Introduction to Podcasts

December 9, 2005
By Nathan White

What is a Podcast?

Podcasts arrive on home computers and portable digital media players everyday, and the term has now even arrived in the dictionary.

The BBC recently reported that "Podcast" has been selected as the 2005 Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary. According to the BBC, the next online edition of the dictionary will define podcast as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the internet for downloading to a personal audio player."

Some would question whether the New Oxford American Dictionary definition is broad enough in scope, as video bloggers use the term to describe the syndication of video as well as audio content. Technically, any kind of media can be "podcasted."

Accessing Podcasts

There are a variety of ways to access podcasts, whether or not you own a portable digital media player. Most content distributed via podcast feeds can be found directly on the podcasters website, and viewed online or played by a desktop media player. provides a categorized directory of podcasts, including links to both websites and podcast feeds.

Applications such as iTunes can "subscribe" to podcast feeds, and will automatically stay up to date with the freshest content. Such applications also provide features to copy the podcasts to portable devices for on-the-go listening (or viewing). While some podcaster websites provide a button to "subscribe with iTunes," you'll need to locate the feed address if the link isn't functional or you want to use a different application to access the feed.

Subscribing to Podcasts in iTunes

iTunes includes a directory of audio and video podcasts in the music store. Despite being listed in the store, subscribing to podcasts is free. You can also choose the "Subscribe to Podcast..." option under the "Advanced" menu to subscribe to podcasts that aren't in the directory.

The podcast feed address for the Carleton Gulf Coast Relief workers video blog is:

More information and iTunes download is available from Apple on the iTunes - Podcasts page.

Learn More about Podcasting

The following links provide extra information for those that want to learn more:

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