Podcasts Go Mainstream

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Less than one year old, podcasting--a method of distributing audio shows in much the same way sites send RSS feeds around the Internet--seems poised to go mainstream. Once the exclusive province of talkative technologists, do-it-yourself musicians, and obsessed hobbyists, this broadcasting platform has been embraced lately by some mainstream media.

National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and commercial stations such as Seattle's KOMO radio and TV operations make portions of their programming available via podcast.

A podcast is a Weblog that delivers sound files instead of text directly to your computer. You subscribe to podcasts by using a free audio-friendly RSS aggregator application such as Doppler, IPodder, or Nimiq. Just as with RSS feeds for blogs, any podcast subscriptions you create will be updated automatically with the most recent podcast. Many of the aggregators will automatically put the podcasts on your IPod, as well, but you can also listen on your PC or manually put them on another portable audio player.

No matter how many media giants take up podcasting, though, it will likely remain a good tool for nearly anyone with a microphone, a PC, and some opinions. Tim Bourquin beams EnduranceRadio.com, a podcast on extreme sports, to an audience of 15,000 dedicated athletes. "Programming like mine simply doesn't work on traditional radio," he says.

Podcasting Resources

Aggregators

These programs collect podcasts you've subscribed to.

Doppler, www.dopplerradio.net

IPodder, www.ipodder.org

Nimiq, www.nimiq.nl

Directories

Find podcasts that interest you at these sites.

IPodderX.com

PodcastAlley.com

Tools

Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net): Create podcasts with this open-source sound-recording program.

Liberated Syndication (www.libsyn.com): For $5 a month, this service will host and distribute podcasts.

This story, "Podcasts Go Mainstream" was originally published by PCWorld.

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