Thursday, August 21, 2008

LVW Column: Digital Vegas

Here's this week's Weekly column, using the success of the Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza to make the point about the lack of podcasts coming out of the MSM in Vegas.

Digital Vegas: Podcasts need to be portable to be relevant


Even for me, even with all that I say and write and do to evangelize the cause of digital media in this city, it was a stunning, perplexing, delightful moment.

My husband and The Strip Podcast co-host Miles Smith was similarly surprised. He arrived a little late, and, looking around the room, he asked me, “Are all these people here for this? Are you sure they’re not just hanging out here because they saw the lights were on?”

No, they were all there for “this.” And, in doing so, they proved something I’ve been insisting for three years now: Vegas enthusiasts and media consumers in general are thirsty for quality digital content by providers who respect them. They also want to be able to listen to, read or watch it wherever and whenever they want. And when these people find it, they’ll go to the ends of the Earth to support it.

The “this” that Miles referred to was the first-ever Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza, which he and I participated in on Saturday before an impressive crowd at the Palms. We performed a half-hour version of our weekly celebrity-interview show after a live half-hour version of Five Hundy By Midnight, a tourist-centric weekly show hosted by Minneapolis couple and Vegas obsessives Tim and Michele Dressen. And after us came The Vegas Gang, a twice-monthly program in which a panel of five gaming-industry experts mull business news.

None of us knew quite what to expect, and nervous “I hope people come” text messages flew between us on Saturday morning seeking mutual reassurance. We got a bit of a late start promoting the thing because the idea only occurred to Vegas Gang moderator Hunter Hillegas, owner of, around Father’s Day, and details were only nailed down around the Fourth of July. We timed it to occur during the New Media Expo, the year’s largest podcaster convention, because Tim and Michele were attending that, and we figured that fellow podcasters, at least, would show up to support the effort.

But it didn’t go like that. There were a couple of folks from the conference, but then there was the couple from Oklahoma City who planned an impromptu vacation around it. There were the folks from Miami who gave away tickets to the 6 p.m. Mamma Mia! to come see us instead. And there was the guy from Southern California who flew in and out that night. Not to mention the countless folks who watched the proceedings via the streaming Internet video provided at by owner Chuck Monster, another Vegas Gang panelist.

I don’t mean to merely prattle on about this to brag about our success. But our impressive attendance underscored that I’ve been right all along. Each of the producers of the three shows at the Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza knew the sizes of our audiences, and we knew from e-mails, blog posts and voice messages that our listeners are quite engaged. Still, it was a mental twist to see so many of them in the flesh.

Why it is taking so long for Las Vegas’ mainstream media to figure out that the future is in content that can be consumed whenever and wherever the user wishes is baffling.

Read the rest HERE


gregoryzephyr said...

I was disappointed with this piece, Steve. You basically hyped alternative media but with no substantial follow up as to why traditional media needs to get with the program.

Moreover, I think it would have been helpful to make a case for why advertisers/sponsors (or lack thereof) are missing the boat. I wish you would've generated some stats that showed how many podcast listeners are out there. And, while an individual niche podcast may not reach thousands of people, collectively the audience for all podcasts is probably in the millions.

The problem as I see it is that there is no aggregator for ads on small podcasts in the same way as Google's Adwords works with small blogs and websites. Why can't iTunes (and rapidly growing Zune) develop the ability for a single advertiser to place ads on hundreds of relevant podcasts? I realize there are some services that do this but iTunes and Zune are like the CBS and NBC of the 1970's with the majority of listeners coming through them. Talking to Apple and Microsoft about any ideas they have for monetizing podcasts would actually be kind of an interesting article.

Oh well, I hope you'll keep preaching the new media gospel. Just try to include some ideas about how to move the industry forward as well.


God, Gregory, do you have to be such a hater? HAHAHAHAHA Just kidding. Your complaints are so noted. Fair enough.