Music — Invasion of the iPod People

Invasion of the iPod People

 

by Seth Hoy

 

Podcasting is radio for the 21st century

 

First it was sliced bread. Then it was a tray that kept your pizza from sticking to the top of the box. Now it’s a technology that surfs the Internet and automatically downloads audio files directly to your iPod or MP3 player.

And it’s called podcasting.

Much like blogs, podcasts are files people record and post on the Internet — but they are audio files. Most podcasts are recorded in a format almost like a radio show, except without the FCC breathing down their necks.

C.C. Chapman podcasts a show called “Reality Bitchslap Radio” once a week from his home in Milford, Mass. Chapman, a college marketing manager, started his show in early December and now has more than 300 subscribers.

“It’s a non-music show,” Chapman said. “I started Reality Bitchslap Radio because people need to be bitch-slapped back to reality. I initially had a blog which allowed me to talk about life, so I wanted to take that into an audio format. I have a producer, Big Mike, out of San Francisco, so we record when I need to rant and rave about something. I play music on there once in a while. It’s an outlet for me to have fun.”

“I did the radio thing in college,” Chapman added. “I’ve always loved radio. It’s just a cool creative outlet.”

Podcasting is made possible through technology known as iPodder that was first developed by former MTV veejay Adam Curry, affectionately known as the “Pod Father.” Curry’s iPodder downloads podcasts directly to your favorite MP3 program with the help of an RSS feed (Real Simple Syndication). Think TiVo for your radio.

“They call it podcatching software,” said Chapman. “You put in this URL or feed access and say I want to subscribe to this podcast. You set the software to surf — mine is every 60 minutes — and if there isn’t a new podcast at a site, it goes to the next podcast you subscribe to.  If you can configure it right, the podcast will go through your MP3 playing program — I use iTunes — directly onto your iPod.”

In a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a survey shows that one in 10 American adults owns an MP3 player. That’s equivalent to 22 million Americans.

Chapman subscribes to 50 podcast shows for free, which typically run anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. He subscribes to a show called the Dawn and Drew Show. Pioneers in the world of podcasting, Drew Domkus and Dawn Miceli of Wayne, Wisconsin, attract more than 9,000 downloads per show.

“I listen to the whole gamut,” Chapman said. “I listen to some of the geek podcasts like Adam Curry and a boatload of music podcasts. I listen to a few movie reviews podcasts like Reel Reviews — that’s a quality one. Or sometimes I listen to fun ones like Sex Geeks and even seemingly boring ones like Grape Radio. It’s about wine and I don’t even like wine, but I still like listening to it.”

“I even listen to a few religious ones called Godcasts,” Chapman continued. “Like Reverend Tim — there’s just something about him I like. He doesn’t preach hardcore or anything. There’s actually a podcast out there where some guy reads a chapter of the New Testament every day. I’m sure people are listening to him which totally blows my mind.”

Chapman listens to his podcasts on his two-hour commute to work, at home on his computer and at the gym. He surfs podcast directories, like www.podcastalley.com, to find new and different podcasts.

In addition to Reality Bitchslap Radio, Chapman also podcasts a show called Accident Hash, in which he plays indie rock from area bands. He is a member of the Assocation of Music Podcasting (musicpodcasting.org), which means he plays “podsafe” non-RIAA music.

“Accident Hash is my music podcast,” Chapman said. “I don’t talk about anything but music. I just play indie music from local bands in the area. I publicized that I would play every artist at least once and now I have this bucket of CDs. I play all genres — acoustic, rap, indie — anything I can get permission for.”

Like many Americans, Chapman became “podsavvy” when he received an iPod for Christmas. According to Chapman, anyone can podcast — you just have to have a microphone, a computer and a soapbox to stand on. And with more than 3,000 podcast shows across the world, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

“I think it’s going to explode,” Chapman said. “Everyone’s talking about it, which is cool. Everyone’s talking about MP3 players getting bigger and with more features. I can’t see it slowing down — too many people are invested in it.”

TNC New Media, a communication technology and digital media company based in Laguna Niguel, Calif., is sponsoring a Podcast & Portable Media Expo (Nov. 10-12, 2005) in Ontario, Calif. Numerous technology vendors and website ubergeeks will attend the event to discuss the potential growth of podcasting as well as creating and developing new programs and software.

For more information on Chapman’s podcast, visit www.rbradio.net For more information on podcasting, visit www.ipodder.org.

— Seth Hoy

 
2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH