What's all the hype?
Well, podcasting can get confusing easily, that’s for sure. But it's really pretty simple. Podcasting is a means by which to distribute audio or video files. The term is a combination of the words "broadcast" and "Ipod" (because of the popularity of the Ipod and they way it could be used to broadcast information and music).
Podcasts can be radio shows or video productions; they're posted online, where they can be downloaded or listened to via a virtual player such as a multimedia player on the website itself or on a person’s personal computer or handheld device, like an MP3 player or an Ipod.
You can subscribe to a podcast, and some can even be downloaded automatically on a schedule through a podcast feed. One of the ways to do this is with a program such as Itunes. Itunes gives you the ability to search their database of podcasts, subscribe to the feed, and automatically get a new file when the podcast feed is updated.
There are podcasts out there on virtually every topic from parenting to car repair. Most of them are made by ordinary people on topics that they are passionate about; many podcast are talk-show style but there are also music podcasts out there as well. Many well-known people are now also using podcasts to advertise and promote themselves, their platform, or even their products or services.
It is much easier than one might think to record and create your own audio podcast. If you have a low-end, inexpensive microphone you can easily record digital audio via your personal computer. Recording software is also useful; you can download Audacity for free online. This software allows you to easily edit the audio and then to save it and export it as an MP3 file for use elsewhere. If you already have a website, you might also already have server space available, or you can purchase space to house your audio files on a website such as Audio Acrobat. Finally, an RSS feed is created for the files and a download link is made available where others can download and/or listen to the audio online.
Podcasting a fast growing phenomenon that almost anyone can take advantage of -- and that’s what all the hype is about!