Monday, 5 April 2010

Audio magazines

"What?" I hear you ask. "What is an audio magazine?"

"It could be," I reply, "the future."

This afternoon, while contemplating how to deal with my ever growing pile of semi-read magazines, I had an epiphany.

I remember listening to stories on the radio after school in the mid-80s. My great-aunt would tune in to dramas. And then we stopped listening when the visual world of television took over the listening and imagining world of radio story-telling.

Some two decades passed before I dipped my ears into the world of audio books, spurred on by recommendations by Jenny Crwys-Williams on her 'Book Show' slot on 702 radio on Wednesday afternoons. Sure, I generally only listen to audio books on long drives, but I enjoy them and have found that it takes a while to adjust your ear to listening, as opposed to absorbing information that is primarily visual.

I've recently been listening to an audio book, which I saved on my computer. It's highly entertaining and I feel like I'm killing two birds with one stone; reading a book and completing other tasks.

But what to do about all of these magazines that I manage to only superficially flick through - mostly looking at the pictures - before I'm distracted by other things and the next magazine arrival? Electronic magazines (ezines) fall into a similar category because It requires me to flip the pages on my computer - an object I already spend too much time plugged into - to read articles of interest. There are so many articles - possibly quite interesting - that I just haven't come close to reading in the magazines scattered around my home.

And why don't I get around to reading these magazines, afterall, I plough through book after book? After a day (it's a long day that extends well into night because 99% of things I do are computer and online based) spent glued to my computer, answering dozens of emails, updating websites, writing articles and surfing the web for information and entertainment, I've had about enough of looking at and watching things.

I don't have a tv (by choice) so I frequently listen to the radio at night. It's on in the background while I mess on my computer, cook and such; but because they talk such trash at night, I may tune in to a music station or, as I've been doing recently, I listen to an audio book.

Now imagine an audio magazine where the tracks are sections in the magazine - interesting facts, how-tos, newsy snippets from the past month, interviews (where the person being interviewed actually speaks!), informative feature articles on people, places and things... even recipes! You could listen to the CD (or MP3) in the car or while washing dishes, cooking dinner, making school lunches, running/spinning in the gym...
I had a brief look online and there's currently no such thing. But maybe it is just me - I think it would be cool. Certainly an audio mag wouldn't replace a printed mag (just as ezines haven't replaced print), but as an alternative format.

History does repeat itself and listening to an audio magazine would take us back to those days when time moved more slowly and we listened more than we watched.


Anonymous said...


adventurelisa said...

PODcasts are not audio magazines. PODcasts are commonly recordings of interviews or items of interest that people can download and listen at a later stage. Many radio stations record interviews and PODcast them for those who missed the live broadcast. I'm talking about an audio version of magazines that we buy off the shelf. Certainly elements of a PODcast but more dynamic. Listening, not reading.