How the Heck Do You Make a Podcast? (2 hidden gifts inside) By Perry Estelle

How to download videos quick guide

 

The History of the iPod Podcast
What is now called a podcast traces its origins to the
first ipod podcasts, the creation of distributed mp3 files
that could be downloaded and played on Apple’s music
player, the iPod. When the iPod came out, and users
discovered what a wonderful thing it was for holding
music, some people had the idea of loading things that
weren’t necessarily songs. Some of the people that got
their hands on the iPod took the route of reverse
engineering the iPod and loading on different firmware,
or operating system, but others had the idea of sharing
small sound files that could be played on the iPod. The
technology for distributing the files already existed,
with RSS feeds. RSS feeds were a means of generating
machine readable files that could share information
between a server and a user. Many blogs already used
them to keep readers up to date with the latest posts, but
some hopeful podcasters had the idea of enclosing links
to sound files within the RSS feed and downloading the
file to the computer.
With the change in RSS feeds, ipod podcast took off,
and podcasting became a popular way to share files.
Users saw podcasting as a way to become radio hosts,
or dj’s, and a variety of podcasts began popping up.
Software was written to automatically check the RSS
feeds, extract the links to the podcast episodes, and
download the files. These programs became known as
podcast clients.
By this time, podcasting had moved beyond the ipod,
and they were not simply making an ipod podcast
anymore. Some people had figured out how to use even
the PlayStation Portable gaming console as a podcast
player. It was more difficult that downloading podcasts
to the ipod, since the PSP used a different format for it’s
files, but PSP podcasts began popping up. In addition,
podcasting made inroads to the wider audience of
people without iPods, who simply saw podcasting as an
extremely convenient way to receive news, music, and
entertainment over the internet.
What is Podcast Video?
A growing trend online is podcast video. While
podcasting was originally only for audio files, more
people are beginning to send video, especially with
broadband connections more accessible. To podcast
video, content distributors enclose it in a web
syndication file that users can download and view when
they want. Users subscribe to the different files,
checking them for updates regularly, and download the
new offers when they become available. Each file is
often referred to as an episode, and may be part of a
video blog, or vlog.
Podcast video, and other types of podcasting are thus
part of the blogging revolution. Individuals and groups
around the world, with a small investment in equipment
and time, can become content producers. Because it is
so simple to use and cheap to set up, many people are
getting involved. They can podcast video around the
world, becoming producers and directors for any small
niche they want to exploit.
Many of these podcasters have small audiences that
download their podcast video, but larger groups are
getting involved. News organizations and websites that
serve massive audiences are discovering that podcasting
and podcast video can distribute their content to
millions of people easily. These groups have found that
podcasting video is yet another way to distribute their
news and information. Since podcasting is so easy to
use, it’s likely that even more people will start using
podcast video.
Today, while the iPod podcast type still exists, fewer
people subscribe to podcasts as a way of gaining
portable media files they can listen to anywhere.
Although that is still an attractive part of podcasting, it
seems to be eclipsed by the ease with which podcasting
has become a content delivery system. Now, podcasting
has become tied up with the rising number of audio and
video blogs, where blogging is done not by post, but
through media files uploaded to the blog. These blogs,
and podcasting in general, take advantage of the
shrinking cost of broadband internet connections, and
the rising number of people with high speed access to
offer a picture of the internet rich with multimedia files.
Podcast Downloads
Podcast downloads are a wonderful new online way to
share files. A podcast is a way to send files from a
distributor’s online site directly to the subscribers
computer, where they can view them whenever they
wish. A podcast works by having a small file called an
RSS file placed somewhere on the podcaster’s web
page. This RSS file is updated regularily, usually
automatically with text and links to new media files
available for downloading. The RSS file is then
accessed by the podcast client of the subscriber’s
computer. A podcast client is a small program that goes
online to look for the RSS files that the feed subscribers
wish to view. There are many podcast clients available
for every conceivable need, and most are free to
download and use.
The podcast download will be done when the podcast
client downloads and views the file from the feed’s
website. After finding the links to the media files
embedded in the RSS file, it will download those files
and store them on the computer, allowing the user to
view them whenever and as many times as they wish.
The podcast files may be of many things. There are
comedy shows done by people who enjoy creating and
writing a regular show, but aren’t able to do it as a
business. Some podcasts are music mixes, an mp3 file
that subscribers can play. Even some radio shows are
getting into podcasting, allowing subscribers to
download portions of their shows from the internet in
podcast form and play them on their home computer.
Podcast downloads could conceiveably be applied to
any type of file. The RSS files that allow the mainly
audio and video files now used in podcasting to be
downloaded can be customized to enclose almost any
type of file. This has led some analysts to believe that
podcasting could eventually be used to distribute
software updates, demonstration programs, and many
other types of files, moving beyond the simple use of
podcasting to share media files. All that would be
neccessary would be for the users to subscribe to the
feed with their podcast client. They could then stay
regularily updated for nearly anything.
Podcast downloads offer many different possibilities for
distribution of files across the internet. Because it is a
different mode of using the internet, allowing the data
to come to the user rather than the user having to visit
each site they enjoy, podcasting has the possibility of
changing the way the internet works. Content can be
given directly to the individual, easily and ever more
quickly as broadband use spreads. This means that what
the internet is will change drastically. The web changes
from something connected to in order to be used to
something that is integrated and connected with our
personal life
A Podcast Client
A podcast client is the software used to access and
download podcasts. Podcast clients are also known as
media aggregators, programs designed to automatically
access an online file, or feed, and download the audio or
video file associated with it. Hundreds of these
programs exist, with names like IpodderX, Juice,
Nimiq, and PodSpider. These podcast clients are easy to
find, and because there are so many available for free, it
is easy to find one that suits an individuals needs and
style. These programs run on the users computer,
periodically downloading a small RSS file from sites
that it has been told to monitor. The file tells the
program about an audio or video file stored on the
server, and the podcast client then downloads that file
for the user to view or listen to.
The podcast client thus allows the user to view
information on a wide range of topics from their
computer, without even using a web browser. Just like
blogs let people find writers they enjoyed for any niche
topic they were interested in, podcasts let people do
them same for audio and video. Its as if a thousands of
radio and television channels were created to serve
every possible interest, and more were made every day.
Using the podcast client to access and download the
files makes it as easy to keep up with the sites one likes
as it is to publish the feed.

Comedy Podcasts

Many podcasts are available to subscribe to and watch

in a variety of genres, and one of these is the comedy

podcast. Every small scale wannabe writer has a chance

to become a comedian through podcasting, since the

low entry cost allows people to start podcasting with

minimum effort and money. To find some of these

comedy podcasters, check a podcast directory. A

podcast directory is a listing of many, sometimes

several thousands, of podcasts submitted and divided

into categories. A podcast directory will probably have

a large number of comedy podcasts available to

subscribe to.

These comedy podcasts are usually created by a small

team of people who do the work in their free time, as a

hobby, not as a source of income. Because it is a hobby,

they’re more willing to give the work away for free, for

nothing more than recognition, probably in the hopes

they can parlay that recognition into a more mainstream

job. Some more corporate groups also put together

comedy podcasts, however. The satirical comedy web

site TheOnion.com puts out a regular comedy podcast,

featuring readings from their fake news site.

Placing a comedy podcast on the Internet has several

advantages for the creators. They get to showcase their

work, easily distributing their art to many people. This

following is likely to be be unusually passionate,

following the artist with more enthusiasm than the

artist’s average audience. The comedian has a chance to

be more open with the audience, engaging in a sort of

dialogue with them. The comedian broadcasts the files,

which enter the computer of the user, already a more

personal level than simply hearing the jokester on the

radio or on television. Comedy podcast subscribers

will often then write back to the podcaster, or leave

comments on the blog which often accompanies a

podcast site. This can give them a degree of input and

connection with the writers of the comedy podcast that

is far removed from other styles of comedy distribution.

The writers and producers of a comedy podcast thus

benefit from several advantages of the podcast form. It

is cheap and easy to set up, and uses a distribution

mechanism that is also easy to use. The way the podcast

form is designed, as well, creates greater connection

between the producer and the subscribers. The comedy

writer has a greater ability to interact with the

subscribers and to find out what they appreciate or do

not. Because podcasting is so simple to get involved in,

requiring only a small investment to get started, many

amateur comedy writers have begun starting their own

shows and distributing the feed. It is likely, because of

the unique connection podcasting offers between writer

and listener, that we will see at least some of these

amateur comedians make the leap to the professional

stage.

Downloading a Free Podcast

Its easy to find and download a free podcast. The best

way to find free podcasts is probably to check a podcast

directory. A podcast directory is a listing of many,

sometimes thousands of different podcasts. The podcast

directory will usually organize the podcasts by topic and

genre, making it easy to find the type of podcast that is

sought. In addition, podcast directories often allow the

visitors to comment on the podcasts listed, and provide

a list of the favorite podcasts on the site, making it easy

for users to find the best podcasts available. These

podcast directories can be used to browse through,

introducing users to many different podcasts they

otherwise would not have found.

Once a podcast has been found that interests the user, it

is necessary to download the free podcast. The vast

majority of podcasts will be free, but there will be a few

that may cost a small amount of money. The process to

subscribe to and download the podcasts is the same in

either case. First, a podcast client needs to be found and

installed. There are many free podast clients available,

all providing a slightly different user interface and range

of options. They come with many different names, such

as Podscape, or Nimiq, and searching for ‘free podcast

client’ or something like it will turn up many

possibilities. When the podcast client has been

installed, inputting the feed address will allow the

podcast to be downloaded. The podcast client will

check the address given for a small, machine readable

file called an RSS file. This file will contain

information about the podcasts, perhaps some text

about the individual episodes, as well as the location of

the episode file. Once the podcast client has been

located the file referred to in the RSS feed, it will be

downloaded and stored on the users computer until the

want to view it.

Sometimes, of course, access to a personal computer is

not available, but it is still necessary to check a certain

podcast. Fortunately, many podcast directories offer

built in podcast readers in the site. Not only do they

often show each recent episode that is available, they

may also offer a way to view or listen to those podcast

episodes from within the site. By using the viewer

contained within the site, it is no longer necessary to

even download the podcast episodes. However, the

ability to move and share the episodes after

downloading is one of the wonderful things about

podcasting. The files can be placed on almost and

media player, ranging from iPods to the new Play

Station Portable. This flexibility is one of the reasons

podcasts have succeeded, despite other technologies

like streaming music and video. The desire of

consumers to have control over technology cannot be

over estimated.

Downloading Podcast News

With the rise of podcasting, many individuals and

organizations are finding that podcasting is a great way

to distribute information, from music and comedy

shows to talk shows, even podcast news. CNET is one

of the groups that is distributing a news podcast. CNET,

being an online technology site, naturally found a niche

distributing a tech news related podcast. CNET’s recent

podcasts covered such topics as viruses that attack cell

phones, problems with Google’s software, China’s web

restrictions and the “Great Firewall of China”, and the

FTC’s attack on spyware. These news items were

distributed in a sound file called an mp3 file that is

downloadable to a listener’s computer for listening

whenever they wish. While these files were available

straight from CNET’s site, the majority of them are

shared through the use of an RSS file. An RSS file is a

small piece of XML coding that is downloadable by

programs designed to read it. These programs are called

podcast clients, and the user can input the address of the

RSS files that hold the information on the feed. The

feed will contain links to the media files of the podcast,

and will download the new updates automatically.

More sites than CNET are finding that podcast news is

an expoitable technology. The British Broadcasting

Corporation podcasts some of it’s programs, as well as

the US radio network NPR. The NPR, because its work

is created by a variety of different groups, treats

podcasts differently from show to show. The NPR show

“This American Life” distributes a podcast of the show

through a site called audible.com, which allows feed

listeners to subscribe to the feed for a small fee and

download the show . The NPR Hourly News show, on

the other hand, shares a short 5 minute broadcast that

summarizes the news for free. Since the NPR is taking a

radio show and converting it into a file that is

downloadable by the user, little is lost in the translation.

The sound is designed to convey the entire story, and so

podcast subscribers are able to treate the podcast as

nothing more than TIVO for the radio. ABC’s podcast

of the news show Nightline, on the other hand, is

simply the sound track from the television show. This

has been one of the criticisms of the Nightline podcast,

because by merely stripping the sound from what is

designed as a television show, much information is not

given to the users. Listeners have problems telling who

is who because they miss the visual cues that were

supposed to be there, and there is no truly easy way to

convert the shows. For this reason, some news shows

have been moving from audio podcasts to video ones.

They can take the video information directly from the

show that is broadcast, lower the visual resolution to

shrink the file, and distribute it online as a podcast.

Finding a Podcast on PSP

There are many podcasts on PSP available. Some of

them simply share information on the PlayStation

Portable and distribute it to people interested in portable

gaming. These podcasts serve as news organizations,

sharing audio or visual files talking about the

PlayStation Portable and speculating about updates to

the PSP. The vast majority, however, take advantage of

the ability of the PlayStation Portable’s ability to

download and play quality videos on the gaming screen.

Developers of the program PSP Video 9 first created a

program that could change videos from computer types

like .avi and .mpeg to the format used by the Play

Station Portable.

Once that was done, it was quickly possible to create

podcasts for the PSP. Podcasters began creating video

files, changing them to a format readable by the

PlayStation Portable, and distributing them by podast

feed. These podcast feeds are subscribed to by people

interested in the feed, who download the episodes as

they come out. After the video files are transfered to the

PlayStation Portable, they can be viewed whenever the

end user wishes, just like the other movies and

professionally done videos available for the PSP. The

PlayStation Portable has thus been changed from simply

being a portable gaming platform to a piece of full

featured media hardware capable of playing games,

storing information, and playing videos and movies,

moving toward a more complex future.

Finding Free Podcast Videos
Anyone can easily find free podcast videos online.
There are numerous podcast directories online that can
help you find feeds to subscribe to, or you may find a
feed thats available from a site you enjoy. After looking
through the directories and finding a feed you want to
download, subscribe to it using one of the many free
podcast clients available. The podcast client will
automaticall download a small file called an RSS file,
which stands for Really Simple Syndication. The RSS
file tells your podcast client when there is a new file, in
this case a video, to download. Depending on your
client, the program will notify you or maybe even
download it automatically. Once the file is on your
computer, you’ll be free to listen to it any time it is
convenient.
Soon you’ll be on your way to downloading some of the
free podcast videos available online. Feeds are available
that publish on almost every topic, from independent
news shows to experimental videos, to scientific
information. Some colleges and universities even
podcast their most popular lectures so that students will
have a chance to watch and review from the comfort of
their computer chair.
The best part is that these free podcast videos, are of
course, free. All of these feeds are easy to find, and the
publishers, for the most part, do it simply because they
enjoy it, and are glad to give it away.
Finding Hip Hop Mix Podcasts
Many music podcasts are available online for
downloading; if one wanted to find, for instance, a hip
hop mix podcast, there are a few sites available to help.
The first possibility would be to go directly to a site
which creates one and subscribe to it using a podcast
client which automatically checks the feed for new
episodes and downloads them for the user. If, however,
one did not know of any hip hop mix podcast sites, or
simply wanted to find new podcast sites, the best
possibility would be to check a podcast directory, a list
of podcasts that can be browsed.
Hip hop mix podcasts could easily be found at one of
these podcast directories. A podcast directory stores
lists of podcasts which have been submitted to the site,
and categorizes them by genre, type of podcast, region,
and other meta data. To find a hip hop mix podcast,
visiting a podcast directory and checking under music
podcasts, and then under hip hop music would find
many podcasts which play that type of music.
The hip hop mix podcast could then be subscribed to by
inputting the feed address listed into one of the many
podcast clients. The music will come in episodes, the
name for each downloadable portion of a podcast. Some
of these podcasts may feature independent artists,
musicians trying to break into the music industry who
have chosen podcasting as a way of sharing their music
and gaining a following. Others may be remixes of
popular songs that have been changed in some way to
give a different feel to the music. Often, the artists may
already be established, though, and they still see
podcasting as a way to introduce themselves to a larger
audience. They may grant rights to pay certain hip hip
songs to a podcaster, letting them play the music as part
of their mix distribution while requesting a link to a site
where more information can be learned about the artists
and music can be purchased. Artists that have done this
include alias, edan, outerspace, RA the rugged man,
roots manuva, and outer space.
A large number of podcasts featuring hip hop mix
podcasts are actually radio stations, however. These
broadcasters have found that podcasting their shows
and selections is an easy way to reach more listeners
and gain a greater audience. These podcasters can reach
more people easier and cheaper than they can by
playing hip hop mix music over the airwaves in their
local areas. Playing hip hop music over the internet is
probably the way many future artists will do their work,
and there are many ways available even now that they
can do so and make a profit. For instance, some
podcasts are designed to work on a payment basis. A
hip hop artist who wished to share his music could
charge for addition to the feed list, then issue a unique
feed address to the user, allowing them to hear new
pieces of hip hop music released. The hip hop music
file could even be designed so it could not be copied
and used by another user at a different computer, to
ensure that the artist could maintain control over his
work.
Finding Podcast Hosting
For anyone who wants to begin creating a podcast,
podcast hosting is the most important part. Before
anyone can begin distributing a podcast, they need a
place to store the files and keep the feed file that will
tell their subscribers about the new episodes available.
The first thing required is a domain name where the site
will be located. Many domain registrars are available
who will help one register a domain name for a small
fee. Once the domain is registered, hosting is required,
and again there are many different companies willing to
do the hosting for a small fee. One of those is
bluehost.com, but many others are available. When
looking for a host, the most important thing is to make
sure that a lot bandwidth and storage space is available
and cheap. Since podcasting deals with large media
files, a lot of disk space will be taken up storing the
files and bandwidth will be eaten quickly when they are
downloaded by the subscribers.
After podcast hosting has been acquired, it needs to be
used and the site needs to be set up. The DNS addresses
of the site need to be set to the addresses that the host
provides you so that the servers that underlie the
internet will know where your site is. DNS addresses
can be set by going to the domain registrar that was
used to acquire the domain and inputting the addresses
provided by the host. After that is done, it will take a
few days before the master list the domain registar
updates will be shared throughout the internet and all
name servers know where to find your specific domain.
You can then go about setting up your own podcast.
Using the podcast hosting you now have, you will need
to look at the disk space allocated to the site using
something called and FTP browser. The host may
provide one as part of their hosting plan, but if not there
are many available free to choose from. Using the FTP
browser, log on to the host and upload a file called
dircaster.php after editing it to fit the specifics of the
site. Dircaster.php is an easy to find piece of coding that
generates a feed file by looking at the contents of its
directory or folder. The individual episodes to be
podcasted can then be uploaded to the same folder as
dircaster.php for cataloging. Make sure that all the meta
data, or information about the mp3 file is correct before
doing so.
The podcast hosting you now have will allow you to
distribute a podcast. It would be best to upload more to
the site, such as an index page that tells visitors about
the podcast and provides the address of the file
dircaster.php on your site. When they subscribe to that
file, the podcast client thy use will access it and recieve
information about the latest podcasts available.
How to Create a Podcast
Podcasting is easy to get involved in for anyone who
wants to create a podcast. The first thing necessary is
access to a web server. The user needs to be able to
upload files to the server itself, so podcasting can’t be
done from a simple blogging or journal site. It’s
probably best to register a domain and find a host for
the site. Once the site has been set up and the user has
access to the host server, a small program called
dircaster.php should be customized for your site, and
can be used to automatically generate the RSS feed that
the subscribers will download. The mp3 files should be
uploaded to the proper directory after all the
information about the file has been attached. After they
are in the directory, the address of dircaster.php, as long
as it is in the same directory as the mp3 files, will
generate an RSS file that will tell your subscribers
where to download the latest podcasts from. To update
and and a new episode, create and upload the new mp3
file to the same directory. When dircaster.php is
accessed, it will recognize the new file and relay the
information on to your visitors.
With these steps, it is easy for anyone to create a
podcast with a small expenditure of time and effort. The
site is easy to set up; domains and hosting are now
cheap enough almost anyone to have a small site, and
the programs necessary are all easy to find and use.
A podcast is an easy way of distributing media files
over the internet, and this article will tell how to make a
podcast. The first thing necessary is a domain, and a
host on which to store the media files for the podcast.
Getting a domain is simple and easy, there are many
domain registrars that can register a domain for
someone for a small fee. Some of these domain
registrars are GoDaddy.com, Dotster, or Network
Solutions are some that provide domains. The domain
registrar will, for a small fee, enter the chosen domain,
provided it is not being used, into the computers that
form the backbone of the internet. These computers will
be told where the domain is located on the internet;
what host it is that holds the domain’s information. In
order to give them that information, the name servers
that are held by the host need to be associated with the
domain. Once the domain is in place, a good host
should be found. The host that is chosen should offer a
large amount of both disk space and a much larger
amount bandwidth. Disk space is neccessary because
the site which holds the podcast will be storing large
media files; audio or video files that take up a lot of
space and are difficult to compress. The large
bandwidth is necessary because transferring these large
files many times to many different people will use up
the quota quickly. A good amount of diskspace would
be several GigaBytes, bandwidth should be in the tens
or hundreds of Gigabytes. Once the host is set up, it
should offer you a couple of addresses called
nameservers. Inputting these server addresses into the
site where the domain was registered will complete the
domain setup and allow the site to be found on the
internet.
The next step for people who want to know how to
make a podcast is installing the software necessary to
maintain the podcast. A small piece of coding called
dircaster.php can be used to set up a basic level of
podcast. Dircaster.php can be found easily by searching
for it in any search engine. Once it is located, it should
be edited to reflect the particulars of the domain and
uploaded to the site. Dircaster.php will generate an RSS
file, or feed, that tells the subscriber about the new files
available for downloading. To begin podcasting, create
the audio files that should be podcast, fill in the
information about the file such as date, author, etc, and
upload them to the same directory that contains
dircaster.php. You now have a podcast, and all that is
needed is to publicise the address of the file
dircaster.php. To update the podcast with new
information, just upload the new files. Other things to
make the podcast better might be a site that contains
information about the podcast, but it isn’t necessary.
Music Podcast RSS Feeds
There are many online music podcast rss feeds to
choose from online. For many of the feed producers, a
podcast feed is a way to distribute non mainstream
music that otherwise would not be able to reach an
audience. These musicians are able to build a following
and share their work from outside of a music culture
that tends to keep out more niche groups. Because the
music industry is oriented towards mass distribution
and marketing, musicians and groups that aren’t
believed to command such widespread fandom are kept
out of the market.
Distributing some of their music by podcast rss feeds,
however, lets them grow a small fanbase and attract
listeners who enjoy their work. These musicians may
support themselves by also selling portions of their
work, or may decide to provide all of their work for
free, as some do.
These musicians may, after growing a fanbase who
enjoys their music podcast rss feed, parlay that
popularity into music contracts within the industry. By
proving that they can support a passionate audience
even with their own meager efforts, a company can
sometimes be convinced of the music’s viability on a
larger stage. By proving that the musicians can support
a dedicated audience and can keep producing quality
work, the group or individual has a better chance of
successfully getting a contract while maintaining their
independent style.
Podcast Alley
Podcast Alley is a site that catalogs podcast feeds and
provides links to them. Thousands of feeds are
available, from comedy shows to weekly suspense
stories. There is even a podcast featuring a couple that
talks about different wines every episode. Podcast Alley
features the best podcasts on the front page regularly,
along with a short article about the authors and their
work and an interview with the creators.. In addition,
the site keeps a list of the most popular feeds in a
sideline, allowing visitors to quickly see what the
community appreciates.
A visitor to Podcast Alley can search by genre, learn
how to make their own podcast, discuss things with the
community in the forum, and find software related to
podcasting. The sire provides a wide range of resources,
as well as a large quantity (many thousands) of podcasts
that listeners can browse and subscribe to.
Podcast Alley is an example of a podcast directory that
is well run and offers a large selection. The site also has
a strong community that can help visitors find podcasts
on topics that interest them or give them the
information they need to set up their own podcast, and
of course, add it to the directory. Anyone that is
interested in finding great podcasts should take a look at
Podcast Alley and the selection they have.
Podcast RSS Feeds
A Podcast RSS feed is what allows the entire system to
function. To begin at the beginning, a podcast is a
regular distribution of audio or visual files, called
episodes, to a users podcast client. The people who use
a podcast are called subscribers, and the podcast client
is what allows them to subscribe to a feed. The podcast
client is a program that connects to the internet, looking
for a specific file the user has subscribed to, or told it to
look for. That file is an RSS feed, a machine readable
piece of coding that sends information back to the
podcast client. RSS feeds can be used to distribute
many kinds of information, and were originally used for
blogging and distributing blog posts to subscribers. As
time went on, however, a few people had the idea of
enclosing information about media files within the RSS
feed so that software could be written to find that
information and download the files described.
The Podcast RSS feeds became a hit, and podcast
clients were quickly written to allow people to use the
new encoding. Podcasting became a means of quickly
and cheaply sharing episodes with subscribers. Rather
than requiring subscribers to visit the site that hosted
the files everytime they wanted to know if a new
episode was released, users could rely on the podcast
client to do the work for them, keeping track of
numerous podcast rss feeds that interested them and
downloading the files to be viewed when they wished.
Podcast RSS feeds are now used to distribute a number
of different types of podcasts. Some producers use it as
way to share a comedy or news program that they
produce, others podcast in order to share music files
they create, and some podcast to share video files they
have created and to showcase their work. Podcasting
allows the producers to become radio or television stars
without the large investment in time and money that
would be required to do that. Because podcasting has
such a low entry cost, requiring little more than a server
and a domain to host the site and a way to record the
media, thousands of people who otherwise would not
have a chance to work in a media environment have a
chance to do so through their podcast rss feeds.
In this way, podcast RSS feeds allow media publishing
over the internet at a fraction of the cost of other forms
of media distribution, permitting people with much
smaller budgets to compete in some way. However,
podcast rss feeds are also attracting more established
companies and groups as well, bringing people from
NPR radio stations and news organizations like CNN
who use podcasting as yet another means to distribute
their product to end users.
Podcast Software
There are many podcast software programs available to
use. Many of them are even free. Because of the
decentralized, geek adopted nature of podcasting, a
wide variety of programs are available, from large
programs with a big footprint that do many different
jobs to tiny little software packages that do the bare
minimum. A package is available for podcast
subscribers of almost any type, and more are being
created everyday.
While some podcast software is designed for home user
computers, much of it is designed to be used online.
There are many packages created so that feed
subscribers can view the podcasts they enjoy from
within a web browser. These software packages contain
both the feed reader like the home user software does,
but usually also incorporate a way to view or listen to
the podcasts online from inside the browser. Much of
this software is used at the podcast directories that
maintain listings of podcast feeds.
Another type of online podcast software is the category
of feed creators. PHP scripting is usually used to create
the RSS file that tells the feed readers where to
download the podcasts from. The scripting can either
create a hard copy of the RSS file and write it to the
server disk when the feed is updated, or it can make it
virtually. When the RSS file is generated virtually, it
doesn’t actually exist on the host’s server. Instead, the
address of the PHP script is distributed as the address of
the feed. When the script is accessed, it generates the
file by looking at the recent posts at the site and sends
the results to the feed subscriber.
Podcast Yahoo, a Podcast Directory
Podcast Yahoo, is an example of a very full featured
podcast directory. Yahoo’s beta offering presents
podcasts from many professional organizations
including NPR, Slate Magazine, and others. They also
organize their listing by categories, offer a list of the
most popular series and episodes currently available,
and let users search through the entire database.
Yahoo’s site is professionally done, and likely has
people permanently assigned to work on it, and so it
differs from many of the other podcasting directories
available. Many directories are little more than listings
of amateur podcasters, but Yahoo’s site brings out a
number of feeds done by mainstream organization,
raising the level of quality available.
For anyone who wants to find a podcast, Yahoo is
certainly a good choice. They have a slick, well done
site that is easy to use. Yahoo even includes software at
the site so that podcasts can be listened to from within
the web browser. After logging in, Yahoo allows users
to subscribe to feeds they enjoy, letting them be notified
when new episodes are available. Yahoo even has a
detailed walkthrough to help visitors create and begin
publishing their own podcast.
Podcast Yahoo clearly demonstrates the ability of a
corporate group to create a well made site. While it’s
very unlikely that Yahoo or a company like it would
have been able to come up with podcasting, once they
know what to do, they can do it well.
The Howard Stern Podcast Problem
Because podcasting is such a new, exciting, cutting
edge phenomena, many people are eager to get
connected, and hence the Howard Stern podcast.
Everyone wants to be part of the next big thing, but not
everyone is suited or ready to do so. The Howard Stern
Podcast was created and shown on iTunes, the Apple
company’s music store. However, the podcast was never
updated, and the only clip ever provided didn’t even
include Howard Stern. This has brought a lot of flack
down on Howard Stern, as well as Sirius Radio, which
broadcasts Stern. Many of these people would have
preferred to hear Stern when they wanted to, as a
podcast, and were disappointed that the feed was not
being used.
The Howard Stern podcast is probably an example of
some of the problems that can arise with podcasting. Its
new, and very hyped, so everyone wants to be a part of
it. However, the podcast is designed to be free. RSS
feeds are designed to easily distribute files, that can
then be redistributed and shared by the users who
download them. It would be close to impossible for a
podcaster to charge for their content. Either the
podcaster would have a small circle of people who
enjoy the feed, and very few who would want to pay for
it, or be very popular, as Stern is, and have the problem
of paying customers possibly redistributing the content
so others won’t need to pay.
Types of Music Podcasts
Many music podcasts are available online, distributed
by podcasters who want to share their collection with
the world. Some of these are distributed by independent
musicians, groups or individuals who enjoy creating
and sharing their music but have a small fanbase. For
them, a podcast means closer contact with their
listeners, and the blog that usually accompanies a
podcast often allows for the comments and opinions of
the listeners to be shared with the musicians. The
listeners often appreciate this close contact, and some
become resentful when their favorite groups gain
widespread popularity. Musicians may find that the
music podcast they share is a way to build a following
and gain an audience that is loyal to them. Since many
of the musicians who podcast do so as independent
artists who lack the sound the music industry is looking
for or simply haven’t been noticed yet, a music podcast
may build a following that attracts attention to them and
gives them an entry point into the music industry.
For others, a music podcast may be the chance to
become a dj, and the episodes they share will contain
mixes of different songs, highlighting obscure yet
accomplished artists and taking their listeners on a tour
every episode. These amateurs podcast merely because
they enjoy the activity, as most independent podcasters
do. Yet another type of music podcast, however,
involves the online radio station. While some radio
stations have taken the leap to the internet by offering
streaming connections to their current playlist, others
have accepted the podcast as a way of sharing their
music. Such a style is very similar to the amateur dj, but
brings a level of professionalism that is not found with
the amateur podcasters.
A music podcast may also be a way to sample works by
more well known artists before purchasing. Some
musicians and groups will podcast their new music, or
portions of the new pieces, in order to peak interest in
the songs before release. Fans get to listen to the music
and find out what they might like before purchasing the
whole album. A possibility, however, is that music
podcasts become subscription based, and musicians
begin charging for access to the feed. The online sale of
music has proved its popularity, with Apple’s iTunes
reaching its one billionth paid download recently. A
music group could conceivably offer a feed to its fans
that they could pay for, and regularily update it with
new songs that would be downloaded directly to the
fan’s computers Although this distribution model is not
yet in place, it seems to fit with the over all trend.
Already, some nonmusic groups have agreed to podcast
their files, on the condition that a paid subscription is
bought.
Using a Podcast Directory
A podcast directory is a listing of syndication feeds that
link to a podcast. They are often organized by category
and topic, and allow the user to find a feed that podcasts
about almost anything. Just as search engines help
people find sites with the information they need, a
podcast directory presents a searchable list of podcasts
users can subscribe to. Users may even be able to play
the available feed episodes from within the site.
Unlike most search engines, though, a podcast directory
rarely searches out and finds content on its own,
automatically. All the feeds are either contributed by
users who want people to find their podcast, or added
by the staff. Nearly anyone can set up a podcast, but
gaining visitors can be difficult, and so podcasters can
submit their feeds to the directory to gain readers.
Since its so easy to make a podcast, a podcast directory
often uses ways to separate the very good feeds from
the ones people do not enjoy as much. A directory may
have a ranking system, feature certain special feeds on
the front page, or even allow visitors to comment with
their thoughts on a feed.
Visitors to a podcast directory can thus add their own
podcasts, search for feeds on topics or regions that
interest them, and even comment on those they like or
dislike.
Why There Are Free Podcasts
Podcasting, unlike other media forms, almost never has
charges for services, and the vast majority of feed
producers distribute free podcasts. This puts at odds
with, say, online radio stations, news sites that offer
media to subscribers, or the online music industry
general. Even though podcasting has very direct
correlations with industries like news and music that
have strong business models, podcasting differs.
Podcasting does not really have a business model, and
hardly anyone is podcasting in order to profit from it.
There are some businesses and news sites that podcast,
but they do it as a way to supplement their companies
and to gain technological geek credibility, not to make
money. This is an odd thing, but explainable in light of
what podcasting is.
The free podcast problem is not difficult, and
podcasting differs in several key ways from other media
areas. First, podcasting involves the physical transfer of
a file from the host to the users computer. An online
radio station does not do this; all that they provide to
their listeners is a streaming sound file that cannot be
saved without difficulty and work. If someone did
manage to do so, the station would have strong grounds
for suing them since they were never given the rights to
keep and store the files. By podcasting the complete file
to the users computer, express permission is granted the
user to copy and use as they wish. Second, the podcasts
are, for the most part, made by individuals who have
low costs involved in creating and distributing the files,
as opposed to a news broadcast or song by a music
company. These individuals have little reason to charge
for their work since there is little cost to them to do so.
Because the files are distributed in a way allows their
copying and does not control the media, and since
podcasting is a very low cost media outlet, feed
producers have little reason or ability to charge for their
work.

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