Since the invention of Podcasting in late 2004; the exact date is arguable, there have been thousands of new Podcasts published to the Internet. Many of these have been from non-profit individuals broadcasting from their bedrooms or den. Recently large corporates and commercial organizations have jumped onto the bandwagon (ie. Disney, BBC, CBS, ESPN and various local radio stations around the world). You can find many of these Podcasts in Podcast Directories, like PodcastAlley.
At the moment most content in Podcasts are free with some Podcasts introducing advertisements to cover their cost. In most cases these Podcasts contain royalty free and original content. Opening up a new medium for the independent musicians to introduce their music to the public. Many of these musicians create original soundtracks for Podcasters to use in their shows.
Although Podcasting came about partially from the popularity of the iPod; or more like the popularity of MP3 players created by Apple's iPod, accessing a Podcast does not require an Apple iPod. A matter of fact, majority of them are in standard MP3 formats, therefore, any devices that can play MP3 are capable of being a Podcast client. Since it is published in the XML technology RSS, it is not limited to the audio format of MP3. Especially with Apple's latest extension to the format, introducing the concept of "chapters" and associate files cued to these chapters. For example, imagine walking along a self paced museums tour with an iPod Photo that is synced to the work of art in front of you.
For the past 8 months or so there had been different Podcast clients for the Macintosh, Windows and PocketPC platforms (ie. iPodder and iPodderX). Now with the release of Apple's new version of iTunes 4.9, Apple has again done its part in bringing something lesser known to the main stream with this new version of iTunes.
One may ask what is the big deal about Podcasting? Most of the time it is a MP3 file recording that someone made about a topic that s/he thinks that others would like to listen to. Well, one reason most radio stations are getting into Podcasting is because Podcasting is seen as the TiVo for commercial radio. Small local radio stations love it, because Podcasting opens up a brand new group of audiences to their contents, which they cannot achieve with their traditional terrestrial medium. Some sees Podcasting as a threat to commercial radio, but many understand it as something they need to embrace or they will be left out.
Check out this new technology. May be you can become one of thousands of Podcasters out there. If and when you do, please drop me a line and let me know.