Name That Technology: Podcast? Netcast? Webcast?

The iPod's domination of the portable-media world is causing headaches for one misunderstood group: podcasters. To escape Apple's shadow (and its cease-and-desist letters) many creators of downloadable audio and video programs are trying out new names for the technology, with the aim of communicating that their work is compatible with a variety of media players, not just iPods. Last month the leading podcast network, PodShow, changed its corporate name to Mevio, while Tim Bourquin—founder of the largest podcasting trade show, the New Media Expo—avoids the word altogether when courting potential exhibitors. Other podcasters have experimented with the words "Netcast," "Webcast" and "blogcast" to avoid sounding like Apple-only programmers. "I just call it Internet radio," says Steve Webb, who hosts 13 shows about Christianity, "because when you say 'podcast,' people think, 'Oh, I don't have an iPod,' and they shut off."

But some say the effort is futile: ABC, NBC, NPR and even Apple's archcompetitor Microsoft all use the term "podcast." Besides, as Rob Walch, coauthor of "Tricks of the Podcasting Masters," points out, it's never going to be easy. "Subscribing to content via RSS 2.0 with media enclosure tags," he says, "is a tough concept to tell your grandma about."