Podcast Directory Help: How to Subscribe to Podcasts

Podcasts have made it very easy for people to download music and audio files listen to it at wherever they are, and through whatever medium’s most convenient for them. And with thousands of podcasts available on the Internet, often for free, fans can get their “fix” on just about any topic under the sun. There are music files from popular artists or the so called “indie movement” which you’d otherwise have difficulty finding in mainstream stores. There are news programs and exclusive interviews that give you information-on-the-go. There are even highly specialized podcasts that focus on health concerns (like diabetes), parenting, gambling, wicca. Name a topic, any topic, and there’s a podcast that’ll deliver information on it straight to your inbox.

Getting podcasts automatically

You will need to subscribe to a podcast, by using software such as the very popular iTunes, Juice and Doppler. The advantage of these programs is that they’re free, and can do the job of identifying, and downloading, new episodes of the podcasts that you’re interested in. They’re like digital DJ’s, or your friendly librarian who knows where everything is and (as an added bonus) delivers the products to your bedside table every day. Just tell the software which podcasts you’re interested in, and it’ll do the rest for you. It’ll get the most recent episode, and automatically sign you up to get all future episodes. You can also comb through the archive and get whatever episodes you’ve missed.

Finding the software for you

Each podcast software has its own way of finding and downloading information. You will need to look at the instructions and judge from there whether or not its interface feels “right” for you. However, once its installed, most software are practically idiot-proof. You just have to click the “Get” button (or its equivalent) to subscribe to new podcast. The software will also list the podcasts that you’ve already joined, so when you’re bored and scrolling for something to listen to, you’ll see what’s literally ready for you at your fingertips.

Different softwares also vary in the scope of the search. For example, the iTunes podcasting tools limits its search to the iTunes Podcast Directory. While the library contains more than enough music than you’d be able to listen to in one lifetime, there may be some who are looking for audio files that aren’t there—perhaps a travel guide to the Honduras, or information on collecting vintage Barbie dolls. In that case, you can drag the URL of the podcast into the playlist, or type the URL into “Subscribe to Podcast” under the Advanced Menu.

Feeds and how they work

What's the point of these steps? You give the 'feed' of the podcast to your software, which means that you notify it of the website address which it should regularly visit in order to check for a new episode.

Most podcasting sites are also designed to make downloading very easy. You will usually find an XML or Podcast button (labeled 'add' or 'subscribe') which you can click, or you can get the feed address on the address bar of your internet browser. You can copy and past that address into your software. In our own podcast directory you will see after the title of each podcast. This symbol represents the link to the podcast's feed.

Listen to the audio or watch the video

When a new episode becomes available for the podcast you have subscribed to, your software will automatically download it. For audio, you can then listen to this episode on your computer or transfer it to your portable player to listen to later. Note that for video, the episode should play on your computer but will only play on certain portable players and mobile phones (the video is in mp4 format). Please check with the manufacturer of your device.

You may want to check the settings of your podcast software for details including how often it will check for new episodes, whether it will keep old episodes for you etc. This will vary depending on the software you have chosen, and your personal preferences.