Slacker Astronomy the end?

There are certain radio programmes that I will listen to regularly as a loyal listener because they make me laugh or are interesting and thought provoking. In the last few years I have expanded my list of favourites to take in more radio programmes from around the rest of the planet Earth. I especially listen to those that are podcast as I can save them and listen to them away from my computer. The podcast revolution has not just allowed traditional radio stations to reach a wider audience; it has allowed the rest of us to add content and style to the mix on topics such as astronomy.

For me, the first true astronomy podcast was Slacker Astronomy which started in February 2005. Others have claimed to have been going longer but I suspect that was only by adding a back catalogue of existing radio programmes. Nevertheless, it was the first that I became aware of in early 2005. Since those early beginnings they have had, by my estimation, 69 main shows, 10 chit-chat shows and 25 assorted others. With their weekly mix of stories and a lighthearted approach (some would say cheesy but of course I won't say that) they reached regular audiences of around 15,000 listeners, and were often ranked in the top 25 Science podcasts in Apple's iTunes directory. They were living the dream of astronomy super-stardom. But now the dream is over. Slacker Astronomy is no more.

This is starting to sound like an obituary. Is it really the end? Well, no. Slacker Astronomy has just broken up into mutant astronomy offspring including two podcasts and a Wiki. Pamela has gone her own way and teamed up with Fraiser Cain of Universe Today to make a new podcast named AstronomyCast and they have a show out already. The rest of the Slacker Team, along with some of the occasional guest presenters, are reforming to make a new monthly hour or two long podcast which will be a mix of the old show and the chit-chat shows (the format sounds strangely familiar!). Oh, and they have come up with a new name: Slackerpedia Galactica. I assume that the name is to make people think of the Encyclopedia Galactica in Issac Asimov's Foundation or the one with the same name in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Whatever happens to Slacker Astronomy derivatives in the future, I hope they speed up their servers a bit.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 15th Sep 2006 (17:01 BST) | Permalink
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