"Nevada Newsmakers" among first shows available as podcast

Can't get to a TV at noon weekdays? How about 9 a.m. Sundays? No problem. Sam Shad is making sure you're able to watch his show, "Nevada Newsmakers," 24/7.

On your laptop. On your iPod. On your PDA. On your cell phone.

The show already enjoys a dizzying broadcast schedule that has the show airing at multiple times on multiple broadcast and cable channels in Reno and Las Vegas. But that's not good enough for Shad.

"You're seeing a revolution in the way information is transmitted and licensed," he says. "The technology is moving so rapidly. There's this giant change in broadcasting."

It's become narrowcasting. Or rather, podcasting.

Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files over the Internet using RSS (a family of XML programming dialects). Those using the technology are podcasters.

Nevada Newsmakers was already available for download off the show's Web site. But it was provided to Apple as content for its iPod product as an audio podcast in December and as a video podcast in January.

"I noticed the iPod craze just going bonkers," says Shad. "So I called these two geniuses next door, bought them an iPod and they got to work."

The geniuses are programmers Jim Freeman and Mike Van Houten at Reno's JM Studio, Inc.

"The video was particularly challenging," says Van Houten, because the technology had only been available for about four months. "There are only 90 other videopod broadcasts out there," he adds.

The 46 million iPod owners are "pretty geeky," says Van Houten. "They like to listen to political shows on their iPods."

JM Studio will also develop a PDA-friendly (small screen) version of the "Nevada Newsmakers" Web site. But, says Van Houten, the cell phone version will have to wait; currently cells can only hold five-minute video clips. However, he expects expanded capacity by early next year.

While most people buy songs via their iPods, Shad provides his show as a free download because, "It's a benefit to the sponsors of "Nevada Newsmakers,"" he says.

Pod viewers may choose the free video version of "Nevada Newsmakers" but must pay for episodes of programming such as "Desperate Housewives," "Battlestar Galactica," or "Lost."

And while Shad tracked 8,200 downloads a month from his Web site, the iPod version is running around 2,000 hits a month.

"This is the future," says Shad. "It allows people to take control of when they listen to or view programs."

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