It appears that one element that has seen growth in the past few years is a type of program called a “Podcast”. What a podcast is is a radio program that isn’t heard on a radio. It’s an audio program that is available through various sources found within cyberspace. They may be accessed through a dedicated website, a podcast virtual “store”, or other places sourced where one can hear this form of programming through any electronic device that connects to the ‘net, especially if there is a speaker attached as it’s all sound. Maybe some video is attached to the program, that consists of the people presented the podcast seated behind mics and donning headphones, but it’s in respect sound only!
It’s no real surprise why there forms of invisible radio shows are abundant by nature. They are reactively easy to create. All one needs is a microphone, a device to record or “capture” the sounds connected to the mic, and a person or persons to speak on whatever they have to speak about. One can use an audio software application to dress up the program such as software that can edit the sounds, add music beds or some other form of audio to make the program something worth listening to, and the person(s) presenting the material on what they are speaking about.
Many podcasts are basically in a talk show format. There will be a host, or a series of hosts delivering the contact of the podcast’s topics. They may speak about various subjects. They may talk about health issues, global warming, hobbies, the media, and even religion and politics. The host(s) should be knowledgeable of the subjects on hand, and present their topics in a clear, interesting, and perhaps amusing format and method. There are a few podcasts that are traditional “DJ”-type program playing music designed for the program. But many of these podcasts out there are strictly voice.
The cost of creating a podcast are very minimal. All one needs is a decent microphone, (many smart phones have mic system that range from “ok” to professional), a device to record the sounds, and access to that for noted digital audio editing and sweetening software. Some of this software one can pay for that features all of the “bells and whistles” that make a podcast sound appealing, and there are others that although limited in what they can do, are fine for capturing voice and related audio.
Although most podcasts are recorded to listen to where and when one desires to hear, a few a presented on a live basis, enough to where the program can take calls on the air in the same fashion that radio talk shows have done for generations. And unlike over the air radio, one can hear and perhaps participate in the program wherever one may have internet access, from Georgia USA to Georgia Eastern Europe. The range and scope is nearly endless!
However, the success of a podcast is the next step. Grated, because their are more podcasts out there to tune in to, the amount of listeners must choose who and what they want to tune in to. Many celebrities and known people of interest seem to have the biggest amount of followers. Also, programs that has been around for a number of years also tend to receive vast amount of subscribers and regular audiences. They is why most of the most listened to podcasts presently available have been around for seven years of more. One specific podcast is This American Life hosted by Ira Glass that’s been a fixture on non-commercial radio stations since the 1990’s. (Many of these stations are connected to schools, nonprofit organizations, or affiliates as National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and related networks. This American Life is a non-fiction documentary series that also features audio essays, memories, shorter fiction, with the occasional “found audio” of something of interest.
But getting back to the rest of the story as the late Paul Harvey would be known to say. Some podcasts have been running for years, and many only have a few episodes. They reason for this limited amount of programs? Many podcast producers create and even host a podcast because not only having the desire to be heard out in cyberspace land, but because they can just create a podcast! That is part of the good-news-bad-news scenario of podcasts. The good news about having such a program is because anyone can do it. The bad news is that anyone can do it!
Why is that bad, or at least not so favorable? Because the hosts at times doesn’t seem to know how to create a program that is worth anyone’s time to hear. Many of the programs this writer attempted to listen to over time were not done in any professional nature. Some of the host or hosts were not focused on the topic they were suppose to speak about. Many were rambling with too many “uhhs” and “ahhs” within their speech patterns. And what they had to say showed little knowledge to what they were talking about! People may be fans of cooking or comic book super heroes, but if all they do is let you know that are are fans of the topic without giving reasons why they are devoted to their subject without letting the listeners be aware on how much they know and why the listener should know, then the entire concept of the podcast loses its appeal.
And their place of recording were not as ideal as they could be. The acoustics were fair to poor with reverb heard within the wall of the room or location where the podcast originated. Some even had ambiance noise heard in its background from kids babbling, dogs barking, and the occasional large vehicle passing by! (One podcast had an emergency vehicle go by complete with siren blasting while the host attempted to speak or yell over the loud noise!)
One can find various tips through a ‘net search on how to record great sounding podcasts, as well as how to make one’s podcast worth its while. But podcasts seems to be the trend for the moment. One can say that this is radio’s second (or third, or fourth) coming. However, it’s not on the radio! So call this radio’s pseudo-second, third, or fourth coming.
Many of our readers have asked us if Accessibly Live Off-Line will even create a podcast? Our short answer is “no”. The long answer is if one wanted to have us as part of the podcast world, then we’ll allow anyone to read a back issue of this news service to those out in podcast land. Just make sure you give us credit for the contact. (We own it after all!) Until then, we’ll keep our ears cocked toward our speakers and tune it, or be donning our headphones for the audio. Earbuds, as wonderful as they are, don’t seem to cut it for us. Maybe we have yet to find a pair of earbuds that can produce decent sound. But that aspect is for another article. You can read all about it, or hear all about it soon!
PS…Where did the name “podcast” get its start to describe there programs? It came from the Apple iPod, a device where one can add and store audio files with a device that is is about the size of a cigarette lighter, but as small as a pack of gum. The term “pod” meant that any audio can be accessed through this device. When iPods came out of fashion since Apple had iPod devices built in to the iPhone operating system, the term “pod” meaning any device that plays back audio sounds because part of the name of these audio programs.
Now you know!
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