Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What is Podcasting?

Wikipedia.org tells us:

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term as originally coined by Ben Hammersley in an article in the Guardian on February 12, 2004, was meant as a portmanteau of "broadcasting" and "iPod".

The term podcast, like 'radio', can mean both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital audio formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading feeds like RSS or Atom.

In plain English, basically, a podcast is generally analogous to a recorded television or radio series. One of the main benefits of podcasting for the evangelist is that we get to listen to so many great Christian teachers around the country, and even the world, each week who publish their sermons in just such a format. And, rather than have to travel the globe each Sunday, the files show up automatically on our computer, ready to listen to right there, or are able to be transferred to a portable ipod device.

The first step is to get some free podcasting software. I recommend iTunes from Apple.

Then, after it is installed, you can search for the people and shows you want to "subscribe" to. Here is what is currently in my podcast lineup... (click on the links to add them automatically, or copy the URL into iTunes for the others)

  • First, my podcast, so you can get my audios each week. Godcasting
  • Francis Chan, Law and Grace in every bite. Cornerstone Simi http://feeds.feedburner.com/CornerstonePodcasts
  • John Piper. Desiring God http://podcast.oneplace.com/dg/9999999.xml
  • My home church. Shepherd of the Hills
  • Stand to Reason, helping Christians to think clearly about their faith. STR http://str.org/podcast/weekly/rss.xml
  • My current favorite, Alistair Begg. Truth for Life
  • Finally, Way of the Master Radio, the more you hear, the better. WOTM
Then there are a few I have on just for fun. (Check out "Ask a Ninja") But, I'm sure you can find plenty to suit your taste. Just do a keyword search right at the top of the iTunes window and you'll be able to find just about anyone you are looking for, especially if they are on the radio. You might even find your own church.

Tapes have gone the way of the eight track, and trust me, CD's are not far behind. Why carry around a big disc that can scratch when you can put hundreds of them on something the size of a pack of cards? I load up my ipod for my morning commute and can hear a couple of great sermons on the way to and from work. Then, by the time my Friday fishing expeditions come, I am chocked full of the Word, and am ready to go forth and fulfill the great commission. Let me know if you need help.

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