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#15 – Podcasts

What are Podcasts?


A podcast is a pre-recorded audio program that’s posted to a website and is made available for download so people can listen to them on their computer or mobile devices.

Podcasting takes its name from combining the word broadcast with Apple’s popular iPod line of products, but it isn’t limited only to iPod owners and listeners, in fact any mp3 player, laptop or PC with speakers or other mobile listening device can be used.

 What distinguishes a podcast from other types of audio products on the internet is that a podcaster can solicit subscriptions from listeners, so that when new podcasts are released, they can automatically be delivered, or fed, to a subscriber’s computer or  mobile device usually through an RSS feed ( see Thing #4 for a refresher on setting up an RSS Feed)

Podcasts are now common on the web and are often audio files (for example recordings of radio programmes, lectures, readings, drama, interviews, audio diaries or music). However, Podcasts may also include video content as well.
When you come across a podcast on the web you can usually listen to it or view it, simply by clicking “play” or “listen”. However, because podcasts use RSS, you can also subscribe to them using a feed reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines.  This means that when ever there is a new episode of the podcast you will receive it in your feed reader. In fact. subscribing to a podcast is a bit like subscribing to a blog – except that the information you receive is in audio or video format rather than text and pictures.

There are some RSS feed readers which have been designed specifically for podcasts. These are called Podcatchers and often facilitate the transfer of podcasts to MP3 players. Probably the most well known podcatcher is iTunes. However, you can susbscribe to podcasts using an ordinary RSS feed reader such as the one you set up for Thing#4  just as easily and effectively.

How do I subscribe to a Podcast?

The program you would use to subscribe is called a ‘feedreader’, ‘aggregator’, or ‘podcatcher’ .

 There are a whole variety of podcatchers that you may like to investigate:

iTunes, Podcastalley, Podcastdirectory, Everyzing and Podomatic  are some of the many available

There are podcasts on just about every subject under the sun so try and find ones which are of personal or professional interest to you.


1. Find some podcasts which interest you using one of sites listed above.

2. Subscribe to the feed for your favourite podcast in the RSS feed reader that you subscribed to in Thing#4

3. To find out more about podcasts and podcasting view “Podcasting in Plain English” on the Commoncraft Show.
4. Blog about your experience of podcasts.

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