Listen to my music

Flourishing on its ethnic flavour, Malayalam podcasting is fast catching on, appealing to the vast Malayali diaspora spr

Published: 21st November 2008 11:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2012 05:02 PM   |  A+A-


Jo of M-Pod, a pioneer in Malayalam podcasting.

KOCHI: FM waves have been making a huge splash in Kerala for some time now. Wondering what the next big trend enrapturing young techno-savvy Kochiites will be? Podcasting definitely tops the list. A chic sibling of online radio or internet radio, podcasting flourishes on usergenerated, personalised content that truly has a global reach. Though a new phenomenon, Malayalam podcasting is fast mushrooming, catching the fancy of the vast Malayali diaspora spread across the world.

Joseph Thomas, from Thrissur and known as Jo, is widely acknowledged as the pioneer of Malayalam podcast. “I first heard about podcasts through a Tamil blogger from Singapore who signs off as Kaps. I was focused on music blogging then. Kaps introduced me to a wonderful podcast service, Podbazaar, which allows you to create podcasts even if you are not conversant with the technical nittygritty of it. So I went ahead and created a podcast for my songs,” says Jo. “As I read more about podcasting, I realised the potential it had as a citizen medium. I found there were no podcasts in Malayalam, even though there were some online audio content. So I launched M-Pod (, the first Malayalam podcast in cyberspace,” he recalls.

The relative newness of the medium offers a fresh platform, and you can define your own boundaries.

Podcast and internet radio (or online radio) may seem one and the same, but they are two different technologies. Internet radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Net. It functions much like a traditional radio except that there is no frequency limit. Podcast, however, offers subscription feeds (RSS feeds) which help the listeners download episodes to their portable media players like iPod or Mp3 player, without going to the podcaster’s website. With podcasts you are not tied down to a specific timeframe as with television and on-air radio programmes. You can listen to your favourite audio podcast show while on a drive, waiting for your bus or train.

There are quite a few podcasts in Malayalam now. D Pradeep Kumar, programme executive with All India Radio, who launched his Greenradio ( in September 2007, concentrates on audio skits and satires on social issues. Over 30,000 netizens visited Greenradio in the past 13 months, and his 59-minute audio skit, Vikatakeralam, tops the lists in downloads, followed by poems of P P Sreedharanunni.

Manoramaonline podcasts, which feature various segments like music review, lifestyle, religion, gadgets, campus line, environment, children, women etc, have considerable clout as a possible revenue generator. Audio albums, especially of newly released film songs as well as Mappilapattu, ghazals, folk and classical music can be marketed online through podcasts which surpass FM channels in quality of sound, which is digital.

Among the 15 major podcasters in Malayalam, noted singers Pradeep Somasundaran and Kallara Gopan have since shifted to audio websites. The rest are mostly poets including Kuzhoor Wilson. Some other podcasts have more of a literary flavour, at times used as a marketing ploy in the bargain. Kochi is steadily becoming a hub for bloggers and podcasters. “With M-Pod my target audience is the Malayali community spread all around the world.

The Malayali ethos changes over time and it reflects in everything. So you would see episodes about Theyyam, or traditional folk songs, which carry indigenous knowledge with them. I also present rock music bands and Indian English writers. I try to be as comprehensive as possible, covering almost everything in M-Pod - politics, entertainment, news, health, culture etc,” says Jo.

The most popular programme in M-Pod is the commentary on regular news from Kerala, which has had about 1,000 downloads to date and is still growing. The next hit is an interview titled “When two singers met” where playback singers Pradeep Somasundaran and Gayatri talked about music. This episode generated a lot of interest.

“You are always in a win-win situation as a podcaster.

There is excellent scope for optimising monetary returns through your podcasts,” quips Jo, adding his suggestions for winning: Produce quality content for your podcast; add intro music, use sound clips wisely and talk in a lively tone as voice modulation is of utmost importance.

Decide on a schedule for updating the podcast episode and stick to it consistently. Promote your podcast by adding it on internet podcast directories like,,,, so that it comes up in search results.

Then you can begin inserting paid ads in your episodes or insert Google ads. It’s a sure way to a happy pocket.

“However, I haven’t optimised M-Pod for financial returns.

I prefer quality to quantity so you will see large intervals between M-Pod episodes. I hate ‘space fillers’,” he shrugs.

With primary news broadcasters like BBC News, and radio stations like Chennai Big FM creating their own podcast link the dimension that this interactive medium gets as a convergent medium is truly spectacular. Podcast is indeed on the cusp of a boom.


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