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New To Podcast Listening – Start Here

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Podcast About The Podcast #2: (Note to regular listeners – this was not sent via podcast because it deals with issues for listeners new to podcasting.) I had such great feedback after doing my first Podcast About The Podcast that I have decided to keep doing them. Over the last few weeks, I have been involved in consulting and production of new podcasts. These podcasts are aimed primarily at listeners who are not already familiar with podcast technology. In doing this, we found many people enjoyed the new shows but struggled with figuring out all the new terms and most importantly, what subscribing meant and how to go about doing it. Today we take a step back and cover – what is a podcast and how to get your computer set up to automatically receive new editions of your favorite shows.

Direct download: Podcast About The Podcast 2 (10:54min 7.5MB)
Podcast


The following pictures and information are meant to supplement the information in the podcast. I am working with the assumption you have listened to it. If not – listen here.

What is podcasting?

Podcasting is a new technology allowing a listener to subscribe to Internet style radio shows. The shows are received free of charge. Using podcasting client software users automatically receive new shows as they are published. The listener controls the means of subscription and can turn subscriptions on and off at any time. The shows are podcast in traditional mp3 format and are not platform or device dependant. If you can play mp3s you’re ready to get started with podcasts.

Let’s get started.

As mentioned in the podcast, the magic of podcasting is the ability to “tune” into your favorite shows via subscription so that you automatically receive new shows as they are produced. Don’t let the word “subscription” scare you, there is no cost involved, it merely means you are subscribed to the “feed” so that new shows are automatically delivered to your computer. Many podcast clients make it really easy allowing you to subscribe to shows via a directory. However, with so many new shows popping up, sometimes the directories are a bit behind. We’ll cover how to subscribe with and without the use of a directory.

We’ll follow along with a simple 5-step outline I worked up a few months ago. This will work for any podcast. For sake of example we’ll use Reel Reviews.

1. Download iPodder or iPodderX.
2. Install on your system.
3. Add our podcast feed.
4. Automatically receive new Reel Reviews.
5. Enjoy Reel Reviews.

As simple as that sounds, it still assumes you know a little about podcasting. Let’s break it down further.

Step #1. Download iPodder or iPodderX.

Download a podcast receiving client. This is the software that runs on your computer to automatically retrieve the podcasts you have subscribed to. There are many choices and more appear all the time. The two that have been around since the very beginning are also the two I happen to recommend most.

For Mac users I recommend iPodderX
For Windows users I recommend iPodder
There is software available for other platforms – just run a search.

Step #2. Install on your system.

Self explanatory, just follow installation instructions.

Step #3. Add our podcast feed.

Find podcasts you enjoy and would like to subscribe to. Let’s assume you have found my podcast, Reel Reviews, and would like to subscribe to the show.

Each podcaster will have a “feed” associated with their podcast. The feed is actually a rss 2.0 file. Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry – you don’t need to. The software that retrieves podcasts for you knows what to do with it.

Usually somewhere on the homepage there will be a place listing the feeds. Sometimes it will be a little white on orange button that says “XML” or in the case of my page two little buttons. Here one says “podcast” the other “RSS 2.0″ – either will work. These buttons, when clicked, take you to the page with the “feed” needed for your software.

Feeds

If you click on one of those feed buttons it will open a new browser window. At first you may think your computer has exploded as the browser window will be filled with all kinds of technical looking text. That is just the raw RSS 2.0 file. Ignore it. What we do care about is the web address (URL) in the browser address bar. This is the URL of the feed that we need to subscribe to the podcast. In this case it is “http://reelreviewsradio.com/wp-rss2.php”. Another common format ends in “rss.xml”

RSS 2.0 feed

Now that we have the feed URL, let’s load it into the podcast client. First we’ll look at how to do it in iPodderX.

iPodderX

Click the Add button.

iPodderX add

Copy and paste in the URL of the feed and click the “Add Feed” button. Done! It is that simple.

iPodderX Subscribe

You can also add shows via the directory. Use the directory controls to find the show you want to subscribe to and click on the little green “+” button.

iPodderX directory

Either way you add the subscription, next just click on the “Check Now” button to load the most recent podcast from that feed. In iPodderX you can even play the podcast from within the app by clicking on the “Drawer” which will slide out the player controls.

iPodderX Drawer

Now lets see how to do the same thing using iPodder.

iPodder

Just as before, copy and paste in the URL of the feed and click the “Add” button. Done! It is that simple.

iPodder Add

iPodder also has a directory system. It is modeled after a standard Windows folder system where you can click on the folder to display the contents. Click on the “Select feeds from the podcast directory” button, find the feed you want and click “Add selected feed”.

iPodder directory

Once you are subscribed to the feeds you want, click the “Check for new podcasts” button. Just as with iPodderX, you can set numerous custom preferences.

iPodder podcasts

Step #4. Automatically receive new Reel Reviews.

Now that you are subscribed, all the podcast clients allow you to set, via preferences, how often to check the feed, where the file is stored when downloaded and whether or not to sync it with your mp3 playing software. Your computer will now automatically check for and retrieve new podcast shows in the background. When you want to listen to podcasts, just check to see which new shows you have received.

Step #5. Enjoy Reel Reviews.

This is the best part. Unlike the radio model, which is essentially appointment listening, where you can only listen to the show if your schedule matches that of the broadcaster. Podcasting puts you in total control. After receiving the new shows via podcast, you can burn them to CD or play them directly on your computer, phone or mobile device. Whether sitting at you computer, out for a walk, at the gym or on you daily commute, you never have to miss a podcast. You now decide when, where and how you are going to listen to the show. Welcome to the world of podcasting!

Part of the excitement surrounding podcasting is that there is virturally no barrier to entry. With a mic and a computer you can start podcasting. As a result, there are thousands of “independent voices” creating now shows available to listen to via podcast technology. Want to start your own? It is fun and easy – check out this first Podcast About The Podcast.

UPDATE

Thanks to Mike Corley who developed the awesome Kill Bill header we had up in December for passing along a Doppler how to. You can get his detailed instructions here. Thanks Mike.

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9 Responses to “New To Podcast Listening – Start Here”


  1. Gravatar Icon 1 MikeC Jan 23rd, 2005 at 9:32 pm

    Hey! I hadn’t checked the actual site in a while but I hadn’t seen anything new so I came to see what was up and I just had to post because I had just because earlier this week I put up a how-to on the same thing (great minds think alike, right?) except mine is for setting up Doppler on a Windows machine. So incase anyone here is on a Windows machine you can check it out if you want here

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Michael Jan 24th, 2005 at 8:36 am

    MikeC, thanks for the link. I have it up in the update.

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 aard Jan 27th, 2005 at 6:36 pm

    Awesome but how do I get the podcast to automatically sync with my ipod?

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Michael Jan 27th, 2005 at 7:03 pm

    Aard,

    I’m using a Mac and here is how I do it. I use IPodderX. Under preferences I check the option to automatically move audio files to iTunes. In the “podcast settings” window (double click on of the feeds you are subscribed to) I set a custom genre of “podcast”. This will change the genre setting of every new downloaded podcast to “podcast”. In iTunes I set up a Smart Playlist with the following rules: genre = podcast and playcount = 0. This way the playlist is made up of podcasts that I have listened to i.e. new podcasts. When the iPod is connected you can right click on it iTunes and select iPod options. Then check yes for “Automatically update the selected playlists only” and check the box for whatever you named your Smart Playlist. Hope this helps.

  5. Gravatar Icon 5 Graham Cooper Jan 29th, 2005 at 7:43 am

    Hi Michael,
    It’s your podcasts that have inspired me to create my own show for guitar players . Yours a great show – thanks. I can record my show – no problem as i have been using Logic etc on Mac for years – so the production side is a cinch for me.
    My problem is distribution. I know that guys like you with ‘blogs’ have a facility to create an rss or xml file that points to the mp3 on a server. This becomes the url for say, ipodderx. What about guys like me who want to podcast without using blogging tools and just suppy a link from a normal web-site. I use my .mac site and would like to know what the key would be to creating the link to my mp3 file.
    I have been digging around the web and experimenting but just can;t get it to work – any poknters would be really appreciated.

  6. Gravatar Icon 6 Michael Jan 29th, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    Graham,

    Dot Mac allows you to set up a basic site. I’d try to set up a quick about the podcast page and then also put up a .xml page and list it there. You can build the xml manually or there are a couple of tools available if you search the net. You basically enter the name, size and location and it will output the xml file. Another option is to use feedster. I am pretty sure they have a tool for someone whose site does not automatically generate a feed.

    Either way, having at least a page explaining who you are and what the podcast is about will be helpful. People generally want to read about the podcast before committing to a subscription. Hope this helps.

  7. Gravatar Icon 7 Chris Jan 31st, 2005 at 1:14 pm

    Mike,

    This podcasting concept is intriging and inspiring to me. I work for an organization that may try podcasting for content dispersing and marketing purposes. I am COMPLETELY new with podcasting. I have bought a Mic for my IBook G4 and have already downloaded IpodderX to familiarize myself with that. Need to put together a sample podcast for our team and then post it somewhere so our team can practically understand podcasting and “capture the vision” of how we may use it. How would I post a podcast on our organization’s website or do you know of another website directory that I can post on that is not a well known one just to refer our team to to view? If I do the podcast directly to our website I will need some fairly specific instructions. This is just all new to me! I appreciate your help.

    Your fellow future podcaster:

    Chris

  1. 1 The iPodder Documentation Project » Blog Archive » Reel Review - Podcast about the podcast 2 pingback on Jan 24th, 2005 at 9:05 am
  2. 2 Podhub.net - Podcast resources for the masses. » Blog Archive » Podcatching Tutorials pingback on Sep 4th, 2005 at 1:37 pm
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