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Podcasting - What You Don't Know Could Hurt Your Business
by Steve Humphrey

If you've been online recently, I'm sure you've heard about podcasting. You might be wondering "What's in it for me?" Or perhaps "Why should I care about that?" There are many valid reasons for you to get informed about this hot new technology.

Think of a podcast as a way to deliver audio content to a very large worldwide audience. The easiest analogy is to think of this technology as giving you the power to create your own online radio program.

First, the name is a little misleading. It comes from 'iPod' and "broadcasting". It doesn't mean you need an iPod to get involved. You can listen right on your computer.

Podcasting is made possible by RSS (a type of XML computer code). But have no fear! You don't need to know programming at all. RSS is simply a delivery system that allows people to subscribe and stay up to date any time you add a new podcast show.

Having an iPod or similar digital MP3 Audio player is not required. You can download audio files to your device and take the audio shows with you. Or you can simply stream the audio and listen to the podcast show on your computer.

There is a lot of free podcast audio for you to listen to online. Do a search for "podcast" or "MP3" and you'll see what I mean.

What's out there? Music, interviews, seminars, educational shows, technology shows, news, sports...the list of topics is amazing. Some people say that podcasting it's going to replace radio and TV.

Not True. However, podcasting is changing the face of online audio and traditional radio. Podcasters already number in the thousands. The number of businesses and individuals making podcasts is growing at a rapid pace.

So where can you find these podcasts? Check out any of these sites:

www.podblaze.com www.podcastalley.com www.podcastbunker.com

Or search for more of these directories with Google, Yahoo, and other search engines and directories.

What about making your own podcast for your own business or website? That's not exactly rocket science. Get some sound recording software (Audacity or WavePad, for example) and a microphone. Then record some MP3 files yourself.

All that's left is to get them up on the web somewhere and have them formatted into RSS. Some blogging software and services allow you to attach audio to a blog post. There's even free programs you can use.

For example, you could open a Producer account at:


You can start with the free account, which lets you store up to 40MB of MP3 files on their server. It's enough for about four half-hour shows.

That's an easy and risk-free way to try out podcasting. They also have paid accounts for people who want to do more than experiment with this new media.

Now why would you want to podcast? I can think of many good reasons. Here's a few: Put some recordings of your band up and maybe you'll get a recording contract. Sweet!

If you did a teleseminar, make it available to the world. Position yourself as an expert and people will take you more seriously.

Maybe you know about news items that the local and national media won't pick up. Podcasting gives your story a chance to be heard. Maybe you just want to share something personal with the world.

Whatever your reason for wanting to put your music or voice on the web, podcasting is an easy and inexpensive way to do it. So pick up that microphone and record your thoughts. I'm waiting to hear it.

About the Author

Steve Humphrey spent almost 20 years in the telecom industy before becoming a free-lance programmer and consultant. He's taught himself 7 (or more) computer languages and written two ebooks that teach people how to use CGI, Perl and PHP. He was using the Internet several years BEFORE the Web existed. He started building web pages the old-fashioned way - by hand in NotePad. Likes DreamWeaver but still works mainly in text editors.