Give someone a platform and they’ll doubtless take it. The chance to air their views on any given subject is something that few people who actively participate in the Internet seem able to resist. Take any chosen route across the web and you can find examples of personal expression that cover almost any field you can imagine. The budding musician, the writer and the filmmaker all these and more play out to a global audience.

It would seem that every form of media has now taken a new digital counterpart courtesy of technology. However where does this leave one of the elder statesmen of communication and entertainment, where does this leave radio?

In the 21st century the global community are embracing the concept of the podcast. This is the postmodern incarnation of your grandparents wireless; forget the family being cramped around a dusty old crystal set waiting for the faded crackles and clipped accents of yesteryear to bring you entertainment. Instead imagine content and programming on almost any given subject being delivered to you whenever and wherever you want. Imagine the constraints of censorship being stripped away allowing the listener to take in their programme of choice in its most raw and unadulterated form.

Ladies and Gentleman, prick up your ears. It looks like podcasting is here to stay.

Technically there is nothing too flash or fancy about the concept, a podcast after all is essentially an audio stream that you (the client) retrieve from another computer (the server). It’s a concept that’s been around for some time; it’s just that the software involved to do it in this form has only taken shape in the last couple of years.

The software allows the user to hook into the show of his or her choice that usually comes in the form of an MP3 file. This of course proves handy in the respect that the show is then in a format that can be listened to right there and then, or as the podcast name suggests can be transferred to a digital music player for your perusal at a later point.

Another beauty of the software (sometimes referred to as “podcatching” software) is that it can function in much the same way as your household VCR, if you like a particular show you can set your computer to download each edition as and when it comes online. So even if you forget when a new episode becomes available, your PC or Mac won’t.

It’s interesting to note that what started out as something of an independent phenomenon has been embraced by the established areas of radio culture. These days you can download programming from such media stalwarts as the BBC, Discovery or even Disney. Proof if ever there was that this isn’t just some fad for “the kids” that is going to go away anytime soon.

Listening to content however is merely one side of the coin. What if you want to actually stand up and make yourself heard? I mean this is the democratic Internet right?

Well, first off it might help if you actually have something to say. For every quality broadcast that exists out there in cyberspace there are more than a few that aren’t worthy of your download time. It’s all well and good when someone has something to actually talk about, but there are a lot of examples that tend to comprise of combinations of dead air or sub Bill and Ted dude-a-thons.

There are many locations on the web that go into detail regarding the creation of an actual podcast file. But the skinny of it is, if you’ve ever recorded audio on your PC or Mac then you’re already half way there. Most machines these days will either include a microphone or support one right out of the box so with the right software you can quickly set up your own recording session and lay down those words of wisdom.

From there you upload the file on to a server and that folks is pretty much how a podcast is born. Of course getting it heard requires a little more effort, for the simple reason you are in competition with one hell of a lot of people. For example the top three podcast downloads for the 24th October courtesy of the iTunes Music Store were courtesy of Chris Moyles, Pete Tong and Chris Evans. So straight away it looks like you could find yourself playing with the big boys.

However by all means don’t be discouraged if you see yourself as the next saviour of daytime radio maybe this could be the inroad you are looking for, and if not well you can always just sit back, browse and listen.