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You probably already know that ‘The Codpast’ started life as a monthly podcast before growing into the comprehensive, multi-media blog that it is today.

Although we get some great letters, comments and feedback about our podcast, when I’m out and about, I sometimes meet people who don’t know what podcasts are, or who would love to listen, but don’t quite know how to access them. For those of you who still haven’t experienced the wonderful world of podcasting, we’ve created this short guide to set you on your way.

Podcasts – the Basics

If you’re still not sure what podcasts are, simply put, they are radio shows that are broadcast, or are available to stream or download over the Internet. What differentiates them from traditional radio shows, is that because you don’t need to be a giant broadcasting company to produce them, you’ll find podcasts in genres and on subjects that would never make it to mainstream radio. So if you’re into the latest fashion gossip, there’s a podcast for you, if you’re into up-to-the-minute news on all things techy, there’s a podcast for you, and if you’re into a compelling monthly podcast that brings you some of the most interesting dyslexic stories around, and is full of help and advice for the adult dyslexic, there’s a show for that… ahem…The Codpast.

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, you’ve been missing out on a wonderful world of free audio content, which can be a godsend for anyone that struggles with reading, but still wants to stay up to date on news and the latest information.

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How do I listen to podcasts?

 There are three main ways to listen to podcasts:

  1. Live streaming (listening live while the show is broadcast over the Internet)
  1. Streaming (listening to a pre-recorded show while connect to the Internet)
  1. Downloading (Downloading podcasts to your phone or computer and listening later without need of an Internet connection). This is great for travel on the tube/subway or planes.

Where can I find them?

 There are three main ways to get hold of podcasts.

  1. Websites:

Most podcast producers have their own website, from which you can stream or download their podcasts. You can usually also subscribe to a mailing list so that you are informed when new content is available.

  1. Audio hosting sites:

 Audio hosting sites are the audio equivalent of video sites like YouTube and Vimeo. They are great places to search for and discover new shows. Not all audio hosting sites exclusively host podcasts, many are also used by musicians, DJs, comedians, lecturers—basically anyone that wants to host audio online. This can make searching specifically for podcasts a little difficult.

  • Soundcloud
  • Mixcloud
  • AudioBoom
  1. Using a Podcatcher (an app that gathers podcast content from around the net):

In my opinion a podcatcher is the best way to consume podcasts. Podcatcher apps live on your phone, tablet or computer and allow you to search for, discover, subscribe to and download podcasts. A good podcatcher will also give you added features like the ability to listen at x1.5 and x2 speed, which allows you to absorb information quickly. Podcatchers can also automatically download shows as soon as they are uploaded. Most podcast fans will be familiar with that wonderful feeling, where you wake up in the morning, and see a little red notification that your phone has downloaded the latest episode of your favourite podcast.

There are loads of podcatchers out there, but these are some of our favs.

BBC iRadio Player – iOS/Android (UK Only)

iplayer RadioThe BBC iPlayer Radio app is not quite a podcatcher in the traditional sense, as only BBC content is download’ or searchable. Even so, within the walled garden of BBC content, you’ll find a wealth of quality audio programming across all genres.

iTunes (Mac/PC) – Free

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Apple were early champions of podcasting, so it’s not surprising that their support for the format is pretty comprehensive. iTunes may not be the most user-friendly application but its provision for search, discovery and subscription means that it’s definitely one to consider.

The Apple Podcasts App (iOS) – Free

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This app gives you all the power of the iTunes desktop app (above) but with a much more user-friendly interface. It also gives you the ability to listen to podcasts at multiple speeds and has the addition of sleep timers; this is especially useful if you like to listen to podcasts in bed.

Pocketcast – iOS/Android – Paid

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This is a great option for Android users. If you are an iOS user, this is one to consider as it gives Apple’s built-in app a run for its money. There is not much to separate it from the Apple app, it’s pretty much on par for usability and functionality. However, a nice touch to this app is the summery page which gives you an overview of your podcast listening activity; this is a must for a podcast junkie like myself. The fact that it is a cross platform app means that you can sync your podcast listening to all of your devices even if you have a mixture of OSs.

So, now you know how to find, listen to, stream and download podcasts. You might want to take a look at a list of our favourite shows to get you started on your journey into audio heaven.

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The Codpast is a multimedia production from www.extraordinaire.tv