The favorite website of many a techie is jumping on the podcasting bandwagon.
Techmeme, the go-to website for the day’s aggregated technology news, has announced a new daily audio program for its most diehard readers. For the uninitiated, Techmeme launched in 2005 and has become a go-to source for top industry news. Its layout is simple: bulleted links to the day’s top stories with a sentence or two explaining what the news is. It also includes other links to online discussions about the subjects at hand. The stories are hand curated by a team of aggregators trawling the web for the latest scoops.
The 20-minute podcast, called the Techmeme Ride Home, is hosted by Brian McCullough, the man behind the Internet History podcast. The stories will be curated by Techmeme’s internal team, but McCullough will spend the day writing the segments.
According to McCullough, he’d been batting around the idea of doing a tech podcast for quite some time now. He’d talked about doing one with another brand, which he declined to name, but the effort fell through.
The format for the new Techmeme podcast is pretty similar to Techmeme’s actual website. McCullough reads the headlines, explains what’s going on, and then includes some online discussion to pepper in analysis. He reads tweets, quotes articles, and then a musical break fades in to herald the next tech news bullet point.
I listened to an episode, and it certainly feels aimed at folks who live and die for tech news. It comes off as a sort of unvarnished, extended NPR news brief, which is admittedly good for those who just want to know what’s happening. “We are betting that listeners want something more than a voice,” McCullough wrote to me. “Aggregation just hasn’t been done well in a daily tech news format, and we expect listeners will appreciate the utility we provide that, basically, no one else is doing in podcasting at the moment.”
Gabe Rivera, Techmeme’s founder, had been contemplating a project like this for a while. Currently, Techmeme makes money by selling placement on its website. Companies advertise events as well as publish sponsored posts, which helps the bare-bones company make money. It’s a pretty smart business, and Rivera has become a quiet leader in the tech news space by creating a truly no-nonsense destination for everyone else’s news. Journalists, meanwhile, crave the singular validation of getting a Techmeme citation.
The podcast is also another potential revenue driver, and Rivera told me over email that he expects ads on the program soon. He added that Techmeme is in the midst of an expansion, which Rivera sees happening in a number of ways. “I’ve been threatening that we’ll release a Techmeme email newsletter,” he said. It could be launched as early as this year.
For now, those who hunger for the top aggregated technology headlines can listen to them rattled off by McCullough five days a week. The Ride Home, Rivera admitted, isn’t for everyone. “[D]efinitely not for the millions who live this news,” he said.
Still, it’s a new project for the ever-so-simple website, one that aims to take advantage of an emerging medium. “Hopefully there will be a good cross-promotion aspect, as well as a meaningful revenue bump,” he said. “Looking forward to finding out!”