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Attentive listeners will already be aware that our hugely popular Ask Elvis
feature is now available as a download or podcast (as part of the BBC Download Trial
), so that you can listen to The King’s wisdom on the move, and at a time to suit you.
But our programme inbox shows that many listeners are still confused by the term podcasting, so here’s our quick Website of the Day guide to how to find, download and listen to podcasts.
What is a podcast?
A piece of audio that can be automatically delivered to your computer, for you to listen to at your convenience. It might be a professional radio programme, or an amateur film review – a language lesson, a guide to descaling a kettle, or a daily recipe or limerick. Whatever your interests you’re likely to find a podcast to fit the bill
Do I need an iPod to listen to a podcast?
Absolutely not! You can listen on your computer, or copy the audio file to a blank CD or a whole range of portable devices. iPods are just one such device but many mobile phones can also play podcasts, as can Sony’s popular PSP games console and a massive range of media players from manufacturers including Creative, iRiver, Samsung and many others.
What software do I need?
You will already have software on your PC or Mac which can play a podcast, (Windows Media Player and Real Player can both play downloaded MP3 files) but if you want to receive podcasts automatically, you may need to download additional software to handle the automated downloads (also known as your “podcast subscriptions”).
Apple’s iTunes software is particularly popular because it combines a music player, automated downloads and transfers to iPods (and is itself a free download). There are several alternatives to iTunes for automating your downloads; The most popular of these are called Juice and Doppler. They will be all you need if you only plan to listen on your computer, but if you want to copy your podcasts over to a portable device, you will probably be best off using dedicated software designed for your device.
iTunes remains the most popular option for iPod users… Alternatives include the Zencast Organiser for Creative’s range of portable media players, and Sony’s PSP Media Manager. The latest version of Windows Media Player can also handle transfers to many MP3 players.
How do I sign up to receive a BBC podcast?
You’ll find a full list of available programmes (listed by network) on the BBC Download Trial pages Clicking on a programme name will take you to its own download page. From there click on the yellow PODCAST button for detailed instructions on how to automate the download of your chosen podcast into your podcast software.
Where can I find more information in plain English?
Many of the existing guides to podcasting are aimed at fairly computer-literate readers, which can make them difficult for novices to follow. However, search engine Yahoo! Have put together a simple guide which should clarify the process (and the language used) for many newcomers:
>> Yahoo: What the heck is a podcast?