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Podcasting - Are you one?
Contributed by: Some Desi, at 2/23/2005 07:22:00 AM.

A podcast is much like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and she or he can listen to them at her or his leisure.

Podcasts differ from traditional internet audio in two important ways. In the past, listeners have had to either tune in to web radio on a schedule, or they have had to actively download individual files from webpages. Podcasts are more flexible and much easier to get. They can be listened to at any time because a copy is on the listener's computer or portable music player, and they are automatically delivered to subscribers, so no active downloading is required.

What is a Podcast?
A podcast is an audio mini-program, in MP3 format, broadcast over the Internet. You can download and listen to the podcast on any MP3-compatible digital music player, preferably an iPod, hence the name. The key innovation is that subscribers can subscribe to lists of MP3 podcasts and choose when to download them, taking their recorded shows on commutes, treadmills or flights, unlike traditional Internet radio, where music or other audio content is streamed at particular times and is not always made available for free. You can either download a podcast once or subscribe to the RSS service for regular doses of your favorite shows. Your podcasting software checks for new content and begins to download when you say so. Ideally, you connect your iPod to your computer and have it automatically sync the latest feeds via iTunes.

The beauty of podcasting is that it’s easy and generally free for listeners, while costing relatively little to producers. At least, this is true for listeners with unlimited broadband Internet access and large hard disks, since a 30-minute feed can mean a 20-Megabyte download. This means that podcasters also have to host large files. But podcasting means you, the listener, are your own radio program director: you can decide when, where, and how often to listen to an audio program.

How Podcasting Started
Podcasting is the brainchild of Adam Curry and David Winer. Curry, formerly of MTV Music Television fame, last year wrote iPodder software that could organize and download to his iPod newly posted audio files from websites of his choice. He encouraged others to improve on his coding, and volunteers from all over the world subsequently helped him perfect iPodder. He started his own half-hour podcast in the fall, “Daily Source Code,” featuring talk on new and interesting podcasts, tech news, and general chit-chat, with small bits of music in-between, and has attracted some 50,000 listeners.

Podcasting is a natural extension of the blogging phenomenon, which has continued to grow over the past few years. Many podcasters start out as bloggers, only to expand their platform further to the audio blog.

Listening to a podcast for the first time from the author of a blog you’ve been following religiously for months can be an almost surreal experience: suddenly you can match a voice to the name. This is how people must have felt when they first heard the voices of beloved actors after the silent movie era came to an end.

Read More:
Wiki: Link
iPodLounge: Understanding the Podcasting Revolution

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