Billed as a new way to create audio podcasts, Zcast by Zula (which was co-founded by Jeff Pulver in 2013) is a sweet new application which allows anyone to produce a high-quality, multi-member podcast on their iPhone without prior technical knowledge.
The app’s key advantage over other podcasting solutions is its ability to invite guest co-hosts, take comments and answer questions in real-time.
In taking the pain out of podcasting, Zcast could persuade people who don’t normally run a podcast show of their own to start one in a few minutes, no special setup needed, because that’s how easy to use and approachable this app is.
Having spent a few months in closed beta, ZCast is now available to everyone completely free of charge.
How ZCast works
You won’t need to invest in a high-quality microphone, hosting services, expensive audio equipment, special set-ups or software add-ons to start casting with ZCast: your iPhone already has everything you need to produce podcasts from the comfort of your own home.
To get started, simply choose a topic and you can start broadcast to the world in real-time, or schedule the podcast for a later date. The app will tweet your followers so that they can tune in as listeners, comment and provide feedback in real-time.
And if you feel like group-chatting, ZCast makes it easy to invite anyone from your Twitter network to cast with you, and group-cast to your collective followers.
Of course, not everyone is a great podcaster (the “No one will listen to me” syndrome) so if you’d rather just listen in, ZCast lets you do just that.
As a listener, you can chat with the speakers and other listeners, easily like and share your favorite podcasts with friends, search curated and transcribed content and more. The app makes things easier for logged-in users by surfacing relevant content based on trending topics and personal match.
ZCast is audio-only and focused on the ‘live’ aspect of podcasting and many-to-many broadcasting, as opposed to one-to-many content on services like to Twitter, Meerkat, Periscope and so forth.
Anyone interested in starting a live podcast with yours truly?
ZCast on the web
Cast’s web interface replicates much of the mobile app’s functionality and allows you to tune in to live and upcoming podcasts, search for shows to enjoy, subscribe to your favorite podcasts with just a click and more.
In addition to listening to audio podcasts created by other people, both the mobile app and ZCast’s web interface let you ‘like’ (actually, ‘heart’) your favorite podcasts, chat with your listeners or posts messages yourself, and more—all without needing any sort of plug-in or a third-party software install.
ZCast requires an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later. The app is English-only and currently lacks an iPad-optimized interface, which is my only quibble.