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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Podcasts are like life

Podcasts are really interesting things. If you listen to one regularly you develop a strange affinity with the people on it and tend not to like it when there's any kind of shuffle of the personnel.

I'm a big fan of The Game, the weekly football podcast from The Times. Actually I'm a big fan of The Game as it was two seasons ago when it was chaired by the indefatigable Danny Kelly and featured Gabriele Marcotti, who makes Geoff Boycott seem self-effacing, Alison Rudd, who used to sing a football song every week, and Bill Edgar, an anorak's anorak. It was perfect because it didn't try to get clever. It just put the week's football events through the same mincer every Monday. I would have paid 70p a week (the price of The Times) to listen to it but nobody has yet worked out a way of taking that money off me.

At the beginning of last season Danny Kelly left and they put Marcotti in charge, which was not playing to his strengths. At one stage he was so aggressive I thought Kevin Day was going to hit him. They introduced interviews, most of which didn't work. The appeal of the podcast is it sends a gust of opinionated air into an arena in which most speech is a waste of breath. With rare exceptions its talks with standard "football folk" were the dullest part of the show. Alison Rudd disappeared and instead we got a rotating cast of football writers from the papers, most of whom don't begin to understand podcasting and give the impression that they regard it as an effete distraction from their real job of heaping ink on paper. But nonetheless I listened.

Now the new season arrives and they've got Phill Jupitus in to present. Phill's very good but you can't help but think that they went for somebody who's built upon the same lines as Danny but lacks the latter's zany attack and willingness to fill any space with his own opinions. The other thing about getting somebody like Phill in is there's presumably money involved, money that nobody in the podcasting world appears to be getting back in either sponsorship or advertising. I'm still here with my 70p but for that I might insist they get Danny back.