It has been said that in October
of 2004 a Google search returned less than 6,000
results for the term "podcasting". Today,
a similar search yields more than 857,000 results.
Like the blogging phenomenon, podcasting has come
out of nowhere and attracted an enthusiastic following.
While some traditional radio talk
shows have begun providing podcasts of their regularly-scheduled
broadcasts, the bulk of the podcasts that have
cropped up tend to be independent broadcasters
who have a fascination with technology. As a result,
some podcasts are a little rough around the edges.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the technology provides
a significant opportunity and potential. Even
nay-sayers believe that podcasting is more than
a passing fad.
Podcasting is RSS that is used to
syndicate and distribute audio files. Podcasting
contains an audio file in the RSS feed's enclosure
tag. An enclosure tag is used in RSS feeds to
include certain types of files. The file contained
in an enclosure tag can be: an image, a data file,
a video file, or an audio file. Podcasting specifically
refers to RSS feeds that contain audio files in
their enclosure tag. The RSS version that currently
supports enclosure tags is RSS version 2.0. All
podcasts are currently created using this specification.
The benefit to podcasting is the
fact that users can sync content with their media
player and listen at a time and a place of their
choosing: radio on demand. And while this technology
is not limited to music, it seems to be the area
that has received the most attention.
Podcasting is generally inexpensive
to implement. Investment in a good quality microphone
will ensure that the recording is audible. Depending
on knowledge and experience, some podcasters invest
in audio conversion, compression and audio editing
software applications. Also, web space bandwith
and software to create the feed for the podcast
is needed. All in all, the initial expense is
In three simple steps, independent broadcasters
can have their voice heard:
1. Publishers create audio content,
posting it on a website for listeners.
2. Create or edit an existing RSS
feed including a link to the audio file in the
"enclosure" field of an RSS 2.0 feed, uploading
it to a website.
3. Tell the world that a podcast
Listen to Podcasts:
In three simple steps web surfers can listen to
1. Download a news aggregator or
RSS reader that supports podcasting or sync a
wireless device like an iPod with your computer.
2. Enter the URL of the podcast
feed into the news aggregator or podcast management
3. As new items appear in the aggregator,
review the podcast's description and listen to
those that are of interest.
As popularity increases it is likely
many voices will be drowned out, but for now,
an independent broadcaster with a microphone and
unlimited bandwith can make a name, create an
image and change the world.
Useful Tools for Podcasting:
Create podcast feed - http://www.feedforall.com
News aggregator supporting podcasts - http://www.feeddemon.com
See also Podcasting Tools - http://www.small-business-software.net/podcasting-tools.htm
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS
feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages
marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.