Online Podcasting rules the digital media age

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Podcasting to the world

We live in an age where digital music reigns supreme and the term “cassette deck” has all but been erased from recent memory.

A result of this wave of innovative technology is podcasting, a relatively new phenomenon that has changed the way media is distributed.

The first podcast scripts were developed for Apple’s iPod. The term “Pod” is an acronym for portable on demand. Typically, Internet feeds stream their content, but a podcast is different from other digital media formats due to its syndication and subscription abilities. New updates are automatically downloaded and transferred to a mobile media device via RSS.

What is RSS? Technically speaking, it stands for “RDF Site Summary,” but to the rest of the digital community, it’s been dubbed “Really Simple Syndication.”

Essentially, RSS is a compilation of web feed formats used to publish updated content including blog entries and news headlines, as well as podcasts. This technology makes it possible for users to stay up to the minute on content without the hassle of checking manually.

To enter into the wide world of podcasting, you’ll need a podcatching client. The most common are Winamp, iTunes, Juice (multi-platform) and Doppler (Windows only). Each client offers its own system to make collecting podcasts as easy as possible. Podcasts are available in audio format or as a combination of audio and video.

If iTunes’ library doesn’t interest you with the podcasts it has available, here are a few sites worth checking out:

• The BBC: If you’re looking for hard-hitting, world news coverage that’s comprehensive and thought provoking, look no further. The BBC offers both audio and video feeds.

• Podcast.net: The essential podcast directory, boasting several thousand broadcasts on a staggering variation of topics, ranging from comedy, politics, religion, as well as local and regional interests.

• CHRW.com: Western’s own CHRW 94.9 FM has its own podcasts, which feature Mustangs sports, as well as a variety of student-run shows. This is especially handy if you want to catch a particular show that runs in the early hours of the morning.

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