Those with Apple's iTunes loaded on their machines can now subscribe to 'podcasts' of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's speeches. This is something new that the Tories were not doing when I went on holiday two weeks ago. So far as I know, the federal Tories are the first major Canadian political party to dabble in podcasts. Neither the federal Liberals nor NDP appear to be offering podcasts at their sites.
Podcasts, as some of you may know, are a relatively new form of distributing audio content on the Web. Producers make an audio recording — the most popular podcasts are like radio shows — and then publish a podcast feed. Listeners subscribe to the feed and then, whenever there is a new 'show' or podcast, it is automatically downloaded and available for listening through iTunes or other podcast software.
ABC, for example, puts a podcast of Nightline on the Web. Those who subscribe to it automatically have Ted Koppel on their hard drives whenever he does a new show.
Those who own Apple iPods get these podcasts dumped right on to those devices, hence the name podcasts, and can take their Ted Koppel podcast/broadcast or Stephen Harper speech wherever they go.
Podcasting is absolutely exploding in popularity, the same way blogs took off a couple of years ago.
So far, the Conservative podcast feed has published just one Stephen Harper speech. (It's the one he gave on the rooftop at the Westin in early July to kick off his BBQ tour). I'm sure if we all cross our fingers there will be more Stephen Harper to listen to before the summer is over 🙂 .
You can subscribe, if you're so inclined, to Conservative party speech podcasts at:
There, the Tories have also helpfully provided more info about podcasting.
So far as I know, the only major media organizations in Canada to employ podcasting are the CBC (they have a pilot project with three radio shows available as podcasts) and The Toronto Star. The Star's music reviewer does a podcast in which he reads bits of his column and then plays some of the songs. The Star also does audio versions, via podcast, of some of its other content.
In the U.S. several major media organizations are trying to reach new audiences with podcasts including the Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Slate and National Public Radio.
Apple tracks the top podcasts in the U.S. and, today, CNN's news update podcast was number seven on Apple's chart; Ted Koppel's Nightline was at 17 on Apple's chart.
On a related new media note, the Conservatives are also publishing several RSS feeds (all part of a redesigned Web site) for those who like getting their press releases that way.