PROVO, Utah--A day after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the latest version of the iPod, a small but intensely interested group of mass media professors are taking their first voyage into the world of podcasting.
The practice of publishing audio broadcasts via the Internet has become a virtual overnight success and this year is a part of the Fourth Annual Convergence Conference as all the speakers’ presentations are being made available for download through the conference website.
15 professors from across the country attending the conference came in a day early for a crash course in the technology used to prepare the audio broadcasts and have spent the last three days working to transform each of the more than two dozen presentations into MP3 files, which can be easily downloaded.
Ironically, the podcasting initiative came less than 24 hours after the video iPod was unveiled as the next generation of this portable music player that has produced a whole new culture surrounding totally customer-driven media content.
The new iPod, featuring a gorgeous 2.5-inch color screen, can display album artwork and photos, as well as play stunning video including music videos, video podcasts, home movies and television shows.
“To me podcasting is an example of true convergence,” said Christian Karlsson, who worked for the largest Apple retailer in Norway before enrolling in undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University.
“ A lot of different original media are using podcasting to reach a different audience.”
Karlsson points to Inside NYPD, a production of the New York Police Department and Newsweek on the Air, an extension of the Washington Post Company-owned weekly news magazine as examples of the wide range of podcasts being produced today.
Former public radio reporter and now radio documentary instructor Scott Lunt believes podcasting is here to stay because of its combination of technology and reduced costs of production.
“The shift is in the mentality,” said Lunt who he called the “democratization“ the podcasting brings.
“Now it’s inexpensive enough for me to go out to the web and have a couple hundred people listen to me.”
Lent, who is a graduate student at Brigham Young University, spearheaded this week’s Podcasting project.