Webmasters who have been successful will likely tell you that when you are providing content, the variety of the webcast, podcast, Twitter and traditional article or blogpost give your readers a nice variety of media-rich content. Adding live broadcasting with archivable content allows for the interactivity both via taking callers and in live chat, and adds a whole new dimension to your overall message.
Finally, what’s next for BlogTalkRadio?
BlogTalkRadio is now offering Branded Network packages to many businesses. Already signed on are Century 21, Wal-Mart, the Pentagon, Sun Microsystems, Woman’s Day and many others. With these branded packages our clients receive production tools and live producers to use during their broadcasts, their shows featured prominently on the BlogTalkRadio home page, heavy promotion from the BlogTalkRadio outreach team and many other perks.
I’d like to thank Deborah Ng for taking the time to do this interview. Make sure you check out BlogTalkRadio, it might be something for you, wether your a listener or a potential host.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.