A brief history of podcasting
Obviously there is a necessity of internet, without which the podcasts could not arise. Quite a short time after the arrival of the internet, weblogs (which are considered in many ways to be a predecessor to podcasting in this history) started to appear. Over the years blogs have become a very popular medium referring on ountless numbers of various themes, disscussions and news not only from people´s personal everyday lifes but also any from the world. The next step towards the podcasts represented the creation of a new technology, called RSS (or RSS feed), an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. This news feed technology, which was developed by Dave Winer, eased reading the blogs (but not only blogs) by notifying the readers. Once a new information was posted, then users received a notification about it. This service is allowed by a program called a news reader (or aggregator) which regularly checks for updates and downloads them to the users´ computers. Another step in the history of podcasting represented audio blogging. Instead of presenting „plain“ texts, people could start recording themselves when speaking and post it to their blogs as the mp3 file. Some audio blogs naturally evolved in to the first podcasts history.
The term podcast is derived from the media player, "iPod", developed by Apple, and the term "broadcast", the traditional means of receiving information and leisure content on the radio or television. When the two words were merged, the terms podcast, podcaster, and the art of podcasting were born.
The first appearance of the word “podcast” in history was in an article in The Guardian Newspaperson 12 February in 2004. The creation of the term is credited to Ben Hammersley who wrote the article and used podcast as a synonym for audioblogging or amateur internet radio. In September of that year, Dannie Gregoire used the term to describe the automatic download and synchronization idea that Adam Curry had developed. Gregoire had also registered multiple domain names associated with podcasting. That usage was discovered and reported on by Curry and Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles website.
An idea of video podcast arised from the podcasting and is its logical expansion. Video podcast, vidcast or vodcast, all the shorts of Video-On-Demand-Casts, represent a similar technology to podcasting, but it does not use the sound format, but deliver a video content. So that it is not an analogy of radios, but rather televisions. Vodcasts are videos in the digital form, which can be either distributed over the RSS feed or watched directly on the web (in form of streaming videos) or they can be downloaded on the users´ computers and saved to the portable video player device such as the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) or the Apple iPod. They can be viewed on the computer using standard software such as Windows MediaPlayer and Apple Quicktime.
There is a little difference between watching the streaming videos and vodcasts: while streaming form has the advantage of possibilty of watching only a part of the video and closing it anytime (there is no need of downloading the whole video), vodcasts on the other side have to be completely downloaded on the computer in case the user wants to watch it more times.
What is needed?
For using podcasts and vodcasts it is necessary to have:
The internet access - presence of the internet and the personal computers in nearly every home makes it possible for podcasts to be broadcasted globally at a very low cost. On the internet there are avilable a lot of special programmes (as already mentioned aggregators or podcatchers) for maintaining and downloading podcasts, thus it depends only on the user for which programme he will decide. Most of them areavailable for free and some of them also include many tools for maintaining the content, setting the automatic actualizations etc. For the beginners there could be suitable Doppler programme (available for downloading on softpedia.com) which is for free and is very easy to download and to operate, while demanding internet users could be more satisfied with BitCast (available on bitscast.com).
Besides these, there are many other podcatching softwares available for free, such as for example iTunes, created by Apple, which is one of the very favourites (available on www.apple.com/itunes/). Others could be Juice (http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net) or Feedburner (www.feedburner.com).
Internet addresses - in searching the podcasts and vodcasts there can help both special web pages with list of links on podcasts and also orange icon with legend „RSS - podcast“ informing the users that there are available podcasts on the web page. By clicking on the icon or on the link itself there will be opened a web page with the podcast. The next step is to copy the internet address of the podcast and paste it into the downloaded programme for maintaining the podcasts (usually as „add feed“).
Among the podcasts & vodcasts finders belong for example:
Podcast Pickle (available on www.podcastpickle.com)
Generally these online services allow searching by using both keywords and predefined categories. In addition, they can offer a list of all the podcasts and vodcasts sorted either by category , by the newest ones or the most visited podcasts and vodcasts.
How to create podcasts and vodcasts?
The basic overview of podcast/vodcast-creating process is as follows:
1. Creating of an audio or a video record which is to be presented on the internet to public. 2. Editing the record with the audio or video-editing software. 3. Uploading the audio/video records on the internet. 4. Creating an RSS feed with the links, titles and descriptions of the audio/video. 5. Presenting the records to others by submitting the records to some of the podcasts directories.
An overview of a wide range of video-editing softwares is available for example on: [Editing the record with the audio or video-editing software. An overview of a wide range of vide-editing softwares is available for example on: www.poweriod-video-editing.co.uk
An example of podcast entry
<title>My Program</title> <link>http://www.mywebsite.com/myaudio.mp3</link> <description>My first podcast</description> <language>en-us</language> <copyright>2005</copyright> <lastBuildDate>Today’s Date*</lastBuildDate> <webMaster>email@example.com</webMaster> <ttl>1</ttl> <item>
<title>Todays Radio Show - Monday</title> <description>Here is my Monday podcast. Hope you like it.</description> <pubDate>Wed, 23 Aug 2006 00:56:00 GMT</pubDate>* <enclosure url="http://www.mywebsite.com/myaudio.mp3" length="4834743" type="audio/mpeg"/> </item> </channel> </rss>
On the internet there is available a wide range of services allowing the creation of podcasts and vodcasts. Thanks to these services, people can easily step by step create and subscribe their own podcast.
An examples are:
How do both technologies work in practice?
Once the new epizode comes out and is placed on internet, the specialized program (so called podcatcher or podcast receiver), continuously monitoring the new files, will automatically download them directly to the user´s personal player. (for example program Juice which is offered for free) The user can retrospectively play it or also download it manually anytime. There we can see also another great advantage of podcasting, which is the easy extensibleness of the content. Users have only to record digital voice file, place it on the internet and put it up for downloading. In spite of the fact that podcasters' web sites can also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
Utilization of podcasts has changed a lot recently. While initially the podcasting arised to allow individuals to distribute their own radio-style shows, nowadays the using is spread to nerly all spheres of the people´s actitity. Podcasting and vodcasting is for example used at schools, in a business sphere, in a field of science or also by police departments to distribute public safety messages etc.
There are some examples of usage podcasts and vodcasts:
Listening to the favourite radio stations
Since autumn 2004 many radio stations have began to offer the possibility of downloading selected programmes in form of podcasts, so that people can decide when and where they will be listening to their favourite programmes. These radio stations (see the chapter Some examples of the radio stations ...) deliver especially news and interview shows.
Using podcasts/vodcasts in education
There are many professionals interested in this technology, such as teachers, doctors, economists or also schools and educational institutions who can educate in „a modern and effective way“. Thanks to podcasts or vodcasts the information exchange is possible practically anytime and anywhere and the great advantage (as already mentioned before) is a fact, that the „users“ can come back to the lecture anytime. Assist in this could also new mobile phones, by of which way it is possible to download the RSS chanels and of course the multimedias saved in them. Users then could for example in the bus or while shopping listen to the lecture, which they did not catch to participate. There could be running also various educational courses by this way and odcasting can also be a publishing tool for students´ oral presentations. Video podcasts can be used in all these ways as well.
Audio & video blogs
Blogging has become a popular way for people to share their thoughts on the internet. Nowadays nearly everybody can carry on podcasting or vodcasting - there is enough to have a PC, headsets with a microphone, mobile phone with a dictafone or web or any other digital camera. The spoken word or videos added a new personal element to the media of blogging. Users much better react on multimedias than on plain texts. Now they need not to read anything but only listen or watch and that is what gives the atractivity and popularity to blogs themselves.
Advantages and disadvantages
Among the main advantages of using podcasts or vodcasts belong:
- supplement to the text news service
Often not so interesting text news can become much more attractive when they are supplemented with multimedias. This is very effective mainly in the world news, where the articles include video reportages as well. This is not only the solution for people who do not want to read but it also improves the quality of the news because it brings the more realistic view on them.
- attracting new visitors and creating the relationships
Podcasting is a very useful for example in the fields of home and world news service and can be advantageus especially for very busy people who need or want to be in the picture concerning any news from nearly any fields of their interest. In addition to this there is no need to read or surf the internet in order to find some news and that is what makes podcasting so attractive. Furthermore, podcasting is not only a way of informing people about the news but also helps to create more trustworthy and closer relationships with the users. This can be useful both in business and blogs or anywhere else.
- offline replaying
Offline replaying is a great advantage because it saves listeners´ time, who can not always catch their favourite session or the programme in the time it is broadcasted. The only thing they have to do is to set the date and time of the broadcasting, which will be then downloaded automatically to the listeners´ computers. It allows a very flexible way of for example learning, because students can listen anywhere (the computer is not a necessity) and any time. Furthermore offline replaying is also advantageous from the technical point of view, The quality of listening can be much better than the one during the online listening. The examples are streaming audio/video files, which can be interupted during their playing, while already downloaded records are reliable to be replayed.
- necessity of the tools
Special tools, such as microphone, a digital camera or video camera or a portable mp3 voice recorder and podcasting software are a condition without which the podcasts or vodcasts could not be created (but of course, everything depends on what and in what quality people want to record). On the other side there is a possibility both to decrease the expenses and also to simplify the creating of podcasts by using for example Sound Recorder, which is the recording utility included in Windows. It enables basic functions, such as recording, mixing, playing and editing sounds.
- demanding data transmission
Using of the podcasting services can be worsen by the large size of the multimedial documents, in contrast to text data, which are very easy to a quick trasmission. Anyway, I believe this problem will disappear in an early future and the size of multimedias will hand in hand with development of computers and networks slowly become unimportant and the internet will tend towards the full interactivity.
- Downloading of unclaimed multimedias
Podcast players often download all of the multimedias from given channel, and even those that the user does not look throught at all. But depending on the intelligence of the reader, this problem can be eliminated. Some readers enables the user to define what files are to be downloaded.
Some examples of the radio stations using podcasting
Among radio stations supporting podcasts belong for example:
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC radio) - The BBC, the international news and media organization, was one of the earliest creators of podcasts. They first offered a limited number of traditional BBC audio programs as podcasts. Since then, the BBC expanded the list of podcasts they offer (covering everything from drama to news to sports) to many more audio podcasts, video trials (an experiment they stopped in 2007), and music-only podcasts (started in November 2007).
Triple J - Australian radio station.
Nostalgie - The Belgian commercial radio station which has been the first one who podcasted some of their programs (in April 2005)
CBC Podcast - CBC offers the best of popular national Radio One shows, CBC TV's The Hour, regional podcast magazines, exclusive musical talent from Radio 3 and special podcast-only features.
Corus Entertainment - radio stations across Canada providing podcasts for specialty shows
Radio Zero - Started podcasting in June 2005, becoming the first radio station in Chile that provided this kind of digital services.
Deutsche Welle - Deutsche Welle was the first main broadcaster that started to publish audiovisual content via podcast in 2004 in Germany. Beside that, there is a 24h livestream of the entire TV-program.
RTE - RTE provide a small number of shows as podcasts which bring the latest Irish, world and international news and up to the minute reports on breaking Irish news stories and news from around the world.
Repubblica TV - The radio founded by Repubblica (Italy's second most important newspaper), is available either as a stream or as a podcast.
Radio New Zealand - The Public Broadcaster Radio New Zealand began a podcast trial in February 2006 with just two programmes, and by August 2006 had extended this to cover most of its major programmes. The podcasts are now a permanent fixture on the RNZ website
Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation - The national broadcaster NRK podcasts many of their programs . All are stripped for music for rights compliance, except for a program featuring unsigned Norwegian bands under the label Untouched Music.
Polskie Radio Szczecin - The public radio Polskie Radio Szczecin has started publishing podcast of computer magazine Trącić myszką on 17 August 2005.
Cadena Ser - Private Spanish radio station.
Swedish Radio Ltd - The public Swedish radio station.
Podcasting and vodcasting are technologies that represent the revolution in the internet broadcasting. As well as there have arised hundreds thousands of blogs (there are also many of a high quality), there have have been arising thousands of podcasts nowadays too. They are simply new, exciting and powerful phenomenons and that is what make them so popular.