IT: Technology, Language, and Culture

Podcasting Resources

I attended the World Science Fiction Convention, L.A.Con IV, where, among other things, I listened to a panel discussion on pod casting on August 24th. Here’s the official description from the program guide:

Podcasting Science Fiction Speaker(s): Stephen Eley, Evo Terra, John O’Halloran, Paul Fischer (Moderator)

Is there a market for science fiction and fantasy via podcast? Is there even an audience? Can you make money directly or is it just a way to get your material known? If you’re a reader/consumer, is this a good way to find science fiction and just how do you find what you want?

The panel began with an overview of what podcasting is, with some discussion of its virtues. John O’Halloran likes the fact that podcasts are available on demand; the data is available when you want it, primarily because of the use of RSS and other Web services to distribute podcasts. Fischer agreed, emphasizing that it’s what you want, when you want it, and if you decide you don’t want it, you simply stop downloading it. Evo Terra added that if you don’t find what you want in terms of a podcast, then you can create it. He also mentioned the importance of receiving a response from listeners via email or blog comments.

Since many of the audience weren’t yet making or downloading podcasts, a fair amount of time was spent on basic information in terms of locating, listening to, and creating podcasts. You don’t need an iPod to download or play podcasts; the normal file format for a podcast is an MP3 file, playable in iPods and hosts of other MP3 players, on computers, a number of CD-ROM and audio CD players, and of course, MP3s can easily be converted to other audio formats and even burned to an audio CD.

Apple’s free iTunes player, for Mac and Windows is an easy way to locate and play podcasts. Some people prefer the free Mac or Windows application MyPodder from PodCastReady.com, which allows you to find and download podcasts to a variety of media and devices. Other ways of finding podcasts, aside from the usual ‘net sources like word of mouth, or positive mentions on Web logs and Web pages, are dedicated services, like SFFAudio.com, which offers reviews of SF and Fantasy audio in a variety of formats, both online and off. PodcastPickle.com is a searchable directory of podcasts, organized by name, by genre, by language and by popularity.

The following are suggestions, and pointers, for the beginning podcaster, culled from the panel participants and not necessarily attributed: