To think how far podcast technology has come in the past ten to fifteen years is mind-blowing. Not long ago, everything was low-quality and people were stuck at home with either headset mics or incredibly expensive setups making podcasts only available via a handful of platforms. This is no longer true. Podcasting has taken its place in society as consume-as-you-please radio that offers all sorts of commentary on a wide variety of topics, and is produced by everyone from radio professionals, to academics, to friends who want to talk shop and enjoy themselves – and all of these groups have audiences.
The Technology Jump Allows Podcasting to Evolve
Microphones are cheaper, software is free, and companies are making LTE 4G dongles that allow you to stream high-quality VOIP sessions wherever you are, so you’re no longer limited to podcasting within the safe confines of your home or studio. Podcasting has ventured out into the world, and brought back not only a huge audience, but a wealth of individuals whose valuable thoughts would have remained unrecorded otherwise.
These days, podcasting doesn’t just involve a powerful computer and a studio-level audio setup. You could even ring into a podcast via your O2 iPhone and a Skype app – it’s that simple. Whether you’re a comedy show or a political debate, quality somewhat aside for the moment, what matters is how accessible, knowledgeable and entertaining you are. It’s now as simple as recording a VOIP call for an hour and doing a little editing in GarageBand or whatever chosen software you’re using (Audacity is a good multi-platform example).
It’s also worth mentioning that all of this software is 100% free, as is submitting your podcast to iTunes. There are no financial barriers to entry when it comes to recording unless you’re talking hardware, and even then it’s possible to find headsets and mics that deliver fantastic audio for lower prices than you’d expect, though you’ll still need to throw a fair bit of cash at your setup if you want radio-quality material.
Social Networking and Podcast Evolution
The other advantage podcasting has been granted as of late (relatively speaking) is Twitter, as it has allowed people not only to promote their podcasting work, but also to make connections that lead to guests coming onto the show, and lead to better research and a more engaged audience. Questions can be submitted via the platform before the show, and podcasters can engage with their audience on a personal level.
This accessibility means that podcasting isn’t just limited to people wanting to talk about videogames twice a week, either – it also means it can be brought into schools, colleges and universities. In an academic paper by Gardner Campbell titled “There’s Something in the Air: Podcasting in Education,” Campbell states that the accessibility of open-source tools like Audacity has meant that students can utilise podcasting for the benefit of their education.
Podcasting is giving the power of radio back to those who love the medium.
Podcasting now offers radio content to those who would normally not have access to the right airwaves in order to hear it. Imagine if you will a world where you couldn’t listen to BBC radio or This American Life because they were exclusive to national (or even city-wide) airwaves. Where shows like the BBC’s podcast “In Our Time” are not available to you. Such incredible sources of education on a wide variety of subjects would be locked off because you hadn’t invested in a mile high radio mast.
Podcasting defenestrates all of this with considerable passion. It’s an incredible format for broadcasting education, drama, discussion, philosophy, lectures, debates, jokes, heart-to-heart conversations and countless other approaches. Easily made, easily distributed, and open to the people thanks to leaps and bounds in technology and pricing. Podcasting is a people’s platform.
Jaime Wills is a writer who focuses on anything to do with technology, art, mobile handsets and companies like Apple. She is also a keen traveller and she’s always available on Google Plus