What is a Podcast

What is a Podcast you ask..

Okay let’s try to explain what podcasting is all about. Podcasting is the process of making audio files (most commonly in MP3 format) available online in a way that allows software to automatically download the files for listening at the user’s convenience. A podcast is like an audio magazine subscription; a subscriber receives regular audio programs delivered via the internet, and can listen to them at their leisure.

In the past, listeners have had to either tune in to web radio at a scheduled time, or they have had to search for and download individual files from web pages. Podcasts differ from traditional internet audio in two important ways. Podcasts are much easier to get. They can be listened to at any time because a copy is on the listener’s computer or portable music player (hence the “pod” in “podcasting” for the most popular personal audio player the iPod), and they are automatically delivered to subscribers, so no active downloading is required.

Traditional media outlets like television, radio, magazines and newspapers have dictated content to people for decades. Podcasting gives control of content to the consumer, allowing them to consume anything they want, anytime they want. They are not limited to what is currently playing or with in reach with the traditional media

A podcast is audio, in an mp3 format, distributed over the internet by an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. RSS is being used in a mass market deployment today to provide items containing short descriptions of web content together with a link to the full version of the content. If you ever visited a web site where the news headlines or stock market update appears, odds are the content was fed through RSS.

A TiVo-like experience is created by integrating mp3, which compresses audio files to reduce download times, with RSS which syndicates content. Consumers subscribe to shows and when ever new episodes are posted, they automatically are downloaded and saved to their computers. The need to remember to check for new content is eliminated. Additionally they listen when they want to not when someone schedules them to. The consumer now has the option to listen to the content on their PC, or perhaps most revolutionary the show can be synchronized to their personal digital audio player such as mp3 players, the most popular being Apple’s iPod. (Hence the portmanteau Podcast.)