What is an Audiocast?
An audiocast is a general name given to digital audio content. An audiocast is generally available, distributed or listened to on the Internet. Listeners can sit and listen to an audiocast while seated at their computers or they can choose to download the audiocast onto a portable device such as an mp3 player. Downloading audiocasts to an portable device means that listeners can take audiocasts with them and listen to them anywhere they choose, despite the lack of availability of a computer.
Audiocasts can come in a number of streaming audio forms. However, one of the most well-known forms is the podcast. Listeners may choose to automatically download podcasts as they become available on websites or they may choose to manually download a select few. The latter option is desirable alternative for those who are only interested in listening to a specific audiocast, want to save memory on their computer or portable device or simply don't want to invest in a podcast subscription which can sometimes cost money. When podcasts are offered by website owners, their frequency may vary, but website owners usually make a new podcast available every week to supplement or expand the content on their websites.
Bloggers may include audiocasts as part of their blogs. Use of this technology usually results in the accumulation of more listeners and more blog visitors. The inclusion of audiocasts can help with the marketing of blogs, since many blogs only use text for content and the offering of audiocasts can attract visitors. Audiocasts can be listed in directories that can be accessed by potential listeners after searching for keywords. Descriptions of audiocasts can include the recorder's identity or the audiocast's theme, related industry or subject matter and basic Internet searches can point potential listeners to a website through the use of phrases that accurately describe the audiocasts' content.
A lesser-known form of audiocasts is one that uses telephones. Schools, businesses and organizations may use streaming audio during a special presentation or conference. When they choose to use audiocasts to facilitate availability for remote attendees, they may require listeners to dial into the presentation using a toll-free number and a special PIN number. Attendees' lines may be muted to protect the presentation from interruption or other disturbances. Extra presentation materials, such as paper documents or digital media, may be mailed or emailed to attendees so that attendees have visuals to reference while the presentation takes place.
I think audiocasts are probably one of the greatest triumphs of the Internet era as it proved that the radio industry could adapt to technological advances and develop into something more expansive than your typical AM/FM broadcasts. It gives talented broadcasters the opportunity to reach an audience previously unavailable through traditional radio stations. There are so many great podcasts out there that have exposed me to new music, not to mention taught me a lot about science, psycholology, politics and all kinds of other topics I typically would have found too droll to buy a book and read about.
As someone who suffers from insomnia, I also find listening to podcasts before I go to sleep is great for helping me relax and wind down at the end of the day.
@CharlieB - This is true. And it is even more efficient because of podcasts. They allow the ability to listen to the recorded material at a convenient time. Even better yet, they provide the opportunity to review the information as many times as needed. You can even take it to go on an iPod and go over the details at any place and any time. This is good stuff.
The ability to use an audio cast sure has made the world seem smaller by allowing people to dial in a meeting or a presentation. It makes things so much more efficient. Just imagine the amount of money that is saved by not having to travel to a meeting location, especially if it is half-way around the world from you. I guess you could call these "green meetings."
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