What Is a Podcast?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of podcasting, let’s start with a definition.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a series of media files, in either audio or video format, that are distributed through a syndicated RSS feed and released in chronological order.

OK now let’s put that in regular, non-geek language:

A podcast is an online talk radio show, news show or other type of series that you can subscribe to and get automatically as each new episode is released.

Podcasts are often available through blogs or on blog directories. iTunes is the host of some of the most popular podcasts online. Podcast listeners can use a podcatcher to download the files and in some cases have the program downloaded automatically. Podcasts are often played on an iPod, mp3 player, iPhone and now even the iPad. They are also often downloaded and played right on a computer.

Here are some of the features that make a podcast:

  1. Hosts – Most often a podcast has one or more hosts that present the show each week. They usually have a topic of focus and often have guests to speak and showcase their expertise on that topic.
  1. Released by Episode – Podcasts are not available all at once. You can download past episodes of a podcast but much like a TV show you must wait for the next episode to be released. Many podcasts happen on a weekly or monthly basis, while others may be daily. The frequency of the release is a choice of the podcast creators.
  1. Syndication – What makes a podcast different from just an audio or video download is that they are syndicated and available through an RSS feed. Every podcast has it’s own unique feed that anyone can subscribe to. Then, when there is a new episode the feed is updated and the episode is delivered automatically.

Video podcasting has become more and more popular as the availability of Flip cameras and other easy to use digital video cameras become available on the market. It’s relatively simple for someone to get set up with a video camera, record a podcast and then upload that for everyone to view.

The length of the podcast varies depending on the type of podcast, topic, and general preferences of the host and/or audience. Some podcasts are as short as just a few minutes while others are an hour or longer.

Podcasting can be used to promote a business or podcasting can be a business model in itself. The options and uses are practically limited only by the imagination.

Looking at podcasting from the subscribers point of view it really is a wonderful thing! Podcast listeners get to choose what they want to listen to and when.

Also the variety of topics and information available through podcasts is massive. Because anyone can podcast relatively easily listeners now have access to information they never would have received before.

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