I love audio. There’s something magical, romantic even, about listening to a voice or voices which tease your imagination.

That’s a simple thought behind not only listening to audio but also why I like creating audio content in the form of podcasting.

I first heard about podcasting in September 2004 when Rex Hammock mentioned it. That’s when I discovered podcasting pioneers like Todd Cochrane, Adam Curry and Eric Rice.

The following January 2005, I started co-presenting For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report with my friend Shel Holtz. At that time, I lived in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; with Shel in California, USA, we connected and recorded our podcast via Skype.

Today, I’m in the UK but Skype is still the means by which Shel and I connect to do our show.

Since the first episode in January 2005, we’ve build FIR into a series, which today comprises the following six distinct podcasts:

  • FIR: The Hobson & Holtz Report – a twice-weekly show recorded on Mondays and Thursdays with commentary and opinion at the intersection of online communication, business and technology
  • FIR Live – a monthly live call-in show hosted at BlogTalk Radio where a topical issue is up for discussion by the two co-hosts and anyone who cares to call in or add an opinion in the chat room
  • FIR Cuts – occasional clips from the virtual cutting room floor of The Hobson & Holtz Report
  • FIR Interviews with newsmakers and influencers from the online technology and organizational communication worlds
  • FIR Book Reviews aligned with our theme of PR/communications and the online world
  • FIR Speakers and Speeches – occasional podcasts of speeches, keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and other recordings from meetings and conferences of interest to PR and communication professionals

FIR has evolved into much more than just a hobby as it was in the early days: today, we have sponsors:

  • Lawrence Ragan Communications – Serving communicators worldwide for 35 years.
  • CustomScoop – Save time with the CustomScoop online clipping service: sign up for your free two-week trial.
  • Pollstream – Helping you transform your communications goals into exciting strategies that will enable you to engage, educate and inform your customers and employees online

In April 2009, we conducted a survey to understand more about our listeners and what they want from our main show, which helps us as we continue to develop the show. You can see the concise results from that survey which we published in May 2009:

In the summer of 2007, McGraw-Hill published How To Do Everything With Podcasting by Shel Holtz with Neville Hobson, a 360-page book that walks you step by step through the whole process of creating, publishing and promoting your own podcast.

FIR has a vibrant community of listeners in the FIR Room on Friendfeed which has developed into the online place of choice for a core group of influential people to discuss topics of interest to other listeners.

If you haven’t listened to any FIR podcast, I hope you try one out. And contribute a comment if you wish.

There are a number of other places I pay attention to at the moment for audio, including:

audioboo84 Audioboo, billed as an ‘audio blogging application on the iPhone.’ It’s certainly captured a lot of imaginations and I’m finding it a pleasure to use.


ipadio130 A different proposition to Audioboo, ipadio is about phonecasting: you make a phone call and record your conversation, which you can do from any phone, mobile or landline.

In addition, I offer podcasting as a business service, from planning to recording to complete production. Take a look at the 20+ podcasts I’ve recorded and produced for client LRQA BusinessAssurance.com between 2007 and 2009, or the interviews I conduct from time to time for IABC’s Cafe2Go podcasts, to get an idea.

Yes, I love audio!

  • A note about the photo at the top of the page. From left to right: Shel Holtz, Elizabeth Albrycht and Neville Hobson. It was taken by Philip Young in Palo Alto, California, in March 2006 during the New Communications Forum conference organized by SNCR. Shel and I recorded FIR episode 116 live at the conference.

[Updated: June 19, 2011]