Podcasting in the 21st Century

Essay by InnerFireCollege, UndergraduateA-, October 2007

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Podcasting in the 21st Century

Named the "Word of the Year" by the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2005, podcasting has grown in popularity enormously in the last several years. Beginning back in 2000, podcasting has now become as accepted as radio or television. What started as a simple concept is now being used by the Prime Minister of Canada. There are literally thousands of topics one can discover with podcasts. From computers to movies, from cooking to driving, the discussions are endless. It has opened the world to a new form of interaction, and the online community has welcomed this innovative type of communication with open arms.

What is it?

Podcasting can be defined as a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player. It is distributed over the Internet, usually by subscriptions, for playback on personal music players or a computer.

Most podcasters will offer direct downloads or streaming audio of their files on their website. However, what makes a podcast unique from other digital audio is its ability to be downloaded automatically using software, such as RSS or Atom, to read feed formats.


The concept of using syndication feed enclosures was first proposed by Tristan Louis in October of 2000. Dave Winer, the creator of the RSS format, shared the concept with Adam Curry. Many consumers began to ask Winer for audioblogging features. He included this function in RSS 0.92, by creating a new element called "enclosure". It would pass the address of a multimedia file to an RSS aggregator. He showcased this new feature on January 11, 2001, by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his weblog. Winer's company included the new aspect in Radio Userland, their weblogging product. The program...