Turn your iPod into a soapbox
Posted: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 13:29 | © Moneyweb Holdings Limited, 1997-2005
Courtesy of both the global information super-highway – the Internet
– and Apple’s trendy iPod music gadgets, those who feel they have
views worth sharing with a global audience can now do so easily.
Podcasting enables would-be radio stars to disseminate audio content
via the Internet. Using simple digital recording equipment, the
broadcaster then places the sound file on the Internet, making it
available for people to download onto an iPod, any other mobile audio
device such as an MP3 player, or even a computer.
Online encyclopaedia wikipedia.com says podcasting is distinct from
other types of audio content delivery because of its subscription
model, which uses the RSS 2.0 file format. This technique has enabled
independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "radio
shows", and has given broadcast radio programmes a new distribution
Users subscribe to podcasts using "podcatching" software (also called
"aggregator" software), which periodically checks for and downloads
new content. It can then synchronise the content to the user's
portable music player.
Think of when you miss a radio broadcast you were keen on listening
to; until recently, there was no way you could go back and listen to
it. With podcasting, you go onto the Internet and fetch the content
that you would like to listen to at your leisure, if the radio
station you listen to caters for this. This is similar to setting
your video recorder to record a programme; however, with the
Internet, your range of options is now a whole lot bigger.
“Podcasting is the most egalitarian form of the Internet, as anybody
– and I mean anybody – can upload a file,” says Derek Lubner, a new
media specialist and co-director of All Brand, No Flakes. Who would
have thought that a podcast by a husband and wife couple in Kansas,
USA – in which the intricacies of domesticity are discussed – is the
second most listened-to podcast in the United States?
Lubner says that with high-speed Internet technologies in South
Africa like broadband, we will soon be able to stream video (a
bandwidth-hungry pursuit) through the Internet too.
So, what kind of content and how much of it is available through the
“I tried to find a number,” says Lubner, “It's in the millions. If
you go onto [search engine] Google and just do a search for
podcasting, you’ll get five zillion files. And in that, there are
aggregators [sites which list all sorts of podcasts according to
categories] like digitalpodcasting.com”.
Although erotica sites are the most popular on the Internet (with an
11% share), Lubner says only 0,8% of podcast listings are for
erotica. Music tops the bill for podcasts at 21,2%.
Podcasting is not only for entertainment and news; Lubner came across
a Scottish school that is trialling podcasting to deliver foreign
language audio revision and homework: “The pupils at that school were
allegedly the first school in Europe to launch a regular podcast. So
you go to school, you listen to the speech or the lesson from the
chap, then go home and upload it to website where you can download it
to your iPod and listen to it at your leisure, and play it over as
many times as you like. So it's got great applications for
universities and schools,” he says.
Lubner explains that in order to podcast you do need some technology,
but that it is available on the Internet: “You need a basic studio
where you can record your stuff. And then you upload it to a million
different websites [including podcast directories, known as
Wikipedia says podcasts are used for unofficial audio tours of
museums, and churches are podcasting sermons from their evening
About four million iPods were sold globally in the first three months
of 2005 alone. Says Lubner about what that means for podcasting’s
prospects: “It's growing, hugely. Not only are digital iPod sales
huge, but also the technology, little mini kits, so that you can have
your own studio at home is growing dramatically, exponentially”