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Radio station takes podcasts to public airwaves

Radio broadcaster Infinity is set to debut San Francisco AM station that plays content created wholly by listeners.

Radio station operator Infinity Broadcasting has announced it plans to launch a podcasting station in San Francisco.

The company, a division of Viacom, said Wednesday that content created by listeners will be available at 1550 KYCY in the AM radio band and online for streaming at, starting May 16. Podcasts can already be uploaded to the site for free. Selections, based on listener interest and feedback, will be evaluated daily.

Podcasting allows people to create audio programs and upload them onto the Internet so that others can download the programs and play them on devices later. Content also can be scheduled for automatic download to devices.

"There is a profound shift under way in the way we use technology that allows everyone to have a voice," Joel Hollander, Infinity's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "KYOURadio harnesses that power by serving our listeners with content developed by them, for them, and offering a platform to share it with the rest of the world."

Akin to blogging, podcasting is growing as a new form of media distribution. By 2010, nearly 12.3 million households will use MP3 players to listen to podcasts, research firm The Yankee Group recently projected.

"There's a lot of buzz around podcasting now, just like with blogs, where you can't spit without hitting a blogger," said Susan Kevorkian, an analyst with research firm IDC. "Having an important player in AM and FM broadcasting offering a filtering function helps to legitimize the technology, which previously has been viewed as a fringe element."

While Infinity is starting small with its podcasting effort, it could grow the amount of content available on its station to include segments from its other radio properties, allowing it to be more creative and target the way advertising is delivered, Kevorkian added.