What is Podcasting? Find out in three paragraphs.

A new sensation is piggy-backing on the phenomenon that is the iPod: podcasting. The personalized audio recordings, which can be heard on any digital music player, have given an outlet to marginalized experts and frustrated DJs alike. And media critic Jeff Jarvis says that’s the beauty of podcasting: Anyone can do it.

The recorded audio can be downloaded over the Web, to be played at listeners’ leisure. Many podcasters specialize, seizing on a topic they cover in every show. Others could be accused of doing little more preparation than flicking a switch. But fans of podcasts say the listening audience filters the shows on its own, often choosing podcasters who invest a great deal of time and money into their shows.

Nearly anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can become a podcaster. But that hasn’t stopped big media companies from trying to exploit the new medium. One of the country’s biggest radio companies, Infinity Broadcasting, just introduced podcasts at one of its stations, and newspapers like the Denver Post are now podcasting their stories.

by Renée Montagne

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