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Podcasting gains currency in India

Anand Parthasarathy

They project a uniquely desi take on news and entertainment


  • Podcasting allows users to download audio files
  • It makes use of an Internet standard, RSS,

    — Photo: AP

    A file photo of an audio file being downloaded from a computer to an iPod.

    Bangalore: Do you know that Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerjee are to act in a film about tsunami? Or that Aishwarya Rai feels insecure about Vidya Balan and Mallika Sherawat? You won't find such news in the mainstream media. But Bangalore-based Ruchita Gupta has shared this with subscribers to her `podcast' site Podmasti (www.podmasti.com) , which claims to tell you "everything you wanted to know about India and Bollywood." It is arguably the first India-based podcast site.

    "Knowledge @ Wharton," online journal of the Wharton Business School, has an article on the business of cricket in India, possibly the first time an American management publication has investigated this topic. Chennaiite Kamla Bhatt, who studied at Madras Christian College and at Marquette University, Milwaukee, U.S., shares this information at the Kamla Bhatt Show (http://kamlabhattshow.com/), a blog, radio site and podcast she has been running since early 2005, while shuttling between Bangalore and San Francisco.

    When Maharashtra's head honchos rushed to Delhi and back recently to inform Mumbai that there would be no power cuts — after all, they managed to get the supply from other States — not everyone was pleased. "To keep Mumbai awake 24x7, other parts of the State are sweating it out in the sweltering weather," say Abhishek Kumar and Aditya Mhatre, Mumbaikars who gave up jobs with major companies at home and in the U.S. to create India's first podcast site focussed solely on news and views: Indicast (www.theindicast.com) . "Ours is a podcast, where topics are discussed from an aam aadmi's viewpoint. Everything from Sonia to Sania." Podcasting is a term inspired by Apple's iconic music player, i-Pod.

    It allows users to download audio files from a web site directly to their i-Pods or other MP3-type players. Even those without a PC (but with the ability to access the Net directly) can access infotainment content to their taste. It makes use of an Internet standard, Really Simple Syndication or RSS, to "push" the audio file to the listener's device. It is only in recent months that India-specific podcast sites have proliferated. PodioIndia (www.podioindia.com) concentrates on a rich content of Indian music, served up by co-podsters Piya and Deb.

    The U.S.-based Sujatha Jagannathan runs Podbazaar (www.podbazaar.com) , a great source for Tamil podcasts. One of the first podcasts for those interested in the achievements of Indian techies is PodTech-India (www.podtech.net/indiatech) , a spin-off from the U.S.-based Podtech.

    Sometimes, one longs to have a different view of people and things less polished than the professional media, and for that reason, perhaps more friendly. Somewhere out there today is a podcaster saying "meri awaaz suno."

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