Power for the People ||
by enthusiasts as contagious and addictive, podcasting has grown exponentially,
as more and more people join the grassroots media movement by launching their
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Podcasting fans have
praised the new phenomenon for democratizing radio production by providing new
voices and more music choices to the public.
"[This is] a whole new
marketplace, a land of the free and the home of the smart, the talented and the
enterprising," technology expert Doc Searls wrote on his Web log.
the medium is only six months old, there are 3,075 podcasts worldwide, according
Ipodder.org, a site where people can download free podcasting software. The majority
of podcasts focus on technology, ad-libbed comedy episodes as well as random personal
observations, which are basically audio versions of text-based blogs.
high school student Win Nadeau recently started podcasting, available on his blog,
dailygrindcoffee.blogspot.com. Nadeau wants his podcasts to "offer a look
at what is happening through the eyes of a high schooler." Nadeau regularly
talks about his many interests that distract him from his homework.
I just realized it was still playing ... the song that has been playing in the
background is called 'Happy Daze' by the Jeep Jazz Project on the album Digital
Flavor on the Sonic Frontier. It's a really good album, kind of jazz remix kind
of stuff," Nadeau says in one of his self-described "rantings."
Other podcasters steer away from this "audio-blog" format and
play music, a more common radio program. The difference is podcasters can feature
their friends' or their own songs, and perhaps some favorite local bands -- clearly
not the kind of music typically heard on commercial radio.
"Insomnia Radio Podcast: Kill Your FM!" bluntly describes itself as
a podcast "showcasing independent music and unsigned acts, untouched by corporate
does podcasting work? |
podcast is a kind of audio recording that anyone with a computer, Internet connection
and software programs can create or listen to. The subjects of these home-spun
audio programs run the gamut from political debates and lively movie reviews to
Christian music and conversations about new technologies. The quality also ranges
from a sophisticated production to a barely audible soliloquy.
"podcasting" derives from blending "broadcasting" and "iPod,"
even though any MP3 player can be used, not just Apple Computer's device.
medium evolved through a collaboration between former MTV VJ Adam Curry and software
entrepreneur Dave Winer, among others, over the summer of 2004. That August, Curry
launched the first podcasting computer program using a code called "RSS,"
or "really simple syndication," which also applies to text files.
Internet radio has been around longer, the major innovation of podcasting was
simplifying the production and distribution of audio content.
explain the process simply, an audio file is posted to a Web site, where it can
be downloaded to a digital audio player, such as an iPod or any other MP3 player.
Then, people subscribe to their favorite podcasts to have those audio shows automatically
-- and conveniently -- delivered to their MP3 player or computer as soon as a
new audio file is available.
Likened to a TiVo for radio, people can pause,
fast-forward and rewind the audio program and, since it isn't live, people can
listen whenever they want. And, unlike traditional radio, individual podcasts
are not subject to government regulation, time limits or interrupted by commercials.
number of listeners/subscribers to podcasts has also grown exponentially. FeedBurner,
a site that manages podcasts, registered 13,500 listeners of its podcasts at the
beginning of January. Just one month later, that figure jumped to 24,000 listeners.
podcasts continue to flourish, traditional broadcasters are taking notice. For
instance, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the
British Broadcasting Corporation make some programs available as podcasts.
"As the listeners demand more (radio) programs again, first in the form of
podcasts, look for (broadcast radio) stations to start filling their new 'program
formats' with podcasts," Searls forecasted on his blog.
in the "podosphere" frown upon commercialization, experts spot many
possibilities to make money through this new medium.
instance, a number of individual podcasters have signed on corporate sponsors
to underwrite their shows, says Steve Rubel, a vice president at the public relations
firm, CooperKatz & Company, and author of the Micro Persuasion Web log.
can attract advertising dollars just by saying -- "and now a word from our
sponsors" --during a particular episode.
But, will podcasters start
charging subscription fees? That's not likely to happen any time soon, Rubel said.
"The podcaster must have a substantial following and the content must be
a very high-quality" in order to demand money from listeners, Rubel said.
Corporations, such as General Motors and Heineken, have also launched their
own podcasts as a new way to reach consumers, Rubel said, predicting that more
companies would follow suit.
"Podvertising," Rubel says, is a
growing trend, as individuals and companies experiment with different ways to
gain ad dollars to promote certain brands or products.
This is "not
a flash in the pan, it's here to stay."
By Liz Harper, Online NewsHour Extra