I think Tracy Sheridan’s Waxxi is a great idea: a scheduled podcast where people can call in and participate (Frank Gruber has more). The kickoff podcast is with Naked Converstions authors Shel Israel and Robert Scoble, on May 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM PST. If you would like to participate, register on the Waxxi homepage and you will receive a toll free number to call and a participation code. I do not know if there is a limit on the number of participants.
I have some unanswered questions about how the podcast will be handled. With a large number of participants anyone’s chance to actually talk much will be extremely limited. And I hope they will have some form of moderation to allow the host to keep control of the conversation (this is how public company earnings calls are handled – you press a button if you would like to ask a question and the host chooses you at the right time). A party line with dozens or hundreds of people would just be a mess. Also, Waxxi will have a simultaneous chat/im session running with the podcast. This is a great idea – and I hope that the transcript will be available along with the podcast (what we really need is a way to listen to the podcast with the IM archive rolling along at real time as well, but that would require the buidling of specific client software, something I don’t see suggested from the Waxxi site.
There are other experiments in this area as well. Skype just released a new product called Skypecasts, which allows moderated Skype calls with up to 100 participants. Although Skype does not have a record call feature, there are third party services that allow this (minus the simultaneous chat IM, though).
And Podserve has taken a different approach – allowing people to create feeds that a group of people, or anyone, can contribute to. They call it social podcasting.
I plan on participating in the first Waxxi podcast, although I’ll be calling in from Europe and there may be time difference difficulties. It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on.