Podcast, Getting Started

What is a Podcast?

Podcasts are everywhere now. People are constantly launching new podcasts, listening to new podcasts, and talking about podcasts. But, you may be wondering, with all this talk of podcasts, "what even is a podcast?" Not to worry, we will break down the basics that you need to know about podcasts below.


What is a podcast?

A podcast is a series of on-demand digital audio files that often focus on a particular topic or theme. Podcasts can be accessed online via a computer, tablet, or smart phone, and downloaded so that they can be listened to at any time. Listeners can consume podcasts in the car, at work, at home, working out, or anywhere they please using headphones or speakers. Also, listeners can be automatically updated of new episodes in a podcast by subscribing to their chosen podcast.

The term podcast is actually a portmanteau of iPod and Broadcast. The “pod” of podcast is borrowed from Apple’s “iPod” digital media player, while the “cast” portion of podcast is taken from the radio term “broadcast.”

It's also important to note that podcasts are generally free to listen to.


What are podcasts usually like?

Podcasts are usually organized as episodes in a series, often times with different seasons within the series. Seasons may vary in topic, time, theme, or format.

There isn't a pre-determined length, frequency, format, style, production level, or anything else though.

Lengths vary from a few minutes to a few hours. Frequency can vary from once every couple months to daily. Some formats include interview, lecture, and segments, which can be hosted by a solo host or multiple hosts.

Some podcasts are not edited at all and are created with minimal equipment, while some are recorded in a professional studio and edited to include advertising and/or sponsorships, music, etc.

Individuals (including musicians, comedians, influencers, actors, experts, athletes, everyday working people, and anyone else), companies, radio networks, TV networks, new podcast-only networks, churches, communities, and any other organization can start a podcast.

What you can generally expect from a podcast is spoken word in a particular format and/or on a specific topic or multiple related topics. There are podcasts for just about anything you are interested in, no matter what the topic is and whether you are looking for pure entertainment, inspiration, education, advice, or something else.


What is the difference between a podcast, a season, and an episode?

Podcasts are often arranged just like a TV show. So, a podcast is the show itself and an episode is an individual audio recording within that podcast. Then, each individual audio recording is organized into a season within that podcast. Seasons often organize episodes by a time sequence or a subtopic.

Basically, the word "podcast" refers to a series of audio files, while a "podcast episode" is one audio file from that series, and a "podcast season" is just the organization of the audio files.


What's the difference between a podcast and a radio broadcast?

There are many similarities between podcasts and radio broadcasts, so to dig deep into the differences between the two, check out our article entitled 5 Differences Between Live Radio Broadcasting and Podcasting.


Are podcasts audio or video?

Podcasts can be audio, video, or both. Many podcasts are just audio, however, many podcasters (those that create a podcast) have started doing video podcasts in addition to audio or instead to add a visual element.


If you are looking to start your own podcast, get started by checking out our organized list of informational podcast articles here. You'll find everything from deciding on whether podcasting is right for you to planning and setting up your podcast to recording and promoting, and everything in between!

If you are looking to listen to podcasts, check out our article entitled How to Listen to a Podcast.

Whatever you are looking for, we are wishing you happy podcasting and happy listening!


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Article Image: PIX1861 via Pixabay.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania