Senate Republicans Start Podcasting

Residents of the state of Pennsylvania will now be able to listen to a weekly podcast on state issues thanks to a new program being launched by the state Senate Republican Caucus. The group hopes that use of the emerging technology will bring the group's issues to the forefront in the minds of voters.

"Podcasting is a great new technology, and our caucus will use it to help keep constituents informed," Erik Anderson said, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader David Brightbill. "Podcasting will improve our ability to provide in-depth analysis, up-to- date information, and insights from individual members about crucial topics affecting people and communities around the Commonwealth."

The first podcast is now available from the caucus Web site and talks about a bill in the legislature dealing with the repeal of certain taxes to wireless phone service. The group also plans to use podcasting technology to distribute press releases as well.

Podcasting uses RSS to send out the audio files that are like recorded radio addresses. A feed reader or news aggregator can be used to download the audio files, which then can be transferred to a portable device such as an iPod, from which the term podcasting is derived.

"Many news organizations, blogs, and other web sites are now using RSS feeds, making it more convenient than ever for people to stay up-to-date on topics that are important to them," Arneson said. "It's revolutionizing the way information is disseminated, and we want our members to be at the front- end of that."

While the Republican Caucus says it will use the podcast to "address legislation before the Senate and issues of importance to Pennsylvanians," the new technology is also likely to bring about concern. Such podcasts, which further the ideals of a particular group, could be construed government propaganda if used incorrectly.

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