Podcasting

It is hard to believe the Podcast revolution (or on-line radio) was only invented by Apple in July 2005! And yet it is now everywhere, in the news, on the radio and on TV, as end users are encouraged to ‘time shift’ their entertainment to suit their needs. You’ve probably seen thousand of commuters move each day plugged in to portable media players, phones and laptops. Joggers, hikers in fact anyone traveling can now be seen plugged into some kind of portable entertainment format.

So why not dedicate a station purely for those interested in this outdoor world? A station which holds audio and video information, which can be downloaded free of charge, and used for reference, ideas, inspiration and research prior to making a purchasing decision, or heading outdoors?

Rather than hoping a retail outlet will put up a tent for you in the shop, or have time to fill a rucksack full of practical items on a busy Saturday, or seeing if you can take a jacket out in the rain, what if you could see it all on video or hear all your questions answered or compare similar products just by clicking ‘download’.

We started producing podcasts (or on-line radio) for the UK Outdoors listener in October 2005 and since then our figures show we have been downloaded and listened to over 5,000,000 times!

The popularity of the programs has spread purely by word of mouth. Just imagine if the outdoor industry were to run with it? You could have wall to wall, product or service information direct from the manufacturer or designer, before you make your way to your chosen retailer! Fantastic!

Who is paying for it?

As you might expect the media production, the hosting and the administration of such a service requires funding not to mention the time investment in the production hours.

The service has generally been self funded, but starting January 2012 we are actively seeking sponsors, advertisers and donations to help develop the content and incorporate a wider range of content.

What is  a ‘podcast’?

A ‘podcast’ takes two forms. An audio program stored as a small amount of data in MP3 format and a video program in MP4 format. Both formats will play on PC’s and Mac’s without additional software. Transfer the MP3 file to a SD Card and USB chip and just plug it into your car stereo, DVD player or other domestic Hi-Fi. The ability to play this media these days is rapidly expanding.

How do I listen or watch it?

Just click the ‘download’ button and the files will be transferred to your machine one at a time. Then ‘double click’ the file and it will play on your PC speakers using software already installed within your computer. However ‘subscribing’ is easier (see below) using  ‘podcatching software’ such as iTunes software which is FREE (PC and Mac). This keeps things in a nice simple library format. To hear or watch it, just ‘click’ play!

Where can I hear or view them?

That’s up to you! The joy of ‘time shifting’ your podcasts, is that you can absorb them whenever it suits you. Commuting, at the office, at home, in the car, on the hill, in the hammock, out jogging, doing the shopping, wherever!

What is ‘podcatcher’ software?

There are many software products on the market most of which are free, which will ‘catch’ podcasts by ‘subscribing’ to them. You can unsubscribe at any time. There is a lists of links here.

Do I have to own an iPod to listen to or watch it?

This is the biggest area of confusion, much to Apple’s delight! The simple answer is NO. Any PC will play the files, providing you have speakers, or you can transfer it to some other portable media player. This includes your DVD player, car stereo and domestic hi-fi system. The playing options are continually expanding.

Can I listen to an audio podcast on a normal CD player?

From within most ‘podcatcher’ software, you can burn a CD in audio format which will play on any normal CD player.

Can I listen to it on any MP3 player?

Yes. Simply drag the file to your MP3 Player folder when it is plugged in and it will be available to you. An MP3 file will play on all PC’s, MP3 players, PDA’s, DVD players, Laptops and even some newer mobile phones and in-car systems! In the case of iPods, these are designed to work in sync with iTunes, which makes transferring files easier still.

How do I subscribe to all your ‘podcasts’?

Using iTunes for example, you click on ‘music store’, then the ‘advanced tab’ and ‘subscribe to podcast’ and you need to enter the web address shown. This will automatically take you to The Outdoors Station Podcast Directory and all the available programs.

Do I have to do this every time I want to find if there’s something new?

Not at all. The next time you open iTunes, just go to your podcast directory and click the ‘update’ button and any new releases will be seen in the listing. Just ‘click’ on the ones you want to hear or view to download it.

Is anyone else doing ‘podcasts’ about the outdoors?

Yes a handful of other American producers are outputting material like this, but quality and content are varied. In iTunes, click the ‘links’ section and then search using any associated words. It’s as easy as that!

What gear do I need?

As a minimum, to connect and download podcasts all you will need a PC and a broadband connection. The playing or viewing of the content can take place on your PC or laptop, and should you wish to go mobile, some kind of MP3 or MP4 (video) player. If you wish to listen to the audio on a normal CD player, most ‘podcatching software’ will convert it back into audio CD format.

What is a portable media player?

There are currently hundreds of different types on the market, from the well known iPods, to small players of virtually all shape and size. Some run from hard drive, others SD or CF cards. Screen size differs from product to product. Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) will also play MP3 files as will the new generation of mobile phones. The options are continually increasing.

And all this is free?

Yes of course. We want to encourage as many as we can to enjoy the great outdoors and we feel this is a stimulating way of doing it. Sometimes hearing what others are doing inspires us. Hints and tips can help us and listening to some of the people behind products or ideas give us more of an understanding of that company. So why not?

Who is paying for it?

As you might expect, the media production to this standard, the hosting and the administration of such a service requires funding and this is covered by self funding and various forms of sponsorship. Contact us for more details.

What programs are on here?

The outdoors world has a wide audience, including land, sea and air activities. As the site develops more pages will appear, broken down into sections and sub-sections with a search engine to help you find information on the subject of your choice. However, if you subscribe you will see the listing in your PC library and can select from there. Audio programs will be approximately 30 minutes long and video programs 5 minutes.

Why should I subscribe?

Firstly, you can unsubscribe and re-subscribe at any time. There are no penalties. Once you have subscribed, any new release will appear on your PC desktop ‘podcatching’software. The software won’t automatically download unless you configure it to, but it will make you aware of the title and content. Therefore you can choose what to download and listen to, whenever it suits you.

How often are the programs released?

We will be making our independent programs as often as we can to keep everyone up to date with news, events and stories of interesting people in the outdoor world. Sponsored programs will be created to suit the sponsors needs and will be released as soon as they are completed.

How does it benefit me?

After you have listened or watched the material contained within these programs you will be able to make a more informed decision about products, services or places of interest to you. Nothing can compare to hearing someone explain the features and practicalities of any particular subject matter. Video is particularly useful to see detail which just can’t be put across in text, or ‘pack shot’ images. For example if you were to see a tent, put up, taken down and packed away you will know how easy and fast it is to do it in the rain, if it will fit in your rucksack and if you will fit in it!

What can I do with it?

An enthusiast can share the ‘link’ and podcast contents with their friends via any communication method they choose. We ask them to encourage the use of the ‘links’ to enable us to track downloads and provide statistics to program sponsors where possible.

What can’t I do with it?

The copyright and content of any podcast produced by The Outdoors Station remains with the producers and therefore it may not be edited, manipulated or incorporated into any presentation, promotion or other format without prior written permission of the copyright owners R & R Enterprises.