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Cast(ing) Away
By Tonya Johnson
If your bar could have its own weekly radio show for $25, would you be interested? If so, you might be interested in podcasting, a direct, inexpensive way to deliver information to an audience.

The word "podcast" means iPod broadcast. (The first podcasting scripts were written for the Apple iPod.) A podcast is indeed like a radio broadcast, but posted to the Internet instead of sent over airwaves. The podcast itself is an audio file (usually an MP3) that can be played on a computer or downloaded to a portable device.

Podcasts are powerfully flexible: they can be any length, cover any topic, be released with any frequency. Using simple technology called RSS, podcasts can be automatically delivered to subscribers and aren't filtered by spam blockers.

Bars and Podcasting
All kinds of organizations are using podcasting, including bar associations. The North Carolina and Fairfax (VA) bars are among several to offer CLE podcasts. The Philadelphia Bar Association podcasts remarks and keynote speeches from meetings and other events. The Canadian Bar Association’s CBA PracticeLink Podcasts offer advice on running a law practice. The Missouri Bar podcasts a series for the public called Law in Your Life.

Creating a Podcast
Compared to producing a radio show, creating a podcast is simple: write a script, record it with a microphone and software, and upload it to the Internet using an RSS reader. The costs are minimal: veteran podcasters Sharon Nelson and John Simek favor a $25 microphone from Radio Shack. Software can be downloaded for free.

But even at low cost, some bars don't have the time to create their own podcast. Consulting firms, such as eLawMarketing, design and develop podcasts for law firms and bar associations.

Technology Corner | Podcasting
Issue 15 | May 2008