CompuSchmooze March 2005 #1: Podcasting Makes Everyone A DJ
By Steven L. Lubetkin
Copyright © 2005 Steven L. Lubetkin. All rights reserved.
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When I was a kid, I had a multiband radio in my room with a cassette recorder hooked up to it. If I heard a song that I liked, I rushed to turn on the cassette recorder to capture the tune. Then, when I filled up a cassette, I transferred the music to reel-to-reel tape, and the reels became the soundtrack of my youth, my very own personal radio station.
Once Apple’s Ipod became the standard device for carrying around personalized audio programs, it was only a matter of time before someone figured out that you could program Ipods and other digital music players with all kinds of audio programs besides music.
According to the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, podcasting is “much like an audio magazine subscription: a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and she or he can listen to them at her or his leisure.”
Adam Curry, one of the earliest of the MTV vee-jays, is credited with bringing the idea of podcasting to reality with a software program called Ipodder that enabled people to download MP3 audio files onto Apple’s Ipod. The fact is that anyone who owns a PC equipped with sound editing software can create audio programs by recording and editing interviews together. But Curry’s groundbreaking software also figured out how to use the new Internet technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a way of delivering news and other information automatically to subscribers through special RSS Newsreaders. By attaching audio files to RSS news stories, Curry and his devotees were able to create a broad audience for these programs.
Today, there are literally thousands of podcasts available on the Web, most of them for free, and you can actually hear some interesting programs at your leisure. Any PC capable of playing sound files can play podcasts, and if the programs are recorded in the standard Windows Media Audio (WMA), MP3, or Apple’s AAC file format, you can download them to a wide range of portable devices to listen while you are mobile.
To find podcasts, check out some of the podcast directory sites. Podcast.net is a sort of Yahoo! for podcasting, with programs categorized by topics. Podcast.net lists 347 programs in the Entertainment category. In the Religion category, while there were 20 Christian podcasts, as of February 21, there were no Jewish podcasts listed.
For Jewish podcasts, you have to look a little harder, and there are very few of any quality right now. You might look at UnionAvenue.net, a site that offers 10 chapters of audio lessons on Maimonides. However, the recordings appear to have been created with a computer program designed to read text in a synthesized voice for the visually impaired, and the voice is difficult to understand.
Podcast Alley offers The Marty Roberts Show on Israel News Radio, with titles like “Psalms: What’s in it for us today?”, Roberts, an ordained Orthodox rabbi, was born in New York and lived in Paramus before making aliyah. His show is updated daily.
Another important resource site, especially for Ipod owners, is http://www.Ipodder.org, maintained by Adam Curry and others, which provides extensive resources about the history of podcasting and a catalog of current podcast programs. And take a look at “The freshest podcasts in the known universe” , which automatically lists all new podcasts as soon as they are broadcast to the web.
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