Podcasts: A guy thing?

Historically, yes. But women are tuning in to the online audio programs in greater numbers, a survey shows.

Chances are, if you've recorded a podcast in the last year, the people listening in were men.

A survey in December by Podtrac, a company that aims to connect podcasters and advertisers, showed that 78 percent of those who have ever listened to a podcast are male. That pattern is in keeping with early adoption of a wide array of technologies , from PCs to video games.

"With podcasting just over a year old, the current maleness of the podcast audience at the aggregate level is consistent with gender usage trends of the early Web," Mark McCrery, Podtrac's CEO, said in a statement.

But the survey, released Tuesday, also pointed to a faster shift to a more even balance between the genders. Of the respondents who had listened to a podcast within the preceding week, 51 percent were women.

The online audio phenomenon is ringing bells with an ever-wider audience, according to Podtrac's figures. One-third of respondents were familiar with the term "podcasting," one-third of those who are familiar have ever listened to a podcast, and two in five of those who have ever listened had done so in the preceding seven days.

Although podcasts--audio programs designed for distribution over the Web to MP3 players such as Apple Computer's iPod--haven't been on the scene long, they are already attracting the attention of advertisers and the organizational skills of Internet giants such as Yahoo .

The study, commissioned by Podtrac and conducted by custom research specialist Taylor Nelson Sofres, surveyed 1,000 adults from the general online population.

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