I was excited at the announcement when mentioned at the PPME last September of a new show on the TWiT Network called, This Week in Law or TWiL. Finally a new podcast of the quality found on the TWiT network that would talk about issues with law in technology. Although I live in the UK and the podcast would be talking about American law and legal presidents, I am still interested as an American Citizen in the UK and the fact I do a fair amount of my business with American clients.
This review will serve to talk about my opinion as a podcaster and podcast consumer on the first edition of TWiL, where I think it is going, and maybe even where I think they have gone wrong already. I should point out right off the bat that I have not been asked by Leo or any of the other members of the TWiT organization to perform this review.
The show started like any other, with Leo’s message about TWiT shows and then a sudden special note that needs some feedback. Leo announces that there will be no TWiT this week as the other TWiTs took the day off, he also mentions that he will not be producing a podcast next week as he will be on a cruise. Further investigation into this shift led me to Leo Laporte’s blog where he stats and I quote:
“It’s about 80 degrees out – in all likelyhood the last nice day of summer in Northern California – so all the TWiTs decided to play hookey. At the same time. Unfortunately that means there will be no show tonight.
It’s my turn to play hookey next week. I’m off on a Geek Cruise next Friday, and will be gone through November 4, so there will be no TWiT next week either.
I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.
Meanwhile, enjoy our first this WEEK in LAW with Denise Howell, and thanks for listening. I’ll put it up on the TWiT feed in place of TWiT later tonight.
This is scary for devout TWiT subscribers, myself included. I will continue to follow this story and I have made a comment on a blog that seems to have been created for the very purpose of saving TWiT from cancellation.
Back to TWiL. After the show opens, the show’s host, Denise Howell who was already a podcaster on the IT Conversations, GigaVox Production – Sound Policy, introduces the panel and informs the listener that TWiL will be a twice monthly podcast and have a similar format to TWiT, which is a panel of people who get together and talk in this case Law in the technology sector.
The guests on the first instalment of TWiL are:
Cathy Kirkman – Cathy is the blogger behind the Silicon Valley media Law Blog
Ernie Svenson – Ernie is the author of Ernie the Attorney Blog.
John Palfrey – John is the former CEO of Napster Inc, a professor at Harvard Law School and is well known on the internet and investing communities.
So now we know who is taking part in the show, we move straight into the first topic, which happened to be the “MGM V Grokster” case. And the discussion begins…
I was pleased however to be right into the content. I was not pleased with the amount of background noise and interference over the dialogue and on the dead air. It sounded as if one or more of the microphones being used on the show was far to sensitive and as the time passes, it feels like one of the guests is actually sitting out on the highway. Traffic, office noises, breathing, rustling and generally non –broadcast conducive noises can be heard in the background and it is disturbing to the listener.
Now, as a podcaster, I can sympathise with the background noise for a few seconds, such as the rustling of paper or the moving of a chair, but the constant sound and other interference became wearing after a minute or so. This is a production problem that should be addressed immediately.
Speaking purely technically, the levels for the guests appear to be all over the place some good and some bad. If this podcast was created with the use of Skype it sounds like Skype is controlling the volume levels of the microphones, and as usual has taken them to a near inaudible level.
Without trying to sound melodramatic, if I had been listening to the show on my iPod instead of in the comfort of my home office, I would have turned the show off within 15 minutes. Although the saying content is king is my primary objective when listening to a podcast, I also listen for production quality.
I think the notion of This Week in Law is an excellent one, I think that talking about the law in technology especially with reference to the legitimacy of websites like YouTube which seem to skate over Copyright law is something that the podcast listening community definitely could benefit from. I don’t think episode 1 of TWiL was very well executed to meet the requirements of the podcast listener, but I am sure as Denise is a podcaster and will listen back to her first show she will makes notes and correct these errors.
I was excited about what This Week in Law had in store for the podcast listening community and I still am. I think the show has a great deal of potential with panel members who are obviously plugged in to the community on the level that a podcast needs to be. The fact that the panel members are bloggers is also helpful because they will understand to a certain degree the importance of the user generated content movement and be in support of helping Denise make TWiL a better experience to listen to. Needless to say, I look forward to TWiL 2.