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Podcasters hit radio airwaves with 'life-casting'
By Li Xiaowei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-24 05:44

SHANGHAI: Podcasters from cities all over China have hit the airwaves this week with "life-casting," sharing anything from their blogs and jokes to songs and speeches.

Wangyou.com is the first among a dozen Chinese podcasting websites to pass its podcasts, or home-made or professional audio contents, over to 16 provincial or regional radio stations early this week.

The contents from the Internet are being broadcasted daily on the radio in the form of a 30-minute programme called Wangyou Happy Hour (Kuai Le Le Fan Tian).

For Wangyou's CEO Buddy Ye, the significance of the initiative goes beyond sharing personal entertainment passions.

"We call this life-casting," Ye said.

"By working in conjunction with traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers, we hope to help people broadcast and share their lives," he said.

The radio stations Wangyou chose are concentrated in the smaller cities, where podcasting and blogging are more appealing due to fewer recreation options.

"People living in inland China are eager to be in the know and share their lives and dreams. We are happy to help them achieve this," Ye said.

Podcasting is a new technology that allows individuals to produce their own audio files, such as songs and speeches, and upload them onto a podcasting website.

Anyone with Internet access can download the files and listen to them.

Along with podcasts, text contents such as bloggers' diaries and jokes are also being broadcasted on radios.

The programme was an instant hit among listeners.

"I like it so much that I am wondering how I can listen to it again, or download the programme somewhere," said a listener with the Web moniker Yuyue.

By the end of May next year, another 40-plus radio stations will join the initiative, said Fang Daqing, head of Wangyou's Multi-media Development.

"We want to entertain people through their home-made programmes, which we foresee is a booming trend thanks to the development of technology," Fang said.

"Though traditional broadcasting produced by professionals will stay, we believe the general public's contribution will help enrich our entertainment service," Fang added.

Being attracted as much to Wangyou's corporate social responsibility as to its lucrative business model, US private equity fund MINT injected US$1 million for the firm's expansion.

It is estimated that China has 80 million Internet users, 50 per cent of whom are under 25 years old. Of these 40 million young people, about 20 per cent or 8 million have the money and time to do podcasting.

Having only developed in late 2004 in China, podcasting has expanded in a big way.

Apart from Wangyou.com, other popular podcasting websites in China include Imboke.com and Toodou.com.

(China Daily 11/24/2005 page2)

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