business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Last week, sportswriter-turned-broadcaster Tony Kornheiser announced that he would end his daily radio program broadcasted in Washington, DC, later this month and launch a new podcast in the fall.

This is intriguing beyond the obvious point that someone of note is moving from traditional media to new media.

It is important to understand the context. Kornheiser began his career as a sportswriter, first for Newsday, then for the New York Times and then for the Washington Post, where he forged a long career as an outspoken and sometimes provocative columnist. He's pretty much given up writing, turning his attention to broadcasting - as co-host, with Michael Wilbon, of "Pardon the Interruption" on ESPN, and as host of his eponymous radio program, which has run on several stations in DC.

A major part of Kornheiser's schtick is his image as a grumpy old guy who doesn't "get" modern technology; he has long referred to the personal computer as "the Google machine," and iPods seem to be beyond his comprehension. But even in doing so, he has marveled on the air about the popularity of the podcast version of his radio show, which has earned him listeners around the world who send him tribute, compose theme songs and generally worship him as "the littles." (Count both Michael Sansolo and me as big, big fans.)

But the idea that he would abandon his traditional radio program and his declared love of "local radio" for a podcast? Fascinating ... and an indicator of where the world is going, away from traditional institutions and embracing new constructs. Which is what we all have to do in our businesses (and out lives, for that matter).

I'll be interested to see how the economics of it all work, where the sponsorship money comes from and how the content changes, if at all, to reflect the broadened audience and new venue. In part, my interest is related to the fact that I am occasionally urged by MNB readers to turn the site into a podcast. I'm not sure that the time is right for that - yet - but I am intrigued by the possibility.

FYI ... Sansolo and I generally spend about 30 minutes on the phone each day expounding on business, culture, politics, and assorted other topics ... we've often wondered if there would be an audience for those conversations, and the Kornheiser show has been a reference point. I should point out that our families will ask why we're talking when we should be working ... but our argument is that this, in part, is how we work out ideas for stories and columns and speeches and maybe even future books.

Count me in when the new Kornheiser show comes to the internet in September. it won't just be music for the ears ... it'll be an Eye-Opener.

And one final note ... if you're out on your bike tonight, do wear white.
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