Hear this podcast or download it to your player by clicking here . Radio veteran Tony Reno had long dreamed of creating a programme to bring Asian hip-hop, rock, metal, pop and other styles of music to western audiences, but the commercial demands of the industry kept him off the airwaves. Add to this the simple problem of geography. The music was here in Asia, but his potential audience of listeners - those who might like to hear their favourite music styles in a different language - was not confined to a single radio market. They were scattered throughout the English-speaking world. 'My real goal is to hit people in western countries, like North America and even Europe,' he said. Now, thanks to a confluence of technologies such as high-speed broadband connections and portable digital music players, the economics of audio creation and distribution have changed. This has given Reno and others the ability to cheaply produce a show, delivering it as a 'podcast' over the internet to listeners in far-flung places. Reno is one of an estimated 4,000 'podcasters' globally, and one of the handful in Hong Kong who are producing amateur radio programmes on a regular basis. His show, available at http:// dragonradio.hk , sticks to a tight format of bringing seldom-heard music (for western audiences, at least) to listeners' attention. Other programmes cover a variety of subjects, such as wine, technology, science fiction and Catholicism. Industry watchers say the trend could change the way we listen to the radio. The proliferation of MP3 players in the market such as Apple's iPod is allowing people to 'time shift' their favourite radio programmes, and also listen to amateur but high-quality content. Accompanying technologies such as Really Simple Syndication allows listeners to subscribe to a podcast, with their favourite programmes automatically downloaded to their music devices. Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler said: 'You look at what's going on with podcasting right now, it's definitely a geek early-adopter geek phenomenon. But with MP3 player growth, more and more people are adopting it.' Forrester expects podcasts to reach 12.3 million American homes by 2010. 'Talk shows and new programming is where the sweet spot is,' Mr Schadler said. Podcasting is often referred to as 'audio blogging', and like its text counterpart the low barriers to entry allow just about anybody to participate in content creation. According to Griffith Jones, formerly a media and entertainment consultant at IBM, the upside is this gives talented people a voice. 'In the past, the need for capital really trumped everything,' he said. 'You couldn't even get off the ground, no matter how good of an idea you had or how capable of a disc jockey you are. The difference today is just the people.' The drawback, of course, is anyone with a computer and a microphone can clutter the internet with their podcasts. 'It is mainstream, and with any mainstream project or technology, there's a lot of garbage out there, too,' Reno said. 'I'm not saying my programme is not garbage, but the good thing about it is everybody has an opinion and can voice their opinion or set up their blogs.' With so many ears tuned into MP3 players, podcasting represents a threat to traditional radio. National Public Radio in the United States and the BBC in Britain are making some content available as podcasts, but commercial radio stations have yet to fully embrace the technology because it could undermine established business models. Advertising within a podcast or pay-per-download are touted as possibilities. 'Business is endlessly creative in trying to figure out how to monetise something,' Mr Schadler said. Consumers, however, might object to advertising within content they have taken the trouble to download. 'For radio, people are used to [advertising],' Mr Jones said. 'But when it comes to podcasting and they have to go through the trouble of downloading it and uploading it into their mobile device, I tend to think people will be less tolerant.' And while the medium is new, the emphasis on entertaining content has not changed. 'I think the challenge is a variation of what it's always been: create compelling media,' he said. 'But now you have to think outside of the box in terms of your revenue model. Be it subscription, be it one-time download, be it alternative forms of advertising like product placement or sponsorship.' Related stories Sound advice for podcasters Bridging real and virtual lives ESC sequences Point of view Today SCMP.com joins the legions of podcasters. To listen, click on Podcasting , Online dating , ESC Sequences or Point of View . You can listen to the podcast as it plays, save it to hard drive with the 'File' menu on your browser or save in another device using your player's task bar button.