Podcasting is a term you can now hear everywhere. “Download the podcast now!”, “iTunes and Podcasting.”, “The latest and greatest thing is Podcasting”.

But what is it?

Podcast (1) : is a way to “publish” audio files on the internet by giving them out for download and allowing listeners to subscribe to it.

Technically, a podcast is refering to an audio file typically either a mp3 or an AAC file that you can download from the web and listen to and an accompanying RSS feed.

Anyone can make an audio file and it can be about anything. Think of it as your own personal radio station. If you are making the podcast, you can put together you little soundbites and talk about things, interview people, do whatever you want. You make this “show” and then you place it online. Now people can download it. What makes it a podcast is that you use a RSS feed to syndicate it.

RSS: Rich Site Syndication or also known as Real Simple Syndication, is a text file that contains enough data for RSS programs to display a title, summary, and a link to get the file.

How did this get the name Podcast? Well, iTunes and the iPod! People who started to download these audio files with content were putting them onto their iPods and then taking it with them. Adam Curry, a guy living in London, started the podcast revolution. He started to make these audio files and while he was driving his car. It was like an audio blog. He then placed it on his web site for people to download, he included the syndication, people downloaded it, put it on their iPod and Bam! The Podcast was born.

It started to gain momentum with a few people making little programs to help with getting the Podcast. Then in an update to iTunes, the Podcast was given support. Right from iTunes you could now subscribe to a Podcast and iTunes can automatically download the tracks to your computer when they are avaiable. From that point, Podcasts went through the roof! Everyone’s doing podcasts. Major websites are now using Podcasts as a way to deliever news content and features, or best of’s.

Another definition:

Podcast (2): Listening to radio shows on your iPod.

There is another definition of a podcast that was originally started but has seemed to have disappeared. However, I still think of it as a podcast.

Another way to podcast is to take radio content and timeshift it – listen to it later after its been aired when you want to hear it – by putting it on your iPod.

I do this often with the Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1. I use Audio Hijack Pro to record the show and then have it automatically transfer to iTunes and then to my iPod. If you want to do this, or record any other show from the net, you can read about Integrating Audio Hijack Pro with iTunes

Video Podcasting

There is a new type of podcasting. It’s a more multimedia rich experience and basically is syndication for small online videos. Instead of just making an audio file for a podcast, you can now make a video clip. This is easy if you have an iSight and Quicktime Pro. All of a sudden you can make a Video Podcast, put it online, and then syndicate it.

It’s new and its exciting. It’s taking multimedia to the next level!

Of course, the great thing about Video Podcasts is that with the new Video iPod you can take it with you just like you did with audio Podcasts.

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