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Leo Laporte wants to rebrand podcasts as 'netcasts' - I agree

David Chartier
David Chartier|October 7, 2006 11:00 AM
If you're a TWiT fan (or a listener of almost any of Leo's other 200 podcasts), you might have heard in the past couple of weeks that he's pushing to change the term 'podcast' to 'netcast.' He's even gone so far as to start using it in his lingo on the shows (at least on the few of his shows I can keep up with), and is looking to trademark the term. Now before you run off and flame TWiT's forums, just hear the man out - because I think he has a good idea.

Leo has a couple of reasons for hoping to move the mountain that is now podcasting. The first is Apple's recent bullish attitude towards the terms 'pod' and 'podcast,' as they've been filing their own trademarks and sending nastygrams to companies who get even just a little too close to using these words in their names or products. For a term that was born out of the grassroots web broadcasting movement and coined out of love for Apple's little music player, this understandably felt like a slap in the face to many - including even Leo, who was recently dubbed podcaster of the year. Of course, on the flip side of that coin, I can also understand Apple's interest in protecting their product likeness and the word 'pod.' After all - when else has such a goofy, nerdy word become such an icon? Oh what a twisted web of vocabulary and intellectual property we weave.

Leo's second reason, and one that I feel is a bit more significant, is the implication of the deep roots the term 'podcasting' itself has grown, in light of its relationship to the iPod as a word and a product. Leo laments that to so many of podcasting's new target demographic (i.e. - all the non-early adopters who aren't listening to them, yet), the term 'podcast' itself implies that one needs an iPod to download and listen to them. Of course, it's pretty obvious to us nerds that this assumption couldn't be farther from the truth, but that is exactly Leo's point - he wants to change the term to drop that stigma for 'the other half;' the people who might or might not have heard of podcasting, but ultimately don't know much about it. Podcasting is all about leveling the playing field so anyone with some talent can share it with the world - but in this context, the term 'podcasting' is a bit counterproductive to the effort of breaking down the walls for one and all.

Let's face it - there are a lot of other DAPs out there, and a ton of other products on which one can listen to music. The 'song' wasn't renamed to 'pong' or 'iPong' - maybe it would be better, and more accessible, to adopt a generic term like 'netcast,' so more listeners can join the party.