Tuesday, August 09, 2005
With the number of podcasts growing fast, each day brings new and sometimes raucous programming. But unlike blogs or Web sites, you can't skim these digital radio programs to get the gist -- you need to listen to them. So to help you get started, the staff of BusinessWeek Online has compiled a list of notable podcasts, ranging from some of our favorites from the genre's pioneers to a few of the newest programs around. And after you've listened to these podcasts, take their poll and let them know your favorite.
Here are Business Week Online's top picks for the new genre of Net radio.
Take Me To The Podcasts
My pick? That's Right, Hands down: Voices From The Vault
* If this link opens as a Real Audio file and you want to listen in iTunes, simply copy the URL, go to iTunes>Advanced>Open Stream and then paste. Dig.
Among the Chatty Anchors, a Voice of Civility
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
The New York Times
He was not warm or cozily familiar. He was cool and even a little supercilious. If you invited Peter Jennings into your living room, he would be likely to raise an eyebrow at the stains on the coffee table. He was not America's best friend or kindly uncle. But in an era of chatty newscasters, jousting analysts and hyperactive commentators, he was a rare voice of civility.
That old-school formality is what will most be missing on the network news. On ABC, Mr. Jennings was a smooth, sophisticated anchor who could gracefully wing his way through the rawest breaking crises, from the Challenger explosion in 1986 to the Sept. 11 attacks. But so can many of the men and women who have been groomed to take his place someday.
What Mr. Jennings had that will be harder to replace was a worldliness that was rooted in his personality and also in his rich background of experience in the field.
Mr. Jennings, who died on Sunday, worked hard his entire life to overcome a flighty beginning: he never attended college, and got his start on Canadian television with the help of his father, a senior executive at the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Mr. Jennings became famous as the host of a dance show for teenagers and was only 26 when ABC News recruited him to be an anchor, more on the basis of his good looks and smooth delivery than anything else. He made up for it later, working as a correspondent in Vietnam, Beirut and Europe. His colleagues teased him about his dashing trench coats, but nobody looked better in Burberry or in black tie.
He took himself and the news seriously, so seriously that after the networks cut back on convention coverage in 2004, he insisted on anchoring those events gavel to gavel on ABC's tiny digital cable channel.
When bad things happened to the country, he was reassuringly calm and self-possessed, delivering live coverage of Sept. 11 without alarm or emotionalism. (And those few moments when he let some feeling show, choking a little and urging viewers to "call your children," brought home the gravity of the attack all the more poignantly.)
When bad things happened to him, he showed the same aplomb. When Mr. Jennings announced that he had to step down to be treated for advanced lung cancer in April, he shunned any hint of self-pity, thanking viewers for their support in the most reticent way possible.
"I will continue to do the broadcast; on good days my voice will not always be like this," he said, straining to sound jaunty. "Certainly, it's been a long time. And I hope it goes without saying that a journalist who doesn't value - deeply - the audience's loyalty should be in another line of work."
Mr. Jennings was not the last of the great white male news presenters, though it might have seemed that way after Tom Brokaw retired from NBC, Dan Rather resigned from CBS and CBS's chairman, Les Moonves, declared that the era of Voice of God anchors was over.
Brian Williams on NBC is as natty, self-possessed and buttoned-down as Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Jennings combined. Charles Gibson, who stepped in most often to replace Mr. Jennings when he began cancer treatment, proved a comfortingly familiar, competent face. For now at least, Bob Schieffer at CBS has introduced a no-nonsense note of the elder statesman after the nightly roller-coaster ride that was Dan Rather.
All of them remain in the classic anchor mold, but not one of them has the hauteur and dignity that Mr. Jennings brought to the news. Network newscasts have lost much of their audience and authority, but throughout all the setbacks, erosions and even his own fatal illness, he never lost his uncommon touch.