Monday, May 04, 2009

Radio 4's iPM, the East Belfast Herald, and the rights issues that mean podcasts are shorter than the original radio programmes

iPM logo

I've been listening to Radio 4's iPM for ages, and I usually resist the temptation to participate by commenting on their blog or emailing in a sentence to describe an event in my week. But their trail a couple of weeks ago for an upcoming piece on the demise of the local newspaper trade came right on the back of meeting Fiona Rutherford, editor of the recently launched East Belfast Herald (mentioned on AiB).

So I popped a comment on the iPM blog and thought nothing more about it until I listed to Saturday's podcast - and was ever so slightly disappointed that they hadn't picked up the story of a local paper launching in the face of an industry trend that favoured closure.

East Belfast Herald logo

Then Fiona emailed this evening to say that she'd been interviewed on Saturday for iPM.

Did I sleep through that bit of the podcast?

No. Sure enough, on Listen Again/iPlayer (the one week catch up service for the radio programme) the interview is there just before the 8 minute mark, tucked in-between the end of the Andy Burnham interview and listeners' news. But because the item was overlaid with some scene-setting Van Morrison music, it had been stripped out of the podcast.

Unlike the Listen Again version, the podcast doesn't spontaneously combust after a week, but lives on on your hard drive until you delete it, so the rights payments for using the music would presumably be higher.

The upshot? BBC podcasts are usually shorter than the original radio programmes, with any significant music (and the words spoken over the music) removed. And in this case, about two minutes shorter: Fiona's interview - the one item in the programme I was looking out for was completely missing. Edited out.


whynotsmile said...

Yeah, they do this quite often on BBC Radio podcasts. It's kind of annoying - why can't they choose the music a bit more carefully, or at least make sure nothing important is said over it?

Still, it's always available online for a wee while, so it's not so bad!

Killer said...