Podcast Primer: What Exactly is a Podcast and How Does it Work?

March 14, 2019

My Journey Making This Technology Work For Me

Podcasting is an ubiquitous term. Simply put, it is a file that has been created to post on the internet. It can be either in video or audio format. This is a pretty broad definition and because of the newness of the term, often times there is no defining “audio” or “video” word proceeding podcast.
 

How is the podcast file broadcasted to the public? Let us look at my recent experience launching my podcast on www.carlisleschesapeake.com. I am conducting a series of interviews that I post on the 19th of each month (in honor of Juneteenth) about African American history, with a focus on the Eastern Shore of MD.
 

My first challenge was choosing a platform for my podcast series that would be easy for the public to find. There are a number of ways the podcast file can be distributed. I have chosen to create an audio podcast stream and have turned to SoundCloud to upload my file to the World Wide Web. For those of you not familiar with SoundCloud, it is the equivalent of audio to what YouTube is to video. With SoundCloud my audio podcast is then rendered in such a way that I bring it back to my website for you to listen and for me to make more podcasts without the space necessary to host the audio file in its original format on my site.
 

Although at first I wanted to syndicate my series through a third party to reach a much larger audience, in the 11th hour I refrained from choosing a platform that would have syndicated my Carlisle’s Chesapeake podcast across ITunes, Google Play, Stitcher, etc. Why did I pull back from these larger platforms? Surprisingly, it was because of Rachel Maddow. When her brilliant series “Bagman,” executively produced by Mike Yarvitz, came to my attention, I first listened to it directly from MSNBC’s website. Her podcast series is really a work of art. I was mesmerized. By some act of coincidence I also went to another podcast platform to listen to her series. The audio was quite different. It sounded like it had been sped up and it was not pleasing to listen to. One of my kids informed me that I could change the speed of her voice, slow down the pace by tapping the number that appears in the left hand corner of the file. Instead of “1.5x” or “2x,” you can change the speed to equal how Maddox originally broadcasted it. These numbers are not ubiquitous. Sometimes the podcast platform will give you the option to change the speed, sometimes it won’t.
 

Audio podcasting has received a groundswell from the public that is much deserved. It allows the human voice to pull you in. It allows for the creativity of the listener’s mind that a visual effect from watching video distracts: you begin to render judgment for what you see. So far, podcasts don’t have the metrics necessary to substantiate advertising dollars for cautious advertisers but companies are beginning to feel uncomfortable with their advertising dollars wrapped around video files that can be compromised. Stay tuned for more. The opportunities are limitless.

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