What is a Podcast?
A podcast is an audio file that is distributed over the internet so that lots of people can here it at a time that suits them. Podcasts are listened to using MP3 players or devices like the popular iPod. In fact the word Podcast is a combination of the word iPod and broadcast.
After a slow start, podcasting is now mainstream and organisations like the BBC use podcasting to enable listeners to catch up on radio programs they may have missed.
The difference between podcasting and just downloading an audio file is that a podcast gets announced in such a way that a computer can be made to download new podcasts as and when they become available, automatically. This means that you could automatically receive a podcast, say, of the latest edition of a news program.
To get the latest podcasts you need to subscribe to a podcast feed. This contains information that is picked up by your computer whenever a new podcast is available from the publisher. This process triggers the download of the latest podcast.
The way you subscribe to a podcast feed will depend on what podcasting software you use. Common ones are Doppler, iTunes and Juice.
Podcasting has become ever more popular and new applications are being developed daily. You can for example find podcasts used in schools and universities, in libraries, in the work place especially for training programs.