According to an Edison Media Research report a course in miracles has risen 18% in popularity during the last year alone. Public awareness of podcasting has risen even more, soaring from 22% in 2006, to an astonishing 37% in 2007.
Many of you have heard the term podcast before, but may have no idea what it actually means. Simply, podcasting is the concept of downloading or streaming an online audio broadcast in a digital format that can be played back in a variety of media devices, including your computer. In fact, it was recently reported that 80% of podcast episodes are consumed on a PC, and were never transferred to a portable media device, like an Apple iPod. Many podcast are also streamed live on the internet, alleviating the need to download the actual audio file. Most podcasts contain audio only, but many are starting to include video content.
The term podcasting is quite confusing and misleading for many people. Like blogging before it, many people have heard of podcasting, but really don’t know what it entails. The “pod” within the term podcast was coined from the popular digital music player the iPod, and “cast” is short for broadcast. This term is also misleading, because an iPod is not necessary when listening to podcasts.
Podcasting’s initial aim was to create an avenue for the public to distribute personal radio style programs, but quickly spread to a wide variety of additional uses. Podcasts may be used to distribute corporate information, political agendas, audio tours, or provide public safety messages. Podcasting is also becoming especially popular in education. Podcasting enables teachers and faculty to communicate course curriculums, assignments, and other pertinent information with parents on a regular basis.
Many sites offer the option of directly downloading or streaming their podcasts, but podcasts have the ability to be automatically downloaded which is also known as syndication. The best way to obtain podcast programming is to use a podcast aggregator. A podcast aggregator is software used to subscribe and automatically receive podcasts that are syndicated. This ability to effortlessly and conveniently receive updated, relevant, and fresh content is part of what makes podcasting so powerful.
Consumer controlled content is clearly the future for both audio and video media outlets. With podcasting, consumers are in control of when, what, and how they want to listen to or view their daily programming. Podcast production and distribution is also less expensive than traditional media which has led to a proliferation of available podcast content. All over the world, a variety of people are creating podcasts on a diverse assortment of subjects ranging from the preparation of exotic cuisine, to music, to politics, and millions of other topics.