If last year Merriam Webster Dictionary declared ‘Blog’ as the ‘Word of the Year’, this time New Oxford American Dictionary has made ‘Podcast’ the ‘Word of the Year’. The term will also be included in the online version of the dictionary in the revised version.
“Podcast was even considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it or were even familiar with the concept,” said Erin McKean, Editor-in-Chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary. “This year it’s a completely different story. The world has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon,” he observed.
Simply put, podcasting is an audio blog on the Internet, which you can subscribe through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or download and play on your MP3 player.
The word, originally coined by journalist Ben Hammersley from the words iPod and Broadcasting, is actually a misnomer because one neither necessarily needs an iPod to listen to it nor does it need broadcasting. Anyone with a microphone, computer, relevant software and Internet connection can create a podcast.
Critics, who think Apple has been given undue credit through the term for its similarity with iPod, have come out with new terms like blogcasting or audiocasting to explain the concept, but ‘podcasting’ has become a generic term by now.
According to Bridge Ratings for user growth in the podcast universe, based on interviews with radio listeners in 10 national markets, 4.8 million persons have downloaded a podcast from either a radio station or other source in 2005.
Podcasting received a fillip in June, 2005, when Apple added a podcast directory to its iTunes online music store. The same agency has forecast that by 2010 podcast audience growth is expected to touch 45 million users by a conservative estimate, who would have ever listened to a podcast The phenomenon is expected to catch up in India after Yahoo! India launched Yahoo! Podcasts, developed at its Bangalore centre.