Podcasting, or audio broadcasts on the Internet, have become very popular in the past few years. There are good reasons for this popularity: the podcasts are easy to create and can be very entertaining for listeners. Indeed, genealogy shows used to be broadcast on a number of radio stations ten years ago. Almost all of these radio shows have now disappeared, having been replaced by podcasts on the Internet. I see this is a major improvement: podcasts serve a worldwide audience, can easily be retrieved and enjoyed at the listener's convenience, and are inexpensive to produce. I suspect more people now listen to audio "broadcasts" on the Internet than ever listened to genealogy radio shows. I suspect there will be many more podcasts created in the future.
Podcasts are digital files stored on web servers. You connect to these podcasts in much the same manner as connecting to most anything else on the World Wide Web. There is one difference: instead of reading information on the screen, you listen to the podcasts as they are played through your computer's speakers or earphones.
All you need to listen to a podcast is a computer with speakers or earphones attached. There are many other options available, such as copying the shows to a portable MP3 player and listening later while jogging or while commuting to work. However, I always like the simple solution: I listen to the podcasts on my computer.
Unlike radio programs, podcasts are available at my convenience; I don't have to consult a broadcast schedule and then try to remember to show up at the appointed time. I can retrieve podcasts at any time and listen to them whenever I wish. The audio quality is also better than trying to listen to a distant radio station; there is no static or signal fading. No wonder podcasts are becoming so popular.
Would you like to create podcasts about genealogy? How about any other topic? You could be the next Dear Myrtle, one of the Genealogy Guys (George G. Morgan and Drew Smith), or a competitor to the Family Tree Magazine Podcast with Allison Stacy and Diane Haddad. If you have something to say that others may enjoy listening to, you can easily become a podcaster.
I have made a number of podcasts in the past for this newsletter. I focused primarily on interviewing other people who are involved in producing genealogy goods and services. You can listen to a number of my earlier podcast audio interviews with leading genealogy experts at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/podcasts. I often take my podcast recording equipment to genealogy conferences and other places where these experts gather in order to record an interview. Therefore, I appreciate portability.
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