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Want stardom? Try podcasting
By Steven Chen (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-07 05:47

Local podcaster

For devoted podcasters, this is enough, says Brainman, the creative mind at Hiradio.com. Brainman, who prefers to go by his online moniker, is founder, tech wizard and driving force behind the online portal that offers professionally produced real-time radio besides hosting a multitude of podcast channels, with content all locally created.

"We do many different shows including local indie bands and interviews, live singing performances, discussions on art and culture, love and relationships, food, social issues and even politics," he says.

And in keeping with the spirit of this new age of egalitarian media, "we don't have any special rules about the content we create. We just do what we want to do and are happy if we can find an audience that likes what we are doing. We are the first site offering Cantonese language podcasts in Hong Kong, and most of our podcasters are first timers."

The website only began offering podcasts in April this year, just over a year after the concept first took hold in the United States, at the beginning of 2004. But in a testament to its popularity and the potential audiences it can reach, the site already boasts over 3,000 hits daily.

"Our listeners come from all age groups and comprise about 40 per cent of local listeners and 60 per cent of overseas audiences," he says. "People find links to our site using search words like 'indie bands' or 'indie dramas' as well as 'Cantonese podcast'."

While the website boss himself has scaled back on creating content to concentrate on managing the burgeoning site the site's runaway success has left him "too busy" he was one of Hiradio's original podcasters, he says.

"The programmes I did before were about world music and stage performances. Not popular subjects, but ones that I was interested in. I actually found that there were a lot of small groups of people out there that also had an interest in these topics and suddenly my audience grew."

And while much of the content being created by other undiscovered media stars is unmistakably amateurish poor sound quality and even poorer presentation Brainman is diligent about his work.

"When I did my shows, I did a lot of research," the podcast pioneer said. "I spent a lot of time thinking about the topics I wanted to present and that interested me, and I collected everything I could about them. You never know what can be useful."

While Hiradio's team of DJs delivers a diverse mix of content, the common factor is that "all of our podcasters love what they do. They love being hosts and have a strong desire to express themselves and their feelings and talk about things that are meaningful to them."

There is in no doubt in Brainman's mind that the growth of this new media will continue. "The number of visitors to the site has increased dramatically since we started to include podcasts into the site. Our hit rate has jumped."

Meanwhile, "many of my friends are starting to show interest. They know what podcasting is, but are taking a wait and see approach."
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