What is Podcasting:

Podcasting is a new way of distributing audio broadcasts using the Internet. Using this method, people can subscribe to a variety of content in a certain file format (usually as MP3s). These files are then downloaded to a PC or a portable media player and can then be listened to at any convenient time. Podcasting is a new word that combines “broadcasting” and “iPod”.

A definite distinction of podcasting from other media delivery methods online is its subscription component – which basically defines the whole podcasting experience. Podcasters usually use a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or Atom feed to push their content to subscribers. It also allows independent producers and “broadcasters” to create and self-publish their own syndicated “radio shows” – whether it be talk radio, poetry readings or even comedy shows. Podcasting also gives traditional radio programs another distribution method for their shows – one that is not confined to the airwaves and available on demand. All that a listener needs to get the podcasts is “podcatching” software that is designed to check for and download new content at a given time. Other podcatching software are even designed to synchronize the downloaded files to the listener’s portable digital player.

It is a common misconception that a listener needs an iPod or a portable digital music player in order to listen to podcasts. Any digital player or computer (provided it has software that could play audio files) can be used. Another term that is used alternatively with podcasting is “blogcasting”, but this word is limited to only refer to recordings that are more akin to blogs than actual “radio” content.