My current workplace wants to get started doing podcasting. So I am setting up a podcast rss file. The unique thing here is that it will be dynamically updated. The audio will be saved to the server automatically. Then a script I am writing will check the directory for the 30 most recent files and then pull from a database a title and a description/summary that is entered by the production staff. All of this will be formatted into a rss feed that is usable by iTunes or other podcast aggregating software.
We will submit it to Apple’s iTunes podcast directory when it is all set up. My script is mostly ready, but I am waiting for the audio guys to get back from some conference they are at and start loading the mp3 files. Podcasting is really very simple. The hardest part for some folks is probably getting the rss file format correct. It has to be strict xml so it can be confusing. Other than that there is not much to it.
Personally I do not listen to podcasts… partly because I don’t have an iPod, but you can listen on a computer. So an iPod is not necessary, just use iTunes on your computer. I have not found any compelling content yet. Most podcasts are just audio blogs. Really, I don’t understand why some people go through the trouble. It is kind of like a lot of blogs… ahem, not mine of course. Maybe a better comparison is talk radio, without commercials, except some do have commercials, but without people who talk on the radio for a living. Imagine your neighbor talking to themselves. Now imagine you just spent 5-30 minutes looking through a digital listing and then downloading that to your computer and listening. That is what podcasting seems like to me.
There are professional podcasts that are the saved versions of radio or TV broadcasts. Which is basically what my workplace is doing. We post the full text of certain programs and offer on demand streaming, so podcasting is just another delivery method. I have listened to some sports and tech professional podcasts. But I find myself thinking I can just listen to the radio or read a web site.