What is Podcasting?
In the simplest terms, a podcast is just like a regular radio broadcast – the only difference is that anyone can do it. When you download a podcast, you're basically downloading a kind of radio show capsule that someone made on their own computer. Of course, a lot of big companies and news channels are now offering podcasts too, but the format started as a way for regular people to record their own shows, put them on the Internet, and let people listen to them.
What kinds of Podcasts are there?
There are thousands of different types of podcasts – and fortunately, there are now more ways to find them. Some of the most useful podcast directories included the following:
To find more podcast online just google "Podcast directories" and you'll get the latest listing of what's available. Some of the podcasts you'll find are rebroadcasts of commercial radio shows or even public radio broadcasts. Podcasts made by private individuals cover the spectrum from politics, religion, cats, dogs, cars, books, film, restaurant work, screenwriting, sports, languages... just about any topic that you've ever heard any one talk about.
How do you get started?
The first thing you need to do is get a podcasting program (sometimes called an "aggregator"). Though there are several podcasting programs to choose from, the easiest ones to use are available at: ipodder.org and juicereceiver.sourceforge.net.
At ipodder.org you will find the software you need to subscribe to podcasts. Click on the "Download iPodder" link, choose your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc), and download the free "ipodder 1.0" software. There are other types of podcast programs listed there as well, but we think ipodder makes the most sense. When you launch the ipodder program on your computer, you'll also find a podcast directory right inside the program. Click on the "Podcast Directory" tab, select a podcast you want from the list of podcasts listed, and ipodder will automatically set up a subscription to that podcast. Listening to your podcasts is then as simple as clicking on the "Downloads" tab in ipodder, and then double clicking on the podcast you want to hear.
For an extensive discussion of podcasts, there's a very informative article at wikipedia.org. Wikipedia is like an online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to, and it provides an excellent overview of the history and terms involved in podcasting.
Podcasts are still a new way to listen to radio – and so learning to find them and listen to them may take a bit of practice. Once you get the logic down, though, you'll be podcasting some great shows that aren't available any where else – you can even subscribe to a podcast of Coast to Coast AM. For more information go to coasttocoastam.com. Coast to Coast AM uses its own software (called the Coast to Coast AM Podcast Media Center Software) to download podcasts to your computer.