Thursday, November 30, 2006

what is podcasting

What is podcasting?

Kwami Ahiabenu,II

The internet provides us with unlimited opportunities, one interesting example is podcasting which provides content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want.

Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files, such as radio programs or music videos, over the Internet for subsequent download on mobile devices and personal computers. A podcast is rich media, such as audio or video, distributed via RSS (Rich Site Summary) or Atom syndication The term podcast can also refer to both the content(video or audio) and the method of delivery. To download files you have two options either you visit Podcasters’ websites for direct download of files or users can subscribe to automatic feeds which deliver new content as and when it is available. It is important to note that a podcast is different from a simple download or real-time streaming. There are a variety of podcasts which can include one type of "show" with new episodes added either sporadically or at planned intervals such as daily, weekly, etc. In addition to this, there are websites offering multiple shows on the same feed.


There are a lot of uses you can put podcasting to. They include but not limited to :

  1. Radio broadcast
  2. Event information
  3. Communication- get internal or external information to recipients
  4. Listen to music, lectures, talk show, tutorials
  5. Interviews
  6. Story Telling
  7. Directions
  8. Commentaries
  9. Sportscasts
  10. As a knowledge sharing
  11. Audio tours
  12. Virtual tours

Broadly speaking there are two key processes in podcasting:

Firstly, the podcaster must create and upload the content (audio or video) by recording, editing, creating the files, hosting (publishing) and promoting it.

Secondly, the end user must go through the process of downloading the podcast or subscription to an automatic feed.

Podcasters’ Process


Under this process the content is recorded using a digital recorder such as Maycom HandHeld field recorder


After recording, this content must be edited usually on a PC. The format usually used is WAVE FILE Format, which is file format for storing digital audio (waveform) data. To edit WAVE files, use can be made of Audacity open source software for recording and editing sounds. In order to create MP3 files, you can use Audacity or LAME( a free and open source MPEG-1 audio layer 3 (MP3) encoder.


After editing you must host your podcast on the Internet, using options such as BLAST PODCAST, PODCASTER HOSTING, Feedburner

and iTunes. Podcast can end up on your website or your blog. If content is reserved for internal users only, you can consider hosting on your intranet.


At the end of this process, you podcast is ready for downloading by users and you must take steps to promote it to your target audience. You can send out alerts any time a new podcasts is published. Also podcast can be delivered to end users on subscription system

End Users’ Process

There are three steps involved in setting up your personal computer to receive podcasts.

1. Install a podcast software

You need to install a podcast software(client) which basically searches for new content and and automatically deliver it to your computer. See List of podcasting software(clients) at

2. Subscribe to podcasts

Once you have the software installed you need to subscribe to some podcasts.

How you do this will vary depending on which software you have chosen. Here is a rough guide to how this might work:

3. Listen to the audio or watch video

As soon as a new episode subscribed to is published online, your podcast software will automatically download it. You can watch or listen to this episode or transfer it to an appropriate player.

Direct Downloading

You have to visit the link with the podcast and download as well or make use make use of Podcatchers as well.


  1. The WAV files are edited using open source software from Audacity (WAVE File Format is a file format for storing digital audio (waveform) data. It supports a variety of bit resolutions, sample rates, and channels of audio. This format is very popular upon IBM PC (clone) platforms, and is widely used in professional programs that process digital audio waveforms. It takes into account some peculiarities of the Intel CPU such as little endian byte order)
  2. AUDACITY - is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
  3. LAME ((LAME is a free and open source MPEG-1 audio layer 3 (MP3) encoder. The name LAME is a recursive acronym for LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder, although the current version is, in fact, a stand-alone MP3 encoder.As of 2004, the general consensus is that LAME produces the highest-quality MP3 files for bitrates greater or equal to 128 kbit/s. In a public listening test early in 2004, LAME MP3 files were the best 128 kbit/s MP3 files compared to the uncompressed original audio.
  4. Podcatcher(is a computer program used to automatically download podcasts. It is a form of aggregator, and can also transfer received audio files to a portable media player)-
  5. iTunes is a proprietary digital media player application, launched by Apple Computer on January 9, 2001 at MacWorld Expo San Francisco 2001 for playing and organizing digital music and video files. The program is also an interface to manage the music on Apple's popular iPod digital audio player. Additionally, iTunes can connect to the iTunes Music Store (sometimes referred to as "iTMS") which allows users to purchase digital music and movie files that can be played by iPods and iTunes.
  6. RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. But it's not just for news. Pretty much anything that can be broken down into discrete items can be syndicated via RSS: the "recent changes" page of a wiki, a changelog of CVS checkins, even the revision of a history book. Once information about each item is in RSS format, an RSS-aware program can check the feed for changes and react to the changes in an appropriate way. RSS-aware programs called news aggregators are popular in the weblogging community. Many weblogs make content available in RSS. A news aggregator can help you keep up with all your favorite weblogs by checking their RSS feeds and displaying new items from each of them.
  7. List of podcasting software(clients)
  8. Step by step guide to getting a podcast from BBC
  9. Use of podcasting


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