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Listen Up: Podcasting Primer for Bloggers

By Titus Hoskins

Podcasting is a new audio technology that can be attached to RSS for easy delivery of audio files. Bloggers or publishers can publish these 'audio' or 'radio' files which subscribers can automatically download and enjoy.

The Free encyclopedia Wikipedia, defines "Podcasting" as "making audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) available online in a way that allows software to automatically detect the availability of new files (generally via RSS), and download the files for listening at the user's convenience."

Dave Winer, the RSS Pioneer and Innovator states "...Podcasting works the same way (as RSS Feeds), with one exception. Instead of reading the new content on a computer screen, you listen to the new content on any capable mp3 player on the computer or hardware player such as the iPod. Think of your player with Podcasting as having a set of subscriptions that are checked regularly for updates."

Podcasting comes from the two words: iPod and broadcasting.

Put simply, Podcasting is basically adding audio files to your RSS Feed or Blog. It also turns your RSS Feed into a radio broadcast, the only difference between it and regular radio is distribution. Regular radio 'pushes' the signal out; in Podcasting -- the listener initiates or 'pulls' the cast with their subscription and automatically downloads the audio file or radio program.

Making a Podcast is also relatively simple.

First, you have to record your audio file, you can use any platform or application to make your recording. One good choice would be Audacity, (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) because it's free, cross-platform and you can mix together multiple audio files with it. If you're using the Mac, GarageBand may work for you, it's also free. (http://www.apple.com/ilife/)

Make your audio file and convert it to MP3 format i.e. save it with a .mp3 file extension. Upload it to your web server.

Next, create your Podcast RSS newsfeed -- just describe your Podcast in your RSS file and place a link in this file to your MP3 file.

Each 'item' contains an 'enclosure' tag as in this example of a Podcast of a Grateful Dead song.

<*enclosure url="http://www.scripting.com/mp3s/theOtherOne.mp3" length="6666097" type="audio/mpeg" /*> Remove asterisks in live code.

You can also post and advertise your Podcasts on your website by using the familiar orange xml with a speaker logo added.

Your subscribers can download and listen to your Podcasts on their computer or thru their iPods. It should also be noted UndergroundMedia has released Podcasting search plugins for the increasingly popular and RSS friendly Firefox browser.

For further interest and research you might want to try some of these handy links:

- Yahoo mailing list for Podcasters:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/podcasters
- The official iPodder website: http://www.ipodder.org/
- Podcast Alley, a large Podcast directory: http://www.podcastalley.com
- Podcasting News, Podcasting news site: http://www.podcastingnews.com
- Podcast.net, very comprehensive searchable list of Podcasts: http://www.podcast.net/
- Check out Dave Winer and Adam Curry; founders/facilitators of Podcasting http://radio.weblogs.com/

For Bloggers and RSS users, Podcasting adds an exciting new way to connect with their subscribers and audience. Since it combines the MP3 format and iPods; Podcasting will no doubt, add an explosive element to your blogs and RSS Feeds. Early innovators or users of Podcasts can extend the reach and scope of their blogs and/or RSS feeds by pulling in more subscribers and listeners.

Don't let this new innovation pass you by -- give your Blog or Site the competitive edge of audio. Start Podcasting...

To Put RSS On Your Site Within Minutes - Visit: RSS and Blogging Guide

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