Podcasting is a new format for distributing audio and video content over the Internet. From the technical viewpoint, podcasting involves nothing new – it’s just embedding of multimedia-content (audio or video) into an RSS feed.
It is not difficult to create a podcast. There are both specialized web services and desktop applications for the task. Structurally, a podcast is an RSS file that contains links to enclosure files. Apple has developed iTunes – an RSS extension for use with podcasts. iTunes significantly improves upon the capabilities of RSS by providing additional fields (such as keywords, duration etc.) for use in describing enclosures.
The most popular way of getting audio files for podcasting is to record them from the microphone and compress the file into MP3 format. There is a free program called Audacity (http://www.audacity.sourceforge.net), which does this rather well. To create and publish the RSS feed, you can use the RSS Feed Creator software (http://www.webvigour.com/), which is extremely easy to use.
When all multimedia files and the RSS feed of the podcast are ready, they must be published on a web-server in order for the users to be able to access them.
Podcasting is rapidly becoming more and more popular. More and more users become aware of it every day. This can be explained by the so-called “iPod phenomenon.” In 2005, “podcasting” became the “Word of the Year” of the Oxford Dictionary. Podcasting is used in very different fields: mass media, marketing, production and even religion.
Many people predict that podcasting ultimately will replace radio. For instance, if you are traveling on subway, you usually cannot listen to the radio. Even if you can, the number of radio stations is rather limited. In the best case, you might be able to learn about world events, but not about, say, the features of new RSS readers.
Now imagine getting up in the morning and taking your mp3 player (or connecting it to your automobile audio player) and while on your way to the office being able to listen to the news published on your favorite website, just like you used to listen to the radio. The news segments were downloaded and synchronized with the player automatically when plugged into your computer overnight. Fantastic? No. Reality! This is the possibility that podcasting provides.
So, as you can see, podcasting combines the best of the two widespread methods of distributing information: Internet and radio. You can subscribe to the pieces (podcasts) that you are interested in and listen to them when and where you want.
Isn’t that the future of radio?
About the author.
Marina McCartney – Marketing Assistant of Webvigour Software company, and the author of a series of articles and reviews related to RSS, podcasting, marketing and programming.