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Podcast hosting splits NPR, affiliates

While National Public Radio has been a pioneer in podcasting, some local member stations are not happy.

It comes down to the relationship with listeners, according to Rafat Ali, publisher of PaidContent.org. He's covering the Public Broadcasting New Media Conference in Seattle this week.

''If you thought that the newspaper people were in the grips of a siege mentality, you should come and see the public radio and TV people," he wrote Friday.

Local stations worry that contributions from listeners will dry up if their programming is distributed through NPR's uber-guide, NPR Podcast Directory: www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.php.

''Organizations like NPR and PBS are arguing that there should be a centralized aggregation effort, a bit like a destination site," Ali reported, adding that affiliates ''want to make their local sites as the destination sites."

Meanwhile, almost 500 international newspaper publishers, editors, and marketers are in Paris wrestling with how the Internet has changed their business.

Vin Crosbie, a US-based new media consultant, warned the World Association of Newspapers to move rapidly ''to serve online advertisers or forever lose the classified advertising business" to Internet competitors like search engines and Craig's List.

A study from Parks Associates has found few new households are willing to subscribe to Internet services. At year's end, 64 percent of Americans had access at home, up from 62 percent in 2004.

According to Parks' survey of 1,000 US households, 39 million households have no Internet access. Most say they will not subscribe at any cost. Many said access at work is sufficient. ''I am not interested in anything on the Internet," others said.

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