What is a podcast?

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Why people love podcasts.

Because you have your hands free while listening, a podcast is ideal during activities such as driving, cycling, ironing, running and shopping. Maybe it is also something for you to try? But, be extra careful when driving a vehicle while listening to a podcast. We tell you what a podcast is and how it works.

What is a podcast?

The question “what is podcast?” is asked quite often online. Specifically people from outside the US are asking this question to Google. Here is the answer: A podcast is an audio broadcast in which the sound file is provided on demand through web feeds. Thanks to the introduction of portable MP3 players such as the iPod (latest version iPod Touch 7G 2020), this form of broadcasting quickly became popular among radio amateurs. The term podcast is therefore a combination of iPod and broadcast.


  • History.
  • Technology.
  • Copyrights.
  • Popularity.
  • Video podcast.
  • How to listen.


In 1997, Dave Winer described a way to include references to media files in RSS feeds. At that time, the method was mainly used for web syndication. Podcasts became popular because of (a) the breakthrough of broadband connections among consumers; (b) the advent of portable MP3 players with sufficient storage capacity and (c) the advent of applications for listening on a portable media player or mobile phone.

The term podcasting first surfaced in 2004 when journalist Ben Hammersley described the new broadcasting technique. Dannie J. Gregoire adopted this term, after which Adam Curry popularized podcasting as something revolutionary.


With a podcast, the audio file is provided on demand through web feeds. The web feed contains a reference to the media file. An application that checks this file for changes and can be instructed to automatically download new files is called a podcast aggregator or podcatcher. Often this functionality is integrated into a media player such as iTunes. There are also podcast aggregators for smartphones. Some of these applications also offer their own directory of podcasts to subscribe to. There are also websites with podcast guides.


Legal rules apply to the distribution of copyrighted music. Making music available is only permitted with the consent of the authors.

When the artist does not want to claim his music rights, the music is Podsafe. This is equivalent to a Creative Commons license.


Podcasts gave radio amateurs a new platform with a longer reach. In 2005, podcasts made by hobbyists peaked. The emerging competition from professional radio makers marginalizes the number of active hobbyists.

In the United States, many stations (Serial, Radiolab, This American Life, The Moth) release narrative podcasts.

A podcast is often a program in which one or more experts are interviewed or converse with each other. But a podcast can also contain music, a documentary, or even a fictional story.

Video podcast.

The term podcast is also used for broadcasts or files with video (video podcast, compare VODcast), which are also suitable for listening only. In addition to the possibility to stream or play the video, there is often the possibility to use audio only. Sometimes a podcast presenter will occasionally give a little explanation of what is shown for the benefit of those who only listen to the podcast.

How do you listen to a podcast?

There are several ways to do this. The most convenient way to search and listen to podcasts? Install a special podcast app on your phone.

If you have an iPhone, there is an app called podcasts on your phone. Open it, and press ‘discover’ at the bottom. Then you will see the most popular podcasts, which you can then play immediately.

If you have a phone with Android, you can download the Overcast app. This app works much like the Apple app. The plus at the top right of the screen allows you to search popular podcasts. If you have found a nice broadcast, you can download the podcast or subscribe. Have fun!

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