How Does Podcasting Work?
By S. Housley
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 relatively small.
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 is available.
Listen to Podcasts:
In three simple steps web surfers can listen to podcasts:
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 software.
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 or http://www.primetimepodcast.com
See also Podcasting Tools - http://www.small-business-software.net/podcasting-tools.htm
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com 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.
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