Saturday, March 05, 2005

Podcasts and iPodder

There's a new word in the English language. Just like weblog a few years ago, podcast has arrived to enrich our language. Podcasting involves the creation of an internet audio program that is archived as an mp3 file and made available for downloading by users who then listen to the program in their own time on either their computer or an mp3 device (such as an iPod).

The key to podcasting is the ability to schedule the downloading of regularly published podcasts, just like a VCR is used to record TV programs that would otherwise be missed. Numerous podcasts already exist (for example KCRW has most of its current affairs programming available) and many more will become available.

Audio Hijacking is slightly different in that the original program is only available to listen to while connected to the internet, unless it is hijacked and recorded. Podcasts are designed to be available without hijacking. This works through the use of an aggregator program that looks for podcasts and automatically downloads them. I have opted to use iPodder, a free download. I imagine that more and more programs will be available as podcasts but this doesn't mean that audio hijacking will disappear. Not all content will be available as podcasts because of copyright and royalty issues.

Podcasting also allows for a new type of media presentation. Just as weblogs mimic journalism, personal podcasts are mimicing broadcasting. Anyone can put together a personal podcast and publish it over the web. Whether anyone else will have time to listen to all these podcasts may be the limiting factor to what is a fast growing phenomenon!