I’ve been thinking about podcasting lately, and considering taking a dip into the pool. The term itself is a bit of misnomer, borrowing liberally from the iPod player. I’d be interested to know what percentage of people actually use iPods to listen to podcasts. I suspect that it’s less than half.
So what is a podcast and why am I interested? Well, it’s sort of like a recorded radio show, announced via RSS and distributed via the Internet as an MP3 file. Not many people can produce their own radio show. You have to be able to draw a large audience to offset the costs. With podcasting, the costs are negligible. You need a computer, an Internet connection, and a webserver to distribute your podcast. And of course, it helps to have something worth saying, and a few people interesting in listening. But because the entry costs are so low, the audience size does not need to be very large for a podcast to be successful. Podcasting allows niche shows that cover highly specialized topics that might never see the airwaves — maybe even topics like instant messaging?
Podcasting currently is generating tremendous buzz in the tech sector. Apple recently added podcasts to iTunes, allowing you to peruse and subscribe to shows that interest you. It’s a great way for many sites to get visibility, and those who have been featured on the iTunes podcast directory have seen a significant boost in their website traffic.
One of the podcasts I’ve checked out in my research is from Dave’s iPAQ. I recently bought an iPAQ rx3715 and Dave’s iPAQ is the best resource I’ve found for iPAQ owners. Dave’s podcasts are pretty well done. It sounds a lot like TechTV — a little bit of entertainment and some good information, wrapped up nicely in an informal package.
How are podcasts created? Based on the informal research I’ve done, many people are using Skype voice conferencing, coupled with recording software like HotRecorder. Project Gizmo is a Skype competitor with recording features built-in, but unfortunately it’s not compatible with Skype. I did experiment with it to see how the recording worked, and it’s pretty good.
What do you think of podcasts? Have you listened to any? Would you consider it? Leave a comment, or if you use Skype, give me a call and tell me what you think.