Apple IMC Southern Africa has announced a major national podcasting competition, due to begin on the 19th of March 2007. Working in collaboration with 5FM, Coca-Cola, and MINI, Apple IMC is spearheading the first-ever podcasting competition on the continent of Africa.

In addition to the R250 000 in prizes to be won by participants and voters alike, the sponsors will also be broadcasting various top podcasts on the big screen at My Coke Fest (headlining Guns n' Roses) and giving the eventual grand-champion a 2007 MINI to drive for two months. For the sponsors however, the ultimate goal of the iPodcast competition is to drive the adoption of podcasting in the local marketplace, while encouraging creativity, self-expression among the youth and young-adult market in South Africa.

The competition will give creative individuals throughout the country, an outlet to share their talents with a national and international audience.

Steven Davis, Apple IMC's Senior Marketing Manager comments: "Anyone can create a podcast. All over the world, people are creating podcasts on subjects ranging from movies, to technology, to music, to politics and whatever else you can think of. This is new original content made by passionate people who want to share their creativity with the world. We wanted to create a platform where every South African could share their creative talents with the entire country. This competition gives everyone a portal through which their own unique-self can be broadcasted and shared with the entire country. I believe this is what we have managed to create with the iPodcast competition."

Reuben Goldberg of 5FM says that they "want South Africans to find out how easy podcasting is. This is their chance. We are very excited about hooking up with Apple, Coca Cola and Mini to give South Africans a chance to win awesome prizes just by exercising their freedom of speech. We can’t wait to hear what people have to say.”

Globally, podcasting is rapidly gaining popularity around the globe as a means of reaching millions listeners around the world, and has huge ramifications in the South African marketplace, not only within the business context, but also within the delivery of educational content. With small cost of entry, hundreds of thousands of new "broadcasters" are hitting the podcast "airwaves" daily. Millions of listeners around the globe are finding new, fun, interesting, entertaining, enlightening, and informative content that they want to hear.

Davis adds that "most podcasts are made by people who are very passionate about their subject. Passion is infectious and interesting to listen to. Since the birth of podcasting, a huge variety of shows have shown up on the internet. In addition, many major media outlets are also now offering podcasts. Now you can listen to an amazing array of podcasts, from BBC, Sky News and National Geographic, to yoga, health and wellness, and cooking. No matter what your interest is, chances are that there is a podcast out there that will fulfill your need."

Locally, many artists are beginning to use iTunes and podcasting as a the intermediary for accessing a local and global audience. Local legend Steve Hofmeyr (http://stevehofmeyr.co.za) is an active podcaster, as is The ZA Show (www.thezashow.co.za) which offers popular local content on their weekly podcast. Each week, dozens of innovative new podcasts are being created here in South Africa, for the world to listen to.

The competition will run over a seven-week timeframe , in which listeners will be able to visit the iPodcast site (www.getpodcasting.co.za) and learn how to podcast, where to go to podcast (if they don’t own a computer), and other useful information pertinent to the competition.

The competition categories are:

1. Original Music

2. Comedy/Stand-Up

3. Arts & Entertainment

4. Society & Culture

5. Sports & Recreation