I have done a fairly comprehensive (but not exhaustive) review of cycling podcasts over the past few years, and Cyclingnews was one that I liked, although it did have its critics.
It usually takes a hiatus in the off-season, but as the early races kicked off and the classics got underway, it still hadn’t re-emerged. I spoke to Daniel Benson, editor of Cyclingnews.com and got the lowdown.
I had assume time was the issue, with the focus of cyclingnews being with online written content, and a relentless schedule of races to be covered. After hearing about the staff numbers (surprisingly low) in an interview with Daniel on the Flammecast, I realised that podcasting isn’t the priority!
Cyclingnews, like most news sites, is funded by advertising and keeping readers on the site is the objective. Podcasts for the most part haven’t found a way to pay for themselves and are largely provided by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers for the time being.
Daniel explained the need for Cyclingnews to monetise the podcast and it’s clear that while the shows had some insighful content the audio format wasn’t right for them. A few of the comments from blog readers went along the lines of: with the access they have to riders, we’d expect better interviews with riders and people inside the pro peloton.
This is exactly what we are seeing now on Cyclingnews with more and more video interviews with riders cropping up. I first noticed these on youtube, such as the Jens Voigt interview below, ahead of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. However, Cyclingnews have moved to another video platform that protects the content on their site, a sensible move from the publisher’s point of view. You don’t really want clips embedded into blogs or retweeted– putting the reader next to the ads is what pays the bills for a site like this.
The classics was a stepping stone, and we’re now seeing video clips all over the site, such as these spots with David Millar and Christophe le Mevel after the punishing stage 15 of the Giro. These are brief clips, but it’s always hard to get riders to talk at length after a stage, when recovery is the first thing on their mind.
The video diaries with Team Netapp at the Tour of California are an interesting development and it would be great to see something like this with the bigger teams, along the lines of Cervelo’s Beyond the Peloton.
They have a full time videographer now, so you can expect to see more, higher quality video and rider interviews in the future.
A final note- I’d still like to see the Procycling podcast return during the Tour de France. Although a bit ragged around the edges, it’s fun to hear the banter and get a glimpse of the cabin fever that journalists experience during the world’s biggest bike race.