RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Monday's technology report begins with the popularity of podcasting. The growing popularity of Apple's iPod and other portable digital music players has sparked the rise of podcasting. That's an audio version of weblogging, or blogging. It lets you download shows like these onto your music player to hear anytime, anywhere.
(Soundbite of podcasting)
Unidentified Man: Welcome to show number nine of "Slacker Astronomy," the podcast about astronomy and anything else that floats over our heads.
Unidentified Woman: Hey, pumpkin-head, it's the "Don and June Show(ph)" on...
MONTAGNE: Media critic Jeff Jarvis has been listening to some of those programs. He says the beauty of podcasting is that anyone can host their own show with little more equipment than a computer.
Mr. JEFF JARVIS (Media Critic): I get so excited about this because it's really the--truly the voices of the people. I love blogs and go berserk about them because it's the first chance--the people could own the printing press. Well, now the people own the broadcast tower, and that's cool.
MONTAGNE: So you've tried podcasting yourself. Why don't you give us an idea how it went for you?
Mr. JARVIS: I just did it for an experience to learn how. It's incredibly simple, so simple even I can do it. I have my laptop, I have a microphone and I have a free program called Audacity and I turn it on and record, and there I am. I don't sound quite like you, but still I can broadcast to the world, thanks to the Internet.
MONTAGNE: Oh, I don't know. You have the kind of a voice of a radio person.
Mr. JARVIS: Thanks. I'll take the job.
MONTAGNE: Yeah. I don't know if that's a compliment or not. So anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can really become a podcaster.
Mr. JARVIS: Absolutely, and there are more and more tools coming out. It's going to get even easier to do this.
MONTAGNE: Well, podcasting has rather speedily reached the point where a lot of big media companies are getting into it. One of the country's biggest radio companies, Infinity Broadcasting, just introduced podcasts at one of its stations. And newspapers--the Denver Post, for one--they're now--some are now podcasting their stories. You know, I'm just wondering why anyone would want to hear a newspaper read on their iPod.
Mr. JARVIS: I don't know that that's very exciting at all. What excites me is not big media companies finding another way to create more media. What excites me about this movement is that it is the people talking, and that's what's great about it is you can hear all kinds of strange and wonderful things and new voices from the people, and that's what I concentrate on more than big media putting its voice in a podcast.
MONTAGNE: So if this is analogous to giving everyone their own radio station, great, except are there people out there who want to listen to their neighbor's podcast of the morning commute?
Mr. JARVIS: Well, sure. The thing about citizens' media, about weblogs and all this, is that you are recommended by your friends. So you find somebody you like, and you see what they like. And that's the new way to find media, as opposed to the old way, which was our way, which is the big fat pipe and somebody in some office in a suit decides what you should hear or watch or read.
MONTAGNE: What are some of the best podcasts, and how can we find them?
Mr. JARVIS: It may be too soon to say what the best is, but you can go to sites like IPodder.org and PodcastAlley.com and Podcast.net, and just start listening. And you'll find some good stuff and some bad stuff. There's a podcasting priest in Europe who I heard from the Vatican while the pope was getting sicker and sicker. There's a friend of mine named Fred Wilson who's a venture capitalist in New York, who just loves this stuff, who created a podcast with this three kids and wife all introducing music. There's a lot of podcasting families out there. There's another family that podcasts movie reviews together. What it is about this new medium, it's all a matter of your own individual taste. It's not as if you have to hear all podcasts. It's not as if you have to look at all Web pages. There are a lot of trees that fall in this forest that nobody hears. If your friend recommends something to you, if somebody you trust recommends something to you, you take a listen.
MONTAGNE: Well, thanks very much for talking with us this morning.
Mr. JARVIS: Thank you so much.
MONTAGNE: Media critic Jeff Jarvis. A link to a variety of podcasts is at npr.org.
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