What is PodCasting

What is PodCasting

It is becoming difficult to ignore the growing trend of podcasting. The boom of MP3 players really took off in 2001 with the release of Apple's iPod. The iPod ushered in a new way to listen to music, and many others followed. There are currently hundreds of different MP3 players on the market today, and they have become a common possession among both young and old. Podcasting became popular in 2004 and nowadays you can find it on a huge amount of websites. Despite this popularity, many people are finding themselves thinking “But what is it? Where can I do it? What equipment do I need?” If you too are feeling a little lost about it all, then read on…

What is Podcasting?

The word ‘Podcast' is a mix of the words ‘iPod' and ‘broadcast'. This has lead many people into believing that you need an iPod to be able to access podcasts, but they would be mistaken. You do not need an iPod - nor any other MP3 player - to podcast, or listen to a podcast for that matter. All you need is some audio-playing software on your computer, and of course, some form of device to allow you to hear it. The majority of people have both speakers and some form of audio-playing software - step one accomplished.

Podcasting is a type of online media delivery, but different to any that have existed previously. Put simply, podcasting allows you to download files via a feed (such as RSS) onto your computer and MP3 player. These files can be music, talk shows, interviews, discussions, news… the list is endless. However, there is more to it than that: The significant characteristic about podcasting is that you can subscribe to a series so that it automatically downloads on to your computer and MP3 player. Many believe that it is for this feature that podcasting became so popular in 2004.

Why is it so popular?

Podcasting, in effect, allows you to create your own personalised radio station. The main use of podcasting is in conjunction with MP3 players - people want to listen to their favourites on the move, whenever and wherever they wish. Say you were going to have a busy week at work, and would miss your favourite radio programme. Podcasting allows you to download them all (automatically) so you can listen to them when it is more convenient for you. In fact, you can compile all you favourite music, film reviews, radio programmes, news stories and so on… in effect creating your own personal radio station to listen to.

How can I do it?

If you want to listen to individual shows, you can usually download them from the site of your choice. If you want to subscribe to a series, then you need to download some free ‘podcatching' software. Some examples of this software are iTunes, iPodder, Odeo, PodNova and Feedburner. You can use podcatching software to subscribe to your favourite podcasts, which will then be automatically downloaded for you.

Where can I find PodCasts?

There is a huge amount of websites that offer their own podcasts; it is just a matter of finding which one you like. If you're not sure where to begin, then try taking a look at podcatching software. More often than not, they have a list of the most popular podcasts or categories of different podcasts. Not only does this software allow you to track down podcasts that may interest you, but some can also be used to create your own podcasts. It has become quite a trend among webmasters to start doing this, and the podcasts tend to be incredibly popular with regulars to the website.

Podcasting Definitions:

A Podcast/Podcasts - An audio file broadcasted via the internet

To Podcast -To create your own podcasts

Podcaster - An individual who broadcasts podcasts

Podcasting - The process of broadcasting audio files via the internet

Podcatching Software - Software which allows the listener to automatically download a series of podcasts

Becky Cunningham
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