The Podcast Toolbox

Where the podcasts are

Wondering how government agencies and government-related information publishers are using podcasts? The following links are a good place to start. Some take you directly to the XML page describing the podcast. Enter the URLs into your favorite podcasting tool to subscribe and receive the latest podcast information.

Air Force: www.af.mil/podcast

C-Span: www.c-span.org/podcast

House Democrats: democraticleader.house.gov/Podcast/HouseDems.xml

House Republicans: www.gop.gov/PodCast/commonsense.xml

NASA: science.nasa.gov/podcast.htm

Patent Pod: www.patentpod.com

Supreme Court: www.oyez.org/podcast

Voice of America: www.voanews.com/english/podcasts.cfm

White House: www.whitehouse.gov/news/radio/index.html#2005

Everything you need for creating, publishing and listening to podcasts

If you're prepared to start adding podcasts to your agency's communications programs, there's plenty of software available. Some you probably already have. Here's a sampling of tools we used in researching this story.

Podcast Recording Software

Anyone creating audio for the Web already has a set of favorite tools. But here are a few extras that have features you might find useful:

Audicity: audacity.sourceforge.net. Free MP3 recording software that can splice together multiple MP3 files.

Audio Recorder Pro: www.ezaudiorecorder.com. Tool for recording directly into MP3 format.

ePodcast Producer, ePodcast Creator: www.industrialaudiosoftware.com. Professional-level tools, running $250 and $90, respectively.

Sunflower: www.cycling74.com/products/soundflower.html. A Mac tool for passing audio from one program to another.

RSS Creation Tools

After you've created the audio file portion of a podcast, you need to introduce the broadcast component. Podcasting is as simple as creating an RSS feed for your audio content. Here are some RSS tools you could use:

FeedForAll: www.feedforall.com

FeedSpring: www.softwaregarden.com/products/listgarden

Magpie RSS: magpierss.sourceforge.net
XML::RSS: perl-rss.sourceforge.net.

Podcast Organizers

Although podcast lists can be viewed through any newsreader software that reads RSS feeds, a number of applications have come out that focus exclusively on organizing podcasts. A few, such as Apple's iTunes, even play the files or download them onto portable music players:

Doppler: www.dopplerradio.net

iPodder: ipodder.sourceforge.net

iPodderX (for Mac): ipodderx.com/

iTunes: www.apple.com/itunes

Nimiq: www.nimiq.nl.

Podcast Players

The local consumer electronics store has no shortage of portable MP3 players, which can play podcasts. In addition, there's a wide variety of free software-based MP3 players for PCs:

Windows Media Player: www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia

RealPlayer: www.real.com

Sonique: sonique.lycos.com

WinAmp: www.winamp.com.

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