What is a Podcast?

At its most basic, a podcast is simply a series of recorded programmes - like radio programmes, usually features or a discussions - which are converted to the MP3 format and placed on the Internet so that anyone can listen to them. The series has an overall name: this is the podcast itself, and the individual programmes are usually referred to as episodes.

In order to make the podcast readily available, it is accompanied by a file, in a special format known as XML, listing the episodes with notes about them. This file is used by various programmes who can use it to find the podcast and download episodes: this can be done automatically in the background so that new episodes come to you automatically.

One of the online facilities for doing this is Feedburner: this can list the episodes on web page or transfer the information to a program you may have, such as NetNewswire. The 'feed', as it's known, for my podcast at Feedburner is at http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSoundOf78s: you can play episodes from the web page version of this.

The Apple Music Store also provides the same facility, hosting the information (though not the actual recordings) so that you can subscribe to a podcast using Apple's iTunes program: again, this enables you to download individual episodes or subscribe to the entire series. (There is no charge for this.)

The link for my podcast at the Apple Store is:
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=166389425 (iTunes required).

The version of my podcast on the Apple Store is 'enhanced', which means that it also has small pictures to illustrate the programme: this facility works in iTunes and in some (but not all) browsers: I have posted a web page for each episode (links on the 'Podcast page') containing a plain audio version, and also having a link to a page with an enhanced version.

Posted by Roger Wilmut  13th July, 09:32 am

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