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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 8 August 3, 2008     

Opening the pod door
By James Wynbrandt
"Open the pod door." That was the unspoken demand as podcasters and podcast listeners met for the third annual Pod-a-Palooza forum at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 Friday evening. And by the end of the event, broadcast live on EAA Radio, it was obvious the future of aviation podcasting is wide open.

Podcasts, for the uninitiated, are web-based programs analogous to Internet radio broadcasts, and casts devoted to general aviation are growing more popular. The subject matter and formats of aviation podcast vary widely. Topic areas the casts specialize in range from flight instruction to general hangar flying.

"Podcasting as a medium is so young, and everybody is doing different things," Kent Shook of The Pilot Cast (http://pilotcast.com), who organized the forum, said in a post-Palooza interview. "It benefits all of us to help each other. We need to grow not necessarily individual audiences, but audiences as a whole. Most pilots are going to listen to all our shows."

Other casts and casters taking part in the forum included Steve Tupper of Airspeed (http://airspeedonline.com), Jason Miller of The Finer Points (www.ontheflightline.com), Will Hawkins of The Pilot’s Flight Podlog (http://pilotwill.libsyn.com), Bill Williams of The Student Pilot Cast (http://studentpilotcast.com), and Jeb Burnside of Uncontrolled Airspace (http://uncontrolledairspace.com). (Full disclosure: Uncontrolled Airspace’s principals include AirVenture Today staffers Jack Hodgson and Dave Higdon, and this reporter is an occasional guest.)

Audiences are hard to measure because of the difficulties of accurately tracking downloads, but from the attendance and comments of the Pod-a-Palooza audience, it was obvious people who do listen are enthusiastic.

"I have a one-hour commute to work each day, so rather than listening to commercial radio, I started listening to aviation podcasts," said audience member Jim Goldman, from Media, Pennsylvania, after the forum. "When I come [to AirVenture], I don’t know anybody, except at Pod-a-Palooza, where I knew everybody, because I’m listening to everybody on the way to work."

Goldman finds listening to podcasts helps with his aviating, especially since, like many pilots, he doesn’t get to fly as much as he’d like.

"The advantage for somebody like me is, there are always changes in aviation—the technology and equipment changes, and news—and just listening to these, when you go to the airport, you feel like you know what’s going on."

People interested in finding podcasts can Google the terms "podcasts" along with key words like "aviation," "flying," or "pilots." They can also subscribe to podcasts, so that programs are automatically downloaded, or the subscriber is alerted of their availability when they are posted on the web. The websites for the podcasts also have forums where listeners can post comments, and online friendships among listeners often develop as a result.

The Pod-a-Palooza live broadcast was coordinated by EAA Radio’s Fareed Guyot and Jim Gray. Shook described AirVenture’s receptivity to podcasters as "Aweseome," especially since many established organizations don’t understand podcasting.

"I think that’s part of the EAA," Shook said, noting the "experimental" in the organization’s name. "We’re experimental media in a way."

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