Podcasting is the process of capturing and posting an audio event in digital sound object online. The word podcast was primarily formed as an amalgam of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’, so that can give one a general idea of the nature. Podcasts are similar to radio programs but they are audio files at the listener’s convenience on a variety of media.
By 2007, podcasts had become the source of talk shows and news programs. In, 2005, after the rejection of trademark applications to generalise the term ‘podcast’, it could only be used by Apple applications due to the nature of origin of the term. However by 2006, it was admitted by the Apple Trademark Department that they did not license the term and that they did not object to thirdparties using the term ‘podcast’ to refer to ‘podcasting services’ resulting in the widespread of the technology and common awareness of the name.
This is how podcasting has made its way into the online world by becoming a phenomenon in society and educational system. However, whether it will completely replace radio broadcasting is still a question.
Pondering over the engagement between a listener and podcaster, it can be said that podcasting will go further in catching attention of people merely because they put effort and thought in choosing the brand and trust is what might make them stick to it as opposed to something that they would have to listen to just because there is nothing better on offer at that moment. However, that could also prove to be a bad thing as people are given the choice to flick through podcasts or fast forward them. A podcast is also listened to in often a more private and relaxed space by using headphones or such, so it can prove to be more engaging, as compared to a room or a car. From the podcaster’s point of view, this intimacy is further increased, as mentioned before, with the knowledge that the listeners have deliberately chosen a specific brand which decreases the need for long introductions while also eradicating the need to write according to the requirements of other people’s radio shows when you can be the star of your own.
If we look at it from an educational perspective, the results of many scientific studies on podcasting, have concluded inconsistent. Studies have shown that there is the need to compare results and conclude in a solid knowledge base. In order to effectively use podcasting for educational purposes, a standard process of podcast creation should be attained by teachers. Research is still required in this field as to what type of podcast, style, media, duration, etc. proves to be more enriching.
Some other suggestions for the advancement of podcasting include that the podcaster use their own voice and speak instead of reading, demonstrating enthusiasm and synchronisation with the theme, concepts being explained in terms of phrases and not paragraphs which eventually makes listeners lose interest. Taking a moment for the absorption of complex concepts and revising it in a brief manner goes a long way.
This makes it quite clear that as far as podcasting has already come, it still needs to go a long way if it is to be as common and effective as radio broadcasting once was or maybe even more. The possibilities are endless. It could also result to be a healthy alternative to books, physical lectures, and could also reduce the necessity of carrying lots of things on people’s travels to indulge or educate themselves.
The distribution of podcasts is still in the development zone. They can be downloaded for free or could cost. This is also a situation for educators to set up a domain that provides students free of cost educational podcasts. Podcasts are still not very common among all developers and servers, Apple is one of the most popular and old distributors along with new ones on the rise. The infancy of the efficacy and effectiveness of podcasts is seen at the moment but with current experimentation and research it is bound to be one rapidly progressing industry and investment. It is used also in the training of staff and as a communication channel by big companies. Hence, it can be a vast domain, it can be used as a tour guide, as a health counsellor, or an exercise coach. Whatever it is, the podcast industry is very profitable with 50 million people listening to podcasts everyday which is sure to rise with the advent of the new era. One of the problems that the podcast industry might be facing would be the distribution to area with a non-active Wi-Fi connection as some countries in the world still don’t support high speed internet which may give radio an upper hand but that being said, the world is a hub of continuous advancement and technological progression.