“Download this podcast at our website!” is becoming a common mantra these days as you listen to news and radio programs. But what exactly is a podcast and how is it different than any other streaming audio and video files you can find on the web?
Why would someone want to add “Subscribe To Podcast” to their daily online “To Do List”which already includes checking email, responding to email, updating their Facebook page, Tweeting,etc.?
What is a Podcast?
A podcast is a “program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet,” according to Merriam-Webster. The program can be in audio or video format and what distinguishes podcasts from other similar downloadable files is the automatic download component – once you download podcast software and subscribe to a podcast, your computer will identify and retrieve new podcast files as they become available. Files can then be stored on the computer, or on an external device like a portable media player.
The History of Podcasting
Podcasting may be gaining steam as a way to share audio and video files. However, the ability to format music digitally began in the 1980s, before the advent of the Internet. Innovations in technology in the early part of this decade made the ability to subscribe to audio files easier, and podcasting started to gain popularity in 2004.
Podcast-related terms include:
- Podcast is a blend of iPod and broadcasting, however it is not necessary to own an iPod or other portable media player to enjoy podcasts. Although, media players like iPods do allow for easy portability of podcasts.
- Podcasting refers to the method by which content is syndicated, or shared.
- Podcasters create the content in a podcast.
- Podcatchers are special software applications that automatically identify and retrieve new podcast files
Benefits of Podcasting
Podcasting offers benefits that many other media sources do not, for example:
- easy portability
- no governmental regulation (including censorship)
- low cost for both users and podcasters
- convenient and time efficient
- user picks the content they want to listen to (podcasts are “narrowcasts”)
- businesses can advertise to groups interested in niche products
- companies can communicate with customers and employees
Cost of Podcasting
One of the great benefits of podcasts is that Podcasting is generally free to users. You just need a computer and/or personal media player (if you prefer to take your podcasts with you for the train commute home or to the gym).
For those interested in creating podcasts, costs are minimal compared to mainstream production. Abasic podcast setup is about $199.
To access podcasts, search for them on your favorite website, or go to an online media service, like iTunes. To download free podcasting software on your computer go to a website such as Juice.
Learn more about starting a podcast by visititing www.freepodcastcourse.com, which has a wealth of information on podcasting and links to podcast equipment.