Podcasting is one of the new terms in online journalism. It simply means putting news and information into an audio MP3 format and making it available to folks who own MP3 players – millions of them.
News web sites, particularly broadcast sites where this is a natural, are beginning to use this method to reach those who want to do more than just listen to music on their MP3 players, according to Jonathan Dube, Cyberjournalist.net. (In addition to the MP3 players, there are lots of cellphones that have MP3 capability.) Dube cites an article in Digital-Lifestyles.info that says the BBC used this method for extending one of its programs late last year, and the file got 100,000 downloads.
The technology and technique are not confined to broadcasters, of course. Any news outlet can create these files and offer them to an audience that might not otherwise be exposed to its content. (The term “podcasting” comes from Apple’s iPod, which dominates the world of MP3 players.)
(Posted Jan. 25, 2005)
Update: Cyberjournalist has posted more information on the growing phenomenon of podcasting. As a result of the success of podcasting for the radio show On the Media, WNYC is going to start making another of its shows available as an MP3 download. The WNYC news release announcing this plan says the podcasting of On the Media has added significantly to the show’s audience:
“Podcasting is a remarkable boon for local radio broadcasts,” added Phil Redo, VP of Station Operations and Strategy. “This easy-to-access, easy-to-use technology allows local programming to transcend the limitations of both traditional radio and online streaming, by allowing users to plug into great programming from far-flung places, anytime, anywhere.”
WNYC launched the first podcast of an NPR program in January 2005 to great success. NPR’s On the Media, the station’s nationally-broadcast media analysis show, has doubled the amount of listeners it reaches online in just four weeks. OTM’s podcast audience now rivals the number of individuals that would enjoy the program in a mid-sized media market like St. Louis or Kansas City.
(That is an interesting way to describe the growth int he audience. It would have been nice had the writer of the press release also used some real numbers.) (Posted Feb. 12, 2005)
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