What is a Podcast?

What is a Podcast?

Postby MikeC on Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:06 pm

Look at this then eh... our very own media room, replete with sound-proofing and high-end Dolby surround-sound - Very posh, nice one Ryan :D

I thought I'd just write a few notes about what podcasts are for those new to the term - I know from just talking to people that there is confusion as to what it means even though they have heard of the expression via the media etc...

What is a Podcast Then?

The word "podcast" is, IMO, a misnomer - Simply put, it is simply an audio file which you can download and listen to on your media player.

Podcast has just become one of those cool words which seem to have become universally accepted by people and media organisations that aspire to look cool and hip - It derives from the iPod, which is Apple's portable media player.

It is a simple as that really!

How Do I Listen to a Podcast?

Just click on the link!

One of two things will happen:

- Your media player will automatically open and begin playing the file.
- A dialog box opens prompting you to save the audio file onto your PC

If you don't wish to listen to it immediately, just right-click on the link and choose: Save Target as...
Choose a location on your hard drive and save.

What Do I need to Listen?

You just need a media player.

For listening on your PC, Windows Media Player (WMP) is by far the most popular one and will suffice for most available podcasts (Some Podcasts might use an audio file that won't work on WMP. This is very rare however).

You can also listen to them whilst out and about using an MP3 player - You can pick these up relatively cheaply these days... even Asda sell them now starting at around £10.

The larger the storage capacity, the more expensive they are.

Some players - such as the iPod - can also play video files. iPods are quite expensive (you're paying for coolness don't forget!). There are cheaper alternatives out there.

Podcast Feeds

There are loads of podcast aggregators on the net (iTunes being the most well known) that offer RSS feeds. There are literally 10s of thousands of podcasts catering for virtually every weird niche you can think of. Do a search for your topic of interest on the aggregator, find the subscription link and paste it into your feedreader.

[Note: Only podcasts which are syndicated by the podcast author are available on the aggregators - The DEA podcasts are not (or shouldn't be!) on them simply because I don't want every man and his dog with no direct interest in the industry wasting my bandwidth. There is a feed you can use however - See below]

Whenever a new podcast is published, your feedreader picks it up.


There are several feedreaders available - Google is your friend. Personally, my browser of choice is Maxthon, which has a feedreader built into the sidebar. As well as picking up any blogs I follow, it also picks up any podcasts I have subscribed to. When I click on it, it automatically plays it using a mini version of WMP (see attached pic).

Subscribe: DEA podcast feed.

This is just may take on podcasts. You can read more at Wikipedia.
Maxthon feedreader - Clicking on feed opens and plays podcast whilst you surf.
maxthon-feedreader.GIF (11.08 KB) Viewed 19390 times

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