Monday, November 17, 2008

Become an instant radio star on the Internet

Are you one of the many young Papua New Guineans who has always dreamed of having his or her own radio show?

Are you a recording artist hoping to have your songs heard by the masses?

In the old days, you would have needed to know a lot of people in the right places - or have lots of money - to get heard.

But now, thanks to the Internet and its instantaneous connection to millions of people, your dreams can become reality.

You can also create video Podcasts - also called videocasts, vidcasts and vodcasts - which combine the audio component of Podcasting with visual media.

Just as Blogging has enabled almost anyone with a computer to become a bona fide reporter, Podcasting allows virtually anyone with a computer to become a radio disc jockey, talk show host or recording artist.

Although Podcasting first found popularity within the techie set in developed countries of the world, it has since caught on with the general public.

Log on to one of several Podcast sites on the Web, and you can download content ranging from music to philosophy to sports.

Podcasting combines the freedom of Blogging with digital audio technology to create an almost endless supply of content.

Some say this new technology is democratising the once corporate-run world of radio.

Podcasting is a free service that allows Internet users to pull audio files (typically MP3s) from a Podcasting Web site to listen to on their computers or personal digital audio players.

The term comes from a combination of the words iPod (a personal digital audio player made by Apple) and broadcasting.

Even though the term is derived from the iPod, you don't need an iPod to listen to a Podcast.

You can use virtually any portable media player or your computer.

Unlike Internet radio, users don't have to "tune in" to a particular broadcast.

Instead, they download the Podcast on demand or subscribe via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, which automatically downloads the Podcast to their computers.

The technology is similar to that used by TiVo, a personal video recorder that lets users set which programs they'd like to record and then automatically records those programs for later viewing.

Podcasting was developed in 2004 by former MTV video jockey Adam Curry and software developer Dave Winer.

Curry wrote a program, called iPodder, which enabled him to automatically download Internet radio broadcasts to his iPod.

Several developers improved upon his idea, and Podcasting was officially born.

Curry now hosts a show called The Daily Source Code, one of the most popular Podcasts on the Internet.

Right now, Podcasting is free from government regulation.

Podcasters don't need to buy a license to broadcast their programming, as radio stations do, and they don't need to conform to the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) broadcast decency regulations.

That means anything goes - from four-letter words to sexually explicit content.

Copyright law does apply to Podcasting, though.

Podcasters can copyright or license their work - Creative Commons is just one online resource for copyrights and licenses.

Although several corporations and big broadcast companies have ventured into the medium, many Podcasters are amateurs broadcasting from home studios.

Because Podcasters don't rely on ratings as radio broadcasters do, the subject matter of Podcasts can range from the refined to the silly to the excruciatingly mundane.

Podcasters typically cater to a niche group of listeners.

By Podcasting consistently on one subject, Podcasters not only assert their expertise on the subject matter but also draw a loyal and devoted group of listeners.

Podcasts are also used for informational and educational purposes -- self-guided walking tours, talk shows and training are all available through podcasting, according to Podcasting Tools.

Several companies are trying to turn Podcasting into a profitable business.

It is very easy to listen to a Podcast.

Once you master a few simple steps and search techniques, there are virtually no limits to what you can hear.

Recording a Podcast is almost as easy as listening to one.

Here's how the process works:

·        Plug a microphone into your computer ;

·         Install an audio recorder for Windows, Mac or Linux (free software for audio recorders includes Audacity, Record for All and Easy Recorder V5);

·        Create an audio file by making a recording (you can talk, sing or record music) and saving it to your computer; and

·         Finally, upload the audio file to one of the Podcasting sites (FeedForAll has a tutorial on how to upload a file).

Some experts say Podcasting still has a long way to go before it catches on with the masses, but its growing popularity is undeniable.

It's possible that Podcasting will eventually become as popular as text blogging, which grew from a few thousand blogs in the late '90s to more than 7 million today.

Some Pod Casts are already providing thousand of downloads a day, and they're not just entertaining their listeners - they're also doing business.


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