A Podcast RSS feed is what allows the entire system to

function. To begin at the beginning, a podcast is a

regular distribution of audio or visual files, called

episodes, to a users podcast client. The people who use

a podcast are called subscribers, and the podcast client

is what allows them to subscribe to a feed. The podcast

client is a program that connects to the internet, looking

for a specific file the user has subscribed to, or told it to

look for. That file is an RSS feed, a machine readable

piece of coding that sends information back to the

podcast client. RSS feeds can be used to distribute

many kinds of information, and were originally used for

blogging and distributing blog posts to subscribers. As

time went on, however, a few people had the idea of

enclosing information about media files within the RSS

feed so that software could be written to find that

information and download the files described.

The Podcast RSS feeds became a hit, and podcast

clients were quickly written to allow people to use the

new encoding. Podcasting became a means of quickly

and cheaply sharing episodes with subscribers. Rather

than requiring subscribers to visit the site that hosted

the files everytime they wanted to know if a new

episode was released, users could rely on the podcast

client to do the work for them, keeping track of

numerous podcast rss feeds that interested them and

downloading the files to be viewed when they wished.

Podcast RSS feeds are now used to distribute a number

of different types of podcasts. Some producers use it as

way to share a comedy or news program that they

produce, others podcast in order to share music files

they create, and some podcast to share video files they

have created and to showcase their work. Podcasting

allows the producers to become radio or television stars

without the large investment in time and money that

wuld be required to do that. Because podcasting has

such a low entry cost, requiring little more than a server

and a domain to host the site and a way to record the

media, thousands of people who otherwise would not

have a chance to work in a media environment have a

chance to do so through their podcast rss feeds.

In this way, podcast RSS feeds allow media publishing

over the internet at a fraction of the cost of other forms

of media distribution, permitting people with much

smaller budgets to compete in some way. However,

podcast rss feeds are also attracting more established

companies and groups as well, bringing people from

NPR radio stations and news organizations like CNN

who use podcasting as yet another means to distribute

their product to end users.

Joshua Shoemaker


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