Podcasts: A New Wave of Digital Media
Podcasts are a form of digital media that have gained popularity in recent years. But what exactly are podcasts and how do they work?
A podcast is a program made available in digital format for download over the Internet. For example, an episodic series of digital audio files that a user can download to a personal device to listen to at a time of their choosing. Podcasts are primarily an audio medium, with some programs offering a supplemental video component
The term “podcast” is a portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcast”. The history of podcasting began with the creation of the iPod. The earliest use of “podcasting” was traced to The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley, who coined it in early February 2004 while writing an article for The Guardian newspaper
Podcasts are hosted on streaming applications such as Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts. The creator of a podcast is known as a podcaster. Podcasters interested in creating their own podcast have several avenues to publish their work. Unlike radio stations and television networks, which are often subject to regulations and approvals, several podcasting platforms allow for self-publishing. In order to create a new podcast, one needs a few pieces of equipment, such as a microphone, pop filter, and headphones. One also needs access to audio recording and editing software to produce one’s own audio content
For listeners, a podcast operates like an on-demand Internet radio show. One can listen to episodes on a podcast app or subscribe to podcasts online using an RSS feed. Podcast subscribers are notified each time a new episode is available. Most smartphones, including iPhones and Android phones, will come equipped with a media player, which allows one to subscribe to podcasts and stream or download podcast episodes
There are various types of podcasts, ranging from scripted fiction to news and current affairs.
Some of the popular podcast genres are:
- Scripted fiction: Scripted fiction podcasts are audio-only theatrical productions. Some fictional podcasts might tell a single serialized story—much like a TV show or audiobook—or they may tell a new story with each episode
- Interview: Interview podcasts feature a host who interviews one or more guests on a specific topic or theme. The guests are usually experts, celebrities, or influential figures in their respective fields1
- News and current affairs: News and current affairs podcasts cover the latest events and issues from around the world. They may also provide analysis, commentary, and opinions on various topics. Some news podcasts are produced by established media outlets, such as The Times of India or NDTV, while others are independent or alternative sources of information
- Educational: Educational podcasts aim to teach or inform the listeners about a certain subject or skill. They may also provide tips, advice, or guidance on various aspects of life. Educational podcasts can be useful for students, professionals, or anyone who wants to learn something new
- Comedy: Comedy podcasts are designed to make the listeners laugh. They may feature jokes, sketches, satire, parody, or improvisation. Comedy podcasts can be a great way to relieve stress and have fun1
Podcasts have become one of the most popular forms of digital media for both consumers and creators, and millions of new episodes are published to podcast directories every day. As of December, there are at least 2,999,008 podcasts and 152,596,784 episodes
Podcasts offer a convenient and engaging way to consume and create content. They also provide a platform for diverse voices and perspectives to be heard and shared. Podcasts are a new wave of digital media that are here to stay