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Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  big impact- podcast: homemade broadcasts threaten mainstream radio

Mainstream radio, a beloved institution across the United States, is under serious threat from homemade shows downloaded to personal music players.

The so-called podcasts, recorded by amateurs worldwide, are finding web-based audiences of thousands, usually with no advertising other than word of mouth or online recommendation.

It is the newest form of DIY media, after the blog, to challenge traditional outlets.

A podcast is recorded broadcast that can be downloaded from the Internet on to a portable device such as an iPod or other MP3 player.

Inexpensive to produce, they require only access to a computer, microphone and the necessary free software.
Listeners usually pay nothing for the casts, which download automatically whenever a new file appears.

Like blogs, podcasts cater to a vast range of interests and are free from the constraints of commercial broadcasting.

The phenomenon is a little over 10 months old but has already gripped a significant number of Internet users, who are abandoning their radios in favor of the new format.

Established radio stations and other networks are already attempting to keep up, with the BBC conducting trials.

But it is often the DIY kitchen or garden shed recordings that hog the top of the new podcast “charts”.

It’s pretty much killed the radio and some haven’t listened to radio since the appearance of podcast. Some listen to podcast in the car and even in back yard. Some think that in smaller communities this could kill audiences for commercial stations.

There are irreverent shows such as Whack My Bush, poking fun at public figures, alongside the humorous specialists; Slacker Astronomy’s Chit Chat is hosted by sometimes inebriated stargazers while the Coffee Geek podcast serves espresso obsessive.

A technological research company recently forecast that by 2010, the number of American podcast users would reach 60 million.
Among the most popular is the Dawn and Drew Show (, one of the first launched last September.

A soap opera-style production from the living room of a married couple’s Winconsin farmhouse, it features them chatting and joking about their day-to-day life.

The show’s global audience now exceeds 35,000 despite its claimer: “Some of the things we say are nasty and raunchy, and some may not even true”.

A Dutchman has launched a podcast about the “religious and mythological symbolism in the Harry Potter novels”.

Leland, whose site’s viewer figures are doubling every month, said: “You can hear what you want to hear when you want to hear it”.

He has just begun to make a small profit from advertising.

Many industry experts, however, claim that podcasting will benefit conventional stations by exposing them to a worldwide audience and encourage professional broadcasters to “create again”.

It’s brought back the golden age of radio because broadcasting is about programmes, and they have vanished in the sea of all-talk, all-music radio stations. – Telegraph Group Ltd. London.

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