What is a podcast?
The term "podcast" came about when the terms "iPod" and "broadcast" got smashed together to create a cool little buzz word that describes audio or video broadcasts that could be played on a mobile audio player.
Since the turn of the 21st century, just about every device introduced has been able to play audio and video files, and these days with 3G and 4G networks around, we can both stream and downloaded podcasts no matter where we are.
This has led to podcasts becoming increasingly more popular as they are ways for fans to talk about, discuss and share their favorite topics, hobbies, TV series, and, of course, games... Star Trek Online is no different; our favorite game has many podcasts dedicated to it!
What types of podcasts are there?
Podcasts can come in many different formats, from a single person discussing their own views to a group of hosts conducting a roundtable discussion, scripted podcasts to podcasts having discussions with their in-game character, role playing dramas to guides and tutorials, and more. And Star Trek Online has them all!
Between all the various podcasts, just about every audio and video medium on the internet is used, including YouTube videos, live streaming through facilities like LiveStream, videos created using the STO DemoRecord tool, hosts just recording their discussions via Skype or TeamSpeak, and many other services that are available.
There is only so much news from STO; won't all these podcasts just be the same?
Although many podcasts will have the same discussion points as each other due to there being only so much news that will come out of Cryptic Studios at once, each podcast not only reports this news differently, but their discussions between co-hosts can greatly differ as well.
Not to mention that not all podcasts are about reporting what news has come out Star Trek Online!
There are podcasts like Foundry Files and Foundry Roundtable that focus on the Foundry, and podcasts like PrimetimeUGC that produces a video podcast where they present their information as voice overs from their characters; we also have audio dramas like the Gates of Sto'vo'kor.
There are also podcasts that only talk about Star Trek Online as part of a segment in their Star Trek podcast.
An example would be the G&T Show - their podcast focuses on writing and storytelling in Star Trek, including how it extends to Star Trek Online, and as all the hosts play STO, they can talk about it a lot (and other times not at all)!
So with so many different podcasts that can focus on different aspects of the game and present information in their own format and style, not one podcast tends to sound exactly like the other, despite the topics of discussion often being the same.
I've never heard of these podcasts?
Never heard of podcasts or even Star Trek Online podcasts? Really? ... Only joking!
When I started playing Star Trek Online two years ago, and like many who are new to MMOs, I was playing through missions when I received an invite to join a Fleet. Not knowing what this popup meant, I accepted it and became a member of the SCCFleet – it was then through the in-game chat (that I hadn't used up to that point!) that the fleet helped me learn much more about the game.
I eventually joined them on TeamSpeak and one day they were talking about heading over for a dance party hosted by STOked... so I asked, "What is STOked?"; it was then that I was introduced to my first Star Trek Online podcast!
So if you've never heard of podcasts or even if you have never heard that there are Star Trek Online podcasts, it's okay.
It seems that unless someone introduces you to podcasts, most are unaware that they are out there; and this is the primary reason I have chosen to write this blog and volunteer my time to promote the various Star Trek Online podcasts.
Where can I find out how to listen to or watch these podcasts?
Once I had learned about STOked, I also heard mentions of other podcasts like Priority One; but when trying to find out how and where to go to listen to some of them, most weren't really sure where to go, never mind how you could join them live!
So, I decided to go about gathering this information so I could share it with everyone via the STO forums.
I then created a forum post listing all the STO podcasts I could find, along with where and when you can join them live and/or download the recorded shows.
I then talked to BranFlakes, Star Trek Online Community Manager, about getting the post stickied to make it an easy to find resource.
This forum post still exists and has grown as more podcasts found the post, or I found them!
The post gets updated as soon as I know of any changes and I will reply to the thread to announce what has changed and when.
There is now a dedicated domain that points directly to it - just type http://stopodcasts.info in to any internet browser to be taken directly to the forum thread.
While not all players use the forums, and with an increasing amount of the community using social media, I now post via various channels when there is a new podcast, reminders when podcasts are live, links to where you can download the podcasts once they are available and any other podcast related updates I find.
If you use Twitter, you can follow @STO_Podcasts. This Twitter account also contains Twitter lists for each podcast; these make it easier for you to follow them and their hosts. Just visit https://twitter.com/STO_Podcasts/lists to view these lists.
For Facebook users, a new page has recently been created over at http://www.facebook.com/STOPodcasts, and for those using Google+, here is the link to the page where I'll be posting from: http://gplus.to/STOPodcasts.
Are there any other ways to find out about this information?
For those who use Google+, there is a Star Trek Online Community that includes a stream for STO Podcasts.
Other community members and I post here regularly when the podcasts are released.
Do hosts get paid for doing these podcasts?
No; the podcasts are organised, broadcast, edited and distributed by members of the community who love to talk about what is happening in Star Trek Online, and they depend on donations from viewers/listeners and sometimes sponsors to help pay for hosting, software and hardware costs.
So if you do enjoy the podcasts you are listening to and have a little spare cash, please visit the web site of that podcast and you'll be sure to find a donate button.
On the topic of donations to podcasts, I would like to bring to your attention that some of the STO podcasts are working to bring you the biggest Star Trek convention live, even if, like me, you cannot be there in person!
I'm talking about the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas that runs August 8th to 11th 2013 - Trek Radio along with STOked Radio and Priority One have teamed up with Huston Huddleston's New Starship Project with the aim to bring the restored Enterprise-D's bridge to the conventional hall.
As well as allowing visitors to see and be on the bridge, the podcasts aim to bring you all the live news and interviews direct from the Enterprise Bridge itself.
But the cost of transportation, booth space, along with other costs means they need to raise a whopping $7,500 USD. Large and small donations will be helpful, and the more you donate the greater the perk you get. You can find out full information on this Indiegogo project here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/experience-the-enterprise
If you are interested in what is coming next in Star Trek Online, listening to the podcasts are a great way to gain an insight into what might be coming next. Podcasters tend to keep an active eye on not only the STO forums, but messages from the game developers, so when they hear any information of interest, those spoilers get talked about on the next episode.
The podcasts are also great for getting hints and tips on how to play the game, what bugs there currently are out there, and any possible workarounds to them. They are also a good way to find where to get those hidden accolades and suggested foundry missions to play.
Podcasts are often the first place to release news direct from Cryptic as many podcasts get interviews with the game developers where they will talk about what they can and the podcasts will usually ask viewer questions. So, if you ever have a question about the game that you've never gone to the forums with, joining in with the podcasts can give you that extra possibility of finally getting some of your own questions answered!
Generally, if you like STO, Star Trek and fun, you'll enjoy listening to and watching these podcasts. Plus, if you join them live you get to meet great players like yourself and maybe even get your name mentioned on the show, too!
I like the sound of these podcasts; can I start my own?
Anyone can start a podcast! At a minimum, all you really need is a microphone, some software and time... quite often a lot of time!
Not only has the community come together to provide us with a great selection of podcasts but some have also formed production companies to help others get themselves out into the world!
If you are looking to create podcasts, blogs, dramas and even write novels or short stories, there are those out there willing to help you. Such groups include Busy Little Beaver Productions, Holosuite Media, True Podcast Media and Priority One.
So who do you contact? Which group could help you most? Well, never fear, just contact me in-game (@MidNiteShadow7) and let me know what you are wanting to do and I can help direct you towards the individuals who should be able to help you the most, or you can even contact them directly via their web sites.
Production groups, like the ones listed above, will be getting added to the STO Podcasts forum post in the near future. If you are a production group that would like to help others get their Star Trek Online Podcast up and running, get in touch with me so I can add your details to the list.
No, the podcasts listed above are just a selection of the podcasts. Please visit http://stopodcasts.info to be taken straight to STO forum post that contains a more detailed list that is regularly updated.
Do you have more questions?
Well, I am always here to help; to get in contact you can either post a reply to the main STO Podcasts forum thread, post to any of the STO Podcast social media networks listed above, or you can send me an in-game message to @MidNiteShadow7.
I would like to give a shout out to the other Fleet Admirals of the SCCFleet, BanjoSteve and Chall, not only for introducing me to the world of podcasts but for the extra work they take on in the Fleet when I am busy trying to help promote the podcasts.
BanjoSteve has also done a great job on the new artwork that the social network sites are now using. I'd also like to thank SCCFleet member, and a host from the Deck 8 podcast, Tombad2378 who created the temporary Twitter avatar that I had been used whilst the new art work was being created.
Finally, to all the Star Trek Online podcasts and podcasters out there, a huge 'thank you' to you all; you all work very hard with the only reward being a happy community.
Live Long and Podcast!