While Podcasting isnt entirely new, it does have the potential to make audio downloads much easier for both the provider and listener. But its not without potentially significant downsides. Its not clear, for example, what the bandwidth implications of Podcasting will be, although I suspect the much larger file sizes (when compared with RSS text message feeds) will cause some significant headaches.Its not that this programming isnt already being distributed; its just that RSS audio distribution has the potential to make the process much easier and, hence, more effective. Thats not a reason to try to stop the technology, as if that were possible; its just something to be aware of. For more insights from David Coursey, check out his Weblog. For corporations, Podcasting and audio RSS feeds offer a potential new method of communicating with customers and employees. Again, its not that it hasnt been possible to create and distribute audio programming; its just that RSS could make distribution easier and the content more attractive to potential listeners. After Podcasting its only a hop, skip and a jump to video RSS feeds, targeting the portable video players Microsoft and others are promoting. But if audio RSS feeds are bandwidth hogs, video could make the problems dramatically worse. Some people think Podcasting is really silly, and if you limit your imagination to audio versions of peoples egomaniacal blogs, that seems perfectly reasonable. But if you look at is as a better distribution tool for commercial content, it becomes really interesting. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging & Collaboration Center for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Another downside is that Podcasting could encourage or improve the distribution of anti-American and other hate programming commonly distributed on audiocassettes. This was a major communications tool for both the Iranian revolution and our home-grown Neo-Nazis and other extremists.