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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.