BlogTalkRadio to turn bloggers into talk radio hosts

Podcasts are fun to listen to, but they’d be even cooler if you could listen live and IM your feedback to the host in real time. The soon to launch service BlogTalkRadio will make that possible.

BlogTalkRadio is targeting bloggers who want to hold a live telephone conversation with up to 5 people on a phone line at once. Anyone can listen live to the call on the phone or through Windows Media Player, like a live web radio show. Listeners can also download an archived copy of the conversation later. Revenue from contextual advertising is split 50/50 with show hosts.

The site is live and users can register for accounts, but it looks like calls won’t be able to be performed until tomorrow.

Will a significant number of text bloggers want to go live by voice through a service like this? I’m not sure they will, but if they do BlogTalkRadio looks like a good service. It’s certainly trying to cross some barriers into easy multi-media self production – and make it live. In cases where the two media are integrated well this could be very cool.

The New Jersey company is headed by CEO Alan Levy, a telecom entrepreneur who sold a previous start up called Destia Communications to Viatel.

Previously profiled TalkShoe is a similar service, but requires a Windows only desktop client. TalkShoe has a more complicated revenue sharing model and doesn’t say what percentage of the advertising goes to show hosts. It allows up to 25 callers at once, compared to BlogTalkRadio’s 4 callers at a time. Waxxi, another service we’ve profiled here before, offers a similar service. Radio Handi is yet another option, see below in comments for more info.

BlogTalkRadio looks simple to use. Blogging requires one skill set, though, and juggling live phone conversations mixed with IM from listeners requires another. I imagine that a relatively small number of good blogs will produce good talk radio through a system like this. But maybe I’m wrong. I’m sure many people will want to give it a try. If successful, live talk radio could offer a powerful way to deepen the connection between a blog and its readers.