|The word “podcasting” is used often around the internet these days, although many people are still not exactly clear on just what a podcast is! Simply put, a podcast is a blog (web log) that is made available in audio format. The audio portion is a standard MP3 file that contains a program or “show” that can be created by anyone. Think of it as a radio talk show that can be transmitted from a computer.
The podcast transmission uses Real Simple Syndication (RSS) technology. It may seem complicated but, as the name implies, it is actually fairly simple. There are many resources available to help people learn how to record and set up a podcast. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. In fact, with just a few easy to learn skills, some low-cost (or free) computer programs, and the basic computer equipment and internet connections that you probably already have, YOU can create a podcast and host your own show.
In addition to setting up a podcast, you'll also want to provide a written blog that offers helpful, supplemental text for your podcast material. For example, you may briefly mention a topic in your podcast and then tell your listeners: “For more information on this topic, please see the web site….” In this way, you can expand the amount of information your subscribers receive from your transmission.
When you have set up a blog and website, anyone with an internet connection can subscribe to your show. Listeners will use an RSS “aggregator,” such as Doppler or Ipodder. Both of these are FREE downloadable program that allow others to subscribe to any podcast of interest. They're easy to set up and can be pre-configured to check for new podcast updates at set intervals. In this way, a subscriber doesn't have to be “tuned in” to your podcast at a certain time; he can just receive notice of an update that is automatically downloaded to his computer and then listen to it at his leisure. Subscribers listen to these files just like their music files, using Windows Media Player, iTunes, or any other similar audio program that is compatible with MP3 files.
Needless to say, the topics of a podcast are limitless. For example, maybe you have a special interest (even expertise) in fly fishing. What a great idea to have a podcast devoted to the art and adventures of this great sport! You can share techniques, stories, and even take live calls during pre-set transmission times. Podcasting offers you the opportunity to become a true “internet personality.”
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