Podcasts are like radio broadcasts for MP3 players, but that’s about where the similarity ends.
So let me say right off that I’m not trying to “sell” anything. “Podcasting” is becoming a bit of an overused buzzword in some circles, while others haven’t heard the first thing about it. It is a movement worth watching, but I’m more of a critical early adopter than a “trend of the week” bandwagon-type.
Podcasting gets its hipster name from the Apple iPod, but it has no direct connection to Apple. You can get podcasts on any player, or just through your computer, if you are set up for it.
The idea was a gleam in the eye of the former 1980s MTV veejay Adam Curry, who worked out the technical details with Dave Winer, a co-creator of RSS, the Web feed syndication system that launched a gazillion blogs. (See my two previous columns on blogs and news feed readers for background)
Curry and Winer fixed blogs to feed audio and video files as well. They first called it audio blogging, until the cool name came along and stuck.
Curry’s podcasts, most from his homes in Amsterdam or now near London, or from conference hotel rooms, feel a lot like radio from back in the day when I could still tolerate radio, before the ads became screechy and annoying. Curry runs musical interludes and segues, and talks in his professional DJ style. I imagine him sitting in a studio with a big fuzzy mike and slider board like I learned on in college, but he probably just uses a laptop with its little mike. I prefer the image in my mind’s eye.
As podcasting gained momentum, online visionaries began seeing a grassroots opportunity for homegrown talk radio.
But they added a twist. They emphasize that free podcasts can be heard on the subscriber’s schedule, the same way people with digital video recorders time-shift television programming.
They say podcasting does for audio what TiVo did for video, with more diverse, grassroots programming you build yourself by subscribing to RSS feeds.
Watch this movie that shows how to create as many RSS feeds for podcasting with Audioblog.com. Under 10 minutes, Quicktime MOV, size: 640×480 10MB