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DAR.fm ranks the podcasts with the broadcast shows

I love it when I get mail! After reading my post about Stitcher’s podcast charts, Michael Robertson, online audio pioneer, founder of MP3.com and current CEO of DAR.fm emailed me today to let me know that his site also features charts for all the programs that users record, right on the home page.

I knew that DAR.fm–which I wrote about last year–lets users record just about any radio station or program available in an online stream, like a “DVR for radio.” What I didn’t know until Robertson contacted me is that the service also has podcasts in its directory, letting DAR.fm users include them alongside their recordings of broadcast programs.

Robertson explains,

"We have about 22,000 shows and commingled in that list are a few

thousand podcasts. Podcasts are great, but most AM/FM shows have no

podcasts which is why it’s such a frustrating user experience. …

“The DAR.fm user experience is identical for every audio show. Users

search for a show, click the Record button and get all future

broadcasts. The system figures out how shows need to be acquired.

Users don’t care how the transport mechanism works – they just want

their shows. ”

The DAR.fm “top shows” chart is pretty well dominated by syndicated broadcast programs through the top 40. But digging into some subcategories shows some podcasts edging into the top 10. Comedy, not unexpectedly, is one such category, where Marc Maron’s WTF stands at #7 and Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend ranks #11.

It is quite interesting to see where podcasts rank against broadcast radio programs, although DAR.fm does not distinguish between the two types. You can click through to the program’s website, which will indicate whether its a podcast or not. But unless the word “podcast” is in the show’s description, there’s no other indicator.

Of course, this is consistent with Robertson’s stated intent of making the experience seamless for the user, letting her pick whatever audio content she wants to hear, regardless of the medium. It’s also consistent with my assertion that podcasting is really just a natural extension of radio.

I asked Robertson how podcasts and programs get added to DAR. He said that users can add stations and programs by clicking “change the guide” at the bottom of any page.

When I first wrote about DAR.fm almost exactly one year ago, I was a little lukewarm on the service, wondering if it is “a decade too late.” Since then I’ve warmed up some, especially since there are a few more devices, like Grace digital radios and Logitech’s Squeezebox, that will access DAR recordings directly. As well, the ability to subscribe and listen to broadcast radio more like it is a podcast–especially when a podcast version isn’t available–is very appealing to a radio lover. I’m even more warmed to it now that I’ve learned that DAR includes podcasts alongside broadcast shows.


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