Podcasts are Go!

A new track dedicated to podcasting—the grass-roots “do-it-yourself radio”—made its Dragon*Con debut today for podcasters and their fans.

Podcasting is the art, science, and general mayhem of creating, distributing, and consuming (listening to) audio shows on iPods and similar devices. Podcasting is taking the planet by storm, making itself heard in publishing, fandoms, gaming, marketing, education, and medicine among many others, and podcast audiences have been growing exponentially during the last few years, with shows ranging from science fiction to spiritually to politics. In the last year, science fiction shows like The Signal and Slice of Sci-Fi, have become well-known to many con-goers.

The new Podcast track got off to a roaring start Friday afternoon with its first panel. Podcasters Evo Terra, Swoopy, Joe Murphy, Scott Sigler, and Michael Mennenga led the session with a nearly full room of excited fans. In a lively session, these veteran podcasters revealed that they regularly spend anywhere from 8 to 40 hours a week at it, and are motivated by the geek pioneer status associated with exploiting a new technology, the strong connection to the podcast audience,  and, of course, “the groupies!”

“Back in February or March of 2005, I started hearing about it (podcasting),” said Scott Sigler, who published his novel, EarthCore, in podcast format. “It seemed like a good way to publish this novel I had.” Sigler now publishes other novels using podcasting.

“People want their niche programming, and they want it when they want to listen to it,” said Swoopy. The fact that podcast listeners can choose when to download their shows and when to listen to them is a major appeal of the format.

Panel members agreed that podcasting is changing both the ground rules and the environment for audio publishing and listening. “Someone needs to tell radio stations that they’re in deep trouble,” said one audience member. “I started listening to podcasts in my car about four months ago, and I haven’t turned on my radio since.”

Panels will include practical skills in recording, editing and distribution, managing a solo production, interviewing skills, technical tips and tricks, and troubleshooting. If you have something to say and want to make the most of the new technologies, you’ll find much worthwhile material this weekend in the Podcast track room: Board of Director’s room, 4th floor, Hilton.

And be sure to check out the Daily Dragon Podcast.

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