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Podcasting on the Rise

Pew just released a report indicating that over 6 million people have listened to a podcast, or as Pew puts it, “this new feature that allows internet ‘broadcasts’ to be downloaded onto their portable listening device.”

I felt in the eye of the storm while reading this report, as just minutes earlier I had downloaded Bohemian Rhapsody from (another student wrote about it, making me all misty for Freddie Mercury, and besides, for 99 cents I can’t resist a song that asks me if I can “do the fandango”). I finished up the Pew report while listening to On the Media, which I usually listen to a second or third time via podcast on my Treo 650 en route to school. It’s a pod, pod, pod, pod world!

Fascinating, who knows what it means, but although more persons of color use iPods and other MP3 players, “There are no differences between men and women owners of iPods/MP3 players when it comes to podcasting. They are equally likely to have downloaded podcasts.” Pew also notes, “surprisingly, there is no notable gap between those who have broadband access and dial-up users when it comes to podcasting.” Maybe that’s because you aren’t streaming a podcast over a slow line; the whole point is that the big, fat file is downloaded and listened to offline, directly from your device of choice.

Podcasting can only be good news for several industries. Based on my growing love of podcasts, I plan to buy two more accessories for my Treo: a much bigger memory card–currently at 256mb–and one of those devices that allows you to play your MP3 player through your car’s FM radio. I have thought about buying an iPod or MP3 player, but if I can avoid one more device, I will hold off as long as I can.

Pew’s podcasting report (don’t say that with crackers in your mouth) also made me poke my mouse at the Public Radio Exchange, where I can feast my ears on recordings about poetry and baseball and interviews and Passover and commentary and art and foolish things and all manner of audible goodness. We do live in wonderful times.

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