TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Podcasting Is Still Not Quite Ready For the Masses

Podcasting Is Still Not Quite Ready For the Masses

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 14 Aug 2005 14:18:39 -0400

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In this issue of the Digest, our
regular correspondent Monty Solomon has colllected a number of
articles from the media of interest on 'Podcasting', the relatively
new technique for audio presentations on the net. I hope you will
find this collection of articles interesting. PAT]

July 6, 2005

The process of receiving, and creating, blogs has gone mainstream and
become quite simple. Anyone can compose and post a blog -- a
personal, diary-like Web site filled with text and photos -- in a
matter of minutes using free online services like Google's Blogger or
Microsoft's MSN Spaces. Last month, I explained how to do it in my
guide to blogging (see ).

But text blogs are yesterday's news. The hottest new trend in
personal online content creation is something called a podcast,
essentially a short personal radio show or audio blog. They can be
downloaded and played back on a computer or a portable music player
like Apple's iPod, whence the genre draws its name.

Podcasts range from slick productions offered by big media companies
and amateur broadcasters; to clever and entertaining offerings from
smart, undiscovered talent; to crude diatribes and snooze-inducing
lectures by people the mainstream media proved wise not to hire. Some
are just talk, some include music. Some sound like they were recorded
on a 1971-vintage RadioShack cassette recorder, others -- even from
amateurs -- are studio-quality.

These audio blogs, once the province mainly of techies, took a big
step toward the mainstream last week when Apple began offering
thousands of them, free, through its market-leading iTunes music
store and iTunes music software. Anyone can submit a podcast for
distribution through iTunes, and any iTunes user can download it. The
company doesn't charge a penny for listing or downloading podcasts.

So, this week, my assistant Katie Boehret and I set out to see how
easy it is to get and create podcasts. The good news is that, with
its iTunes move, Apple has made receiving podcasts as simple as
downloading music. The bad news is that neither Apple nor anyone else
has made it nearly as simple to create a podcast and get it online as
it is to create and post a text and photo blog. Until that happens,
podcasting won't be truly mainstream.

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