Podcasts for you.
Put as simply as possible, a Podcast is an audio file recorded and put on the Internet to be downloaded and listened to on an iPod or other electronic media player. Now that I’ve put it simply, let me tell you how much more there really is to it.
Think of Podcasts as being very similar to talk radio, but about any subject that you can imagine. Personally, I listen to a dozen or so Podcasts on subjects ranging from movies to comic books to science and history. Whatever subject you’re interested in, there’s a podcast or two out there for you. Most of the ones that I listen to are recorded by individuals or small groups of people who have a particular interest in a subject and just want to talk about it. They record their conversation, edit it, maybe add some mood music and then post it on the Internet for anyone to download and listen to. Commercial media outlets are getting into the game too though, many talk radio shows are now posted as Podcasts as well. NPR publishes a large number of their shows online.
Now that I’ve got your interest, let’s get into some details on how to find and listen to some shows. There’s numerous ways to find shows. The first thing to understand is that you don’t need an iPod to listen to a Podcast! All you need to listen to a Podcast is a computer, a web browser and an Internet connection. You can listen to most Podcasts right from their homepage. If you do have an iPod and have iTunes installed on your computer, just go to the iTunes store, click on the Podcasts link and search or browse for something that interests you. You can then download single episodes or subscribe to the show and have iTunes download new episodes automatically as they are released. You can listen to the downloaded shows right in iTunes, or sync them to your iPod to take them on the road.
If you don’t have an iPod, again, don’t worry. Directories like PodCast Alley and Libsyn maintain good directories of available shows. There’s also non-apple podcast clients like Juice that will keep up with your subscriptions like iTunes does. Podcasts are usually just MP3 audio files just like digital songs, so they can be listened to on whatever MP3 player you already have. Just download the episodes and copy them to your player the same way that you transfer music.
Anyone can record and publish a Podcast. I record a regular segment on a show called Two True Freaks with fellow geeks Scott and Chris who regularly talk about Star Wars, Star Trek, Comic Books and a lot more. The cool part is, I live in North Florida, Scott lives in Central Florida and Chris lives in New York and the show is recorded all on a Skype call over the Internet.
Out of the thousands of podcasts that are available, anyone can surely find something worth listening to, so check out a few shows and let me know what you find!
Here’s just a few of the shows that I listen to (warning some of them aren’t kid friendly):
Two True Freaks – Star Wars, Star Trek, Comic Books and a lot more
How Stuff Works – Stuff You Missed in History – A professional podcast by HSW with some great historical insights by Sarah and Katie.
How Stuff Works – Stuff You Should Know – Chuck and Josh talk about…. stuff you should know.
Bad Movie Fiends – Three friends watch a crappy movie and discuss in a lively manner.
The Tome Show – One of the first and best Dungeons & Dragons podcasts.