The term podcast combines webcast and broadcast but refers to an audio-only net presentation. Major broadcasters such as CBC Radio and US National Public Radio use it.

A homegrown podcast records internet radio or similar internet audio programs for a much narrower distribution.


Regardless of origins or quality of the program, to listen one must download to portable digital audio devices - typically worn devices that are carried around such as an iPod player. You can then listen to the podcast internet radio program while you are away from your computer or at a different time than the original program was broadcast.


Another similar technique takes telephone audio including voice mail and webcasts it, e.g. Democaster. For example tellbush.org records messages to President Bush and places it online - audio files were being e-mailed to the White House as well.



Unlike blogging which relies only on the ability to write,podcasting takes more skill and equipment - though this doesn't stop a lot of people from attempting to broadcast their voice to your ears with very little of either. Some requirements:
  • You need a good voice. When I put those buds in my ear, I want to hear something pleasant. Though you don't need a radio voice (in fact, podcasts with exaggerated radio voices can be some of the most painful) and won't want voice to sound scripted, it's ok to read from a script, if it's a "loose" reading.
  • You need good equipment. Poor audio in a screencast may not bother you much because you're distracted by video, but low-quality sound is very noticeable in a podcast. You may mix in other music, sounds, and interviews, but even then you need good (though not necessarily expensive) equipment to make it all sound professional. Ryan Irelan has a list of good quality equipment.
  • You need good content. One can skim through hundreds of blogs a day in short increments of time, but I only have so much in-transition time to listen to podcasts. I could load up a bunch of podcasts and try to skim them, but not while cruising down the highway. For most people, text synthesizing skills have been through more training over the years than audio skimming skills. So content must be either highly entertaining or informative.

Anyone can practice with their voice and take voice lessons, but some people just have better voices than others, and they'll naturally gravitate toward podcasting. Good content is something you have a lot more control over. If you care about it, there's usually someone willing to listen... at least once.

Bad voice or content doesn't get in the way of people trying their hand at podcasting. Rather it's investing in good equipment and learning how to use it that slows them down - why bloggers won't become podcasters. Minus a mini recording studio in their home or office, they may still be eager to go "on air" just like the pros. Opportunity knocks: mobile podcasting studios may soon roam our neighborhoods. Or soundproof podcast booth in your local public library.