If you haven’t heard the term “podcast” yet, you will.
It’s about to blow the world of online audio through the roof as every Tom, Dick and Shirley can now operate a high powered Internet Radio station providing on-demand audio (and shortly, video) with nothing more than a microphone, simple software, and a little imagination.
Just like cable TV in the 1980′s gave smaller networks and individuals a voice on television, podcasting gives individuals a voice (literally) through online audio.
Podcasting is actually the audio form of “blogging,” where individuals share their thoughts in writing over time on a dynamic webpage known as a “blog.”
With blogging, subscribers and other blog publishers subscribe to and cross promote each other’s content by linking to and writing about each other.
With podcasting, the author shares his or her thoughts in audio form (MP3) and subscribers download and listen to the audio either on their computers, burn the files to CD, or transfer the files to one of the increasingly popular portable MP3 players.
In fact, the term “podcasting” draws its name from the iPod, created by Apple Computers.
Initially you might think the only people podcasting are geeks and computer nerds, but that’s not the case.
If you imagine “talk radio” meets “free cable access” then you have and idea of what pocasting is now and how it could evolve in the future.
Right now, any idiot (like me) with a microphone and something to say can create an online radio show.
This type of access to media that reaches a world-wide market enables smaller, niche publishers to develop a world-wide following that just isn’t monetarily feasible in traditional mass-media.
That means talk shows like “Chihuahua Breeding” or “Motorcycle Fashion Weekly” that could never hope to afford air time in a local market, can now develop an audience on the Internet.
Log on to PodCastAlley.com to peruse a wide range of available shows on everything from dog training to wine selection and tasting tips (one of the most popular).
Despite all this potential power, podcasting remains in an infancy stage right now.
But, the Internet has always proven in the past that a powerful but simple technology will always find a way to make itself felt quickly.
All it needs to explode is a few people to lead the way and show exactly how to use the technology to entertain and educate subscribers.
I also think two worlds will evolve for podcasting program publishers, just like cable vs. network television.
Some content will remain free (network TV), while some subscribers will gladly pay for more specific “niche” or pay-per-view content (cable TV).
As the quality of the programming increases along with more widespread acceptance of the tools necessary to consume the content (MP3 players and portable video players), podcasting will grow to stand beside other mainstream media.
It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t penetrate every market, but as members of the “global village” seek to find and feel a connection with like-minded individuals, regardless of their physical location, podcasting provides a cheap, powerful, and innovative solution for that basic human need.
© Jim Edwards – All Rights reserved
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