What is a Podcast?

OK, let me take a stab here. Being over 50, you probably have very little or no idea what a podcast is? That’s OK, you are not alone but you will laugh when I explain how simple they are!

In its most simple form, a podcast is the internet’s version of talk radio, with the main advanatge such as being able to listen on your own time rather than being forced to tune in at a certain day and time. And you can listen to what you want. Think of how good that is – what you want and when you want!

Each podcast will typically be a collection or series of audio files  – I guess similar to songs that you may have in your itunes library or music library on your computer. Each series will revolve around a theme or subject. For example, technology or basketball. Listen to one episode, or subscribe and listen to each episode as it is released. The other cool thing is if you miss an episode you can listen to it whenever you want.

Now for the history lesson – the name podcast comes from the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. But don’t think for a minute that podcasts are limited to Apple devices. If your device can play music, then it will more than likely play podcasts. Android, iOs, Windows, Mac all play podcasts.

Podcasting has only been popular in the public eye not too many years , but the technology has only recently shifted from early adopters to the rest of us. People are finding a lot of ways to use these recordings, many of which should get you thinking about how you (or your company) can begin using podcasts right away for profit and promotion. Here are some of the different methods employed by political, educational and corporate entities experimenting with the medium today:

NEWS and MEDIA: Podcasting is a way for news organizations to distribute audio or video that compliments their existing text news for a minimum additional cost. For example, Wikinews began to podcast its News Briefs in 2005. Companies are also using podcasts as a way to distribute their multimedia news to journalists and consumers. Companies can now leverage this same medium in much the same way that news organizations do, by publicizing your product or service on your company website as an additional download. Newspapers use podcasts to brodcast audio content from print interviews and drive traffic to their websites. The San Franciso Chronicle is believed to be the first major daily newspaper to start podcasting using an external website in Feb 2005. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post was the first to use its own website and the first in Asia, having launched on April 19, 2005.

EDUCATION: Schools are now using podcasts as an educational tool. Some school districts are experimenting with podcast lessons to help teach foreign languages via audio revision and homework. In 2005, a communication studies course at the University of Western Australia used student-created podcasts as the main assessment criteria. Professors are also using podcasts as part of their academic work. The Society of Critical Care Medicine has a podcast used to update clinicians with summaries of important articles, as well as interviews.

POLITICS: Both political parties and their candidates in the United States are experimenting with podcasts as a way to inform people about their perspectives on important topics. Podcasts are available for download from their websites and provide a way for candidates to deliver, in their own words, their opinions as well as to go in to more detail in describing the motivations behind some of their positions.

RELIGION: Religion. Godcasting, the word some use to describe podcasts dealing with religion, has lately been used by many religious groups as another way of spreading their message. Many churches produce podcasts of talks and sermons, which are then uploaded to their church or temple’s website and available for download.

ART: Unofficial audio tours of museums are availabe for download from art enthusiasts and museum afficionados. Official cultural or historic audio tours of cities are also a new way that some cities are using to try and lure visitors. You can find these on the official web pages of cities as well as via most search engines.

ENTERTAINMENT: Producers, writers and directors for popular TV shows have embraced podcasting as a way to create more content that will hopefully help drive viewership to their programs. For exmaple, Battlestar Galactica writer and executive producer Ronald Moore creates commentary podcasts for each new episode of Battlestar Galactica. Other television shows have since followed suit, like Family Guy (FOX).

SPORTS. In 2005, unofficial podcasts for major sports teams launched, providing fans both in and outside of the teams’ direct broadcast areas with on-demand commentary. Pioneers include Cubscast, the podcasters for the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The Cubscast founders also formed the first city-specific sports podcast network, hosting one podcast for each major Chicago sports team.

BUSINESS: Podcasts are an effective tool for organizing conference and meeting alerts, since podcasts can be packaged to alert attendees to agendas, hosted roundtables and daily feedback. They are also an effective tool CEOs can use to communicate with their employees or to share news about the company on the local intranet.

LIRBRARIES: Public libraries can podcast local publications free of Copyright, offering spoken word alternatives to the visually impaired. Not only are more people able to access these podcasts, but the educational value for enabling new technologies offers a whole new multimedia library that will be even easier to maintain.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: The Chicago Police Department has a free video podcast of its half-hour weekly news magazine called “CrimeWatch,” which airs on local TV. It documents community policing (CAPS) success stories.

Soooo, what app do you use to listen to podcasts? There are plenty, but my shortlist is:


Podcast Addict

Free on Android

I must admit my choice of podcast apps as there are a lot of options for sorting and organising. It just works.


The Podcast App

Free on iOS

A good and very popular app for iOS. Very easy to use.



Free on iOS • Free on Android

Spotify is known for music, but they also have a curated podcast selection.

They have recently opened up the podcast side of things which makes it a good all round app.


Pocket Casts

Free on iOS • Free on Android

Pocket Casts is an awesome app for people who listen to a lot of different podcasts. It has a great interface, light/dark themes, useful search and filtering options, and a lot more.

A useful tool is their sync option that lets you pick up where you left off on another device.


What app do you prefer? Leave a comment below.


Podcasts are a great way to relax and/or learn – and when you want. In a future post I will share the podcasts that I have subscribed to.