August 2008: The MIT Press Podcast

The stated purpose of the MIT [Press] Podcast is to highlight the authors of the MIT Press, and the standard format of two author interviews dividing the approximately thirty minute podcast into two segments does just that.

The MIT Press touts itself as the “only university press in the United States whose list is based in science and technology,” and the subject matter of the highlighted authors falls within these arenas in general, though it is by no means strictly limited to scientific and technological subject matter. Past podcasts have featured a wide variety of subjects, such as history, art and architecture.

Though the podcast does succeed in fulfilling its mission, it is fairly unremarkable in its format and production quality. What is remarkable is that the MIT Press finds it necessary to hire the third party podcast service Heron & Crane Productions to achieve these lackluster results.

At the risk of bringing the qualifications of a certain hack librarian to review technology podcasts under scrutiny, I question why the MIT Press would choose Chris Gondek to host the program. It would be difficult to argue that Gondek is by any means an incompetent host, as his questions are insightful and demonstrate a great deal of preparation and familiarity with the subject matter. But a somewhat monotone delivery and poor production values detract from what could be an excellent program.

It seems to me that MIT Press could find someone more qualified than an M.B.A. with two corgis and a bowtie to host their podcast. Further, it seems that a company that solely produces podcasts should be capable of delivering a higher quality product.

I won’t go so far as to suggest that this podcast isn’t worth listening to, but I will warn potential listeners to expect less than polished audio engineering. End of article

Rory Brown
rory.brown [at] gmail [dot] com