TRENDWATCH: Podcasting

Tmobears_2 reports that Podcasting,which combines three of our favorite things: blogging, music, and iPods, “promises to change the way listeners view radio in much the same way that Napster changed the landscape of the music business and Tivo altered the viewing habits of millions of TV owners.

“Podcasting” is a term that is probably unfamiliar to most people, but it represents a real potential change in the radio landscape. A small group of enthusiasts has begun cobbling together a way to easily share homemade radio shows, eventually allowing people to reach large numbers of listeners by completely bypassing the current structure of radio.”

This new combination of existing technologies “allows you to subscribe to feeds, which include links to audio programs. Every time one of your subscriptions posted a new program, it would automatically download onto your computer. You could then transfer those shows to a portable music device, listen to it throughout your house via a wireless connection and take it with you wherever you go. Think of it as a personalized radio station that you program and change whenever you want.

The technical explanation is a bit more complex. The idea originally grew out of the Apple iPod community, when Adam Curry helped develop a piece of software called iPodder. iPodder automatically routes an audio program to an iPod and makes the process relatively seamless. But it wasn’t long before similar solutions sprung up for use with other mp3 portable devices.

The programs are delivered via an RSS feed, and there are already millions of computer users subscribing to at least a few text feeds of blogs and other sites. The RSS feed contains a link, which notifies your computer that a new audio program is available and begins downloading it into a pre-selected spot on your computer.”

The technology and trend is far from perfect or even easy to use, but “Podcasting — like blogging — seems to combine the best of the Internet with the best of traditional media. It’s a way for someone to create and distribute a show to 40 people. And it also would allow a media company to distribute audio content to millions.”


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