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MetaPod Notes

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I want to address a couple of themes that developed in the Yglesias comment thread but that have also appeared in other podcast threads. First, folks have expressed an interest in the material but a disinterest in listening to a podcast, asking for a transcript instead. This expression of interest in a transcript has also come from disabled folks for whom the audio context makes access difficult or impossible. I’ve addressed this elsewhere, but the reason we can’t offer transcripts is that the AI for generating them is spotty to the point of uselessness. As far as I can understand the standards for disability access to a transcript are around 99% accuracy, and even good AI can only generate 75% or so. This means that we would either have to devote an enormous amount of time to editing the AI generated transcripts, or we’d have to hire someone to do so. While I think there’s an obligation on companies of a certain size to provide podcast transcripts, doing so is simply beyond the resources of LGM at this time.

Second, I’ve seen a lot of people asking “why the pivot to podcast?” which, in all honesty, is a pretty good question. There are podcasts aplenty out there, and while LGM is filling a certain kind of niche it’s not as if the podcast world lacks content. The answer may surprise you: Podcasting is fun! Or at least it’s fun for me. I love having the opportunity to talk to Loomis and Lemieux about football, while at the same time being able to justify it to myself as a work initiative. I love being able to sit down and have a conversation with people like Ian Toll or Amy McGrath or Myke Cole, and the podcast is a wonderful excuse for folks to spend time on that kind of conversation. Podcast production surely is time-consuming, but the best parts of it genuinely are rewarding. In short, while we don’t have or expect to have a huge audience, the size audience is only a part of the justification for sitting down and having a conversation with interesting people.

So… I’m sorry that we don’t have transcripts, but that’s not a problem that’s going to resolve itself for a good long time (let’s hope for improved AI). And there’s nothing wrong with disliking podcasts, but appreciate that audience support is only part of the reason we do them. That anyone at all listens (and our stats suggest a good number of you do), is gravy, but we like gravy, too! Finally, I want to thank everyone who made suggestions in the Yglesias thread about folks who should be included in our Oral History. I am hoping that this will be a rewarding, long-term project and I’m hoping to talk with as many of the old school bloggers as possible before it’s done.

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