NYT Circuits, 5/12/05 :

What do the pope and Paris Hilton have in common? They’re both podcasters – and you can be one too.

Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, podcasts are essentially do-it-yourself recorded radio programs posted online. Anyone can download them free, and, using special software, listeners can subscribe to favorite shows and even have them automatically downloaded to a portable digital music player.

Despite what the name suggests, podcasts can be played not just on iPods but on any device that has an MP3 player program, including PC’s and laptops.

NYT Front Page, 2/19/05:

From a chenille-slipcovered sofa in the basement of their friend Dave’s mom’s house at the edge of a snow-covered field, Brad and Other Brad, sock-footed pioneers in the latest technology revolution, are recording ”Why Fish,” their weekly show.

Clutching a microphone and leaning over a laptop on the coffee table, they praise the beauty of the Red River, now frozen on the edge of town, and plug an upcoming interview with a top-ranked professional walleye fisherman. Then they sign off.

”I’m Brad” says Brad, in real life, Brad Durick, a 29-year-old television advertising salesman.

”And I’m Brad,” says Other Brad, a 44-year-old newspaper writer, Brad Dokken. ”Until next week, keep your hook in the water, keep your line tight and keep it fun.”

Their show, mostly ad-libbed, is a podcast, a kind of recording that, thanks to a technology barely six months old, anyone can make on a computer and then post to a Web site, where it can be downloaded to an iPod or any MP3 player to be played at the listener’s leisure.

Now, I remind you, I was the first NYT person to write a piece on podcasting.

NYT Circuits, 10/28/04 :

TUCKED away in their old farmhouse in Wayne, Wis., surrounded by dairy farms and cornfields, Dawn Miceli, 28, and Drew Domkus, 33, sit in their living room most nights and talk to each other as they normally would, cracking jokes and enjoying life as a young married couple.

But a few hundred people get to listen in on a half-hour of the conversation from a distance, on computers and portable music players. They do so by way of a podcast, a new method of online audio distribution that has hundreds of amateur broadcasters springing up on the Internet.

There are podcasters in California, South Carolina and Connecticut, with others as far afield as western Canada, Australia and Sweden. Though most podcasts tend to reflect their technologically oriented audience, newer shows are being created with topics like veganism and movie reviews. Even conventional broadcasters are being drawn to the medium, which allows programs to be played at a listener’s convenience.

The unscripted ”Dawn and Drew Show,” one of the most popular podcasts so far, is recorded in the living room of Ms. Miceli, an artist, and Mr. Domkus, who provides technical support for an office building in nearby Milwaukee. They play off each other like Abbott and Costello, with Mr. Domkus as the straight man and Ms. Miceli as the joker, continually cracking jokes and making off-the-wall comments (and sometimes venturing into sexual subject matter).

You should treat picking out MP3 players like buying any kind of electronics, in the sense that before you would choose between televisions you should do your homework on electronics to make a smart choice.