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Podcast Definition: What is a Podcast?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/11/2011

The simple podcast definition is it is an audio recording of a discussion on a certain topic by an individual or a group, which is downloadable on the Internet. Variations on this definition involve the theme of the podcast, video recordings and the personalities doing them.

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    Simply put, “podcast” refers to a single audio recording or a series of audio recordings about a certain topic or starring an individual or a group of individuals. This podcast definition, however, is constantly being modified because of the ever-changing nature of technology and the medium being used. In its simplest form, a podcast is simply an audio file about a certain topic that can be downloaded on the Internet.

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    What is a Podcast?

    It is an audio file that can be downloaded on the Internet, but it is not just any audio file. Music or audiobooks are also audio files, but they are not podcasts. In order for an audio file to be considered a podcast, it has to involve an individual or a group of people talking about certain topics like TV shows, movies, technology and music. Discussions and opinions in podcasts are similar to those found in radio and TV talk shows where a topic is discussed and opinions are shared.

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    Podcast Series

    Since a podcast centers on a topic or a theme, it is quite natural for an individual or a group of individuals to produce multiple audio recordings on a topic or a theme with varying sub-topics or even guests. Because of this, “podcast” can also refer to a series of audio files on a certain topic or theme. A podcast series can also center around an individual or a group that provides opinions on various topics. These are the two main types of podcast series. Podcasts centering topics and those centering on individuals and groups have sub-types of podcasts such as podcasts about TV shows and podcasts starring radio personalities.

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    Recording and Distribution

    Podcasts are recorded using the usual recording devices like microphones and recording software. In most cases, the recordings are edited to remove unwanted sound bites or to make the podcast smaller in size to make downloading faster and easier. Podcasts are made available via download links on web pages, blogs and podcast subscription services embedded in software like iTunes. Subscribing to podcasts using software involves automatically downloading new episodes of podcast series. Being a downloaded form of media, podcasts can be listened to anywhere you go as long as you have your media player with you. This means you don't need an Internet to listen to podcasts as long as you have already completely downloaded the files.

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    Video Podcasts

    In recent years, podcasts have also involved video files. The same types of discussions and opinion sharing can be found in video podcasts with the main difference of it being, of course, the presentation involves visuals. Graphics to complement the discussions can be used in this type of podcast, giving audiences a clearer view of the topic being discussed. What is a podcast now involves the presentation of discussion and opinions as opposed to the initial podcast definition that only involves the medium being used since more and more podcasts are now being done live and later being available as downloadable media.

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