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Chicago area podcasters group growing
By Anna Marie Kukec | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 6/1/2008 12:08 AM

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The Chicago Area Podcasters Network (http://chicagopodcast.org) has been growing since its inception in 2006, a clear indication of the popularity of podcasting.

The niche video and/or audio programming offers an eclectic mix of broadcast-type quality with citizen journalism.

"Things really changed once iTunes made podcasting available," said Tom Kim of Libertyville, founder of the podcasting group.

The organization holds monthly meetings, mostly at the Apple store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, or other locations around the suburbs. They discuss ideas, learn about trends and equipment, and network.

The group started with about 10 members and has since grown to about 50 from Chicago, Lombard, Geneva and elsewhere. Membership is free.

While some members want to learn how to get started, others have been podcasting for the last couple of years and often have an audience of 200 or more.

Here are what some members are doing:

• Lisa and Joe Lynn of Arlington Heights offer restaurant and entertainment news and reviews on the Cheap Date Show (http://cheapdateshow.com).

• Phil Clark and Mike Lingafelter host West Chicago-based "The Brit and The Yankee" (www.thebritandyankee.com), which offers a British-styled pub show complete with clinking glasses in the background.

• Even Kim, video game designer turned advertising executive, hosts and produces the Gamasutra podcast about the video gaming industry on the Game Developers Conference's GDC Radio (gdcradio.net).

Podcasting has been becoming so popular that many corporations now are seeing it as another marketing avenue, said Kim.

"But a lot of them are just taking their pre-existing material and pushing it out as a real feed," said Kim. "We create original programming."

Surfing: AT&T Inc. and Pantech Wireless Inc. last week unveiled the Pantech Breeze C520. It is designed for people needing an easy way to stay in touch and includes simplified menus, oversized display with large keypad and quick-call keys. The Breeze is available at select AT&T company-owned stores and online at www.wireless.att.com. It costs $49.99 after a two-year service agreement and a $30 mail-in rebate, or $124.99 after a $30 mail-in rebate for customers who prefer to use AT&T's Pick Your Plan or Pay As You Go GoPhone prepaid plans.

• Ten years ago, retail futures traders started clicking and trading for the first time using the BestDirect electronic trading platform, created by PFGBEST.com to link directly to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Globex trading engine. This put retail investors and traders using BESTDirect on a level playing field with any institution or professional trading desk using the exchange's electronic futures contracts.

• Famous Frames Mobile Interactive (www.FFMI.com), which produces, acquires and distributes original graphic content, has beta launched its model digital studio last week. You can view for free at www.FFMI.com the first mobisodes of five new animated series, including "The Three Stooges."