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Podcasts

Podcast logoPodcasting Overview

Despite the use of the word "pod", podcasts aren't just for the iPod. A podcast is an audio file that can be automatically downloaded by a variety of podcast receivers via the use of RSS. These receiver programs read data from an RSS file that provides them with a link to the audio file, as well as a title and description for each entry. When you subscribe to a podcast through your receiver program, it will search for new entries and automatically download the files for later listening.

How do I listen to podcasts?

Install software that recognizes RSS feeds and downloads the content onto a portable mp3 player. Click here for more instructions.

Listen to them with an online podcast directory - no software necessary

University of Oregon podcasts

How do I create my own podcast?

Creating a podcast with a blog and a UO account

To do this, you will need a freely available blog such as TypePad, Wordpress, or Blogger

  1. Using any audio-recording software such as Audacity and a microphone, record your voice. Click here for a more detailed tutorial on recording audio.
  2. Cut the mistakes out, and consider adding sound clips or an introduction to give your show a personal sound.
  3. Save the audio as an MP3 file.
  4. If you have a uoregon.edu account, use any FTP client to connect to your web space with the following settings
    • Host: uoregon.edu
    • User: [ uoregon e-mail address minus "@uoregon.edu" ]
    • Password: your e-mail password
    • Port: 21
  5. Upload the MP3 file to any directory inside the directory titled "public_html"
  6. Post a new entry on your blog with a link to the newly uploaded MP3 file. The file will be located at:
    http://www.uoregon.edu/~your_user_name/your_file.mp3
  7. With FeedBurner, you can enter the URL of your blog and it will automatically find the link to your MP3 and create an RSS feed that people can subscribe to.

Mac users

If you have recently purchased your computer, chances are you have the included software GarageBand. This program makes podcasting easy for mac users. Click here for a video walk-through and tutorial from Apple. On their site, they suggest using iWeb and a .mac account for publishing your podcast. Alternatively, you can follow steps 2-6 above to get your audio online.

Creating a free podcast with ODEO Studio

You may not have a web site, you don't want to download any special software, you just want to publish your voice online for free. A useful tool is available at ODEO Studio.

The upsides: it's quick and painless, and the site is well-designed. You can upload your own audio files or tell ODEO where they already reside online.
The downsides: if listeners download your podcast to their portable players, a quick ad for ODEO will play at the beginning. Also, the quality you get from the web or phone based recording is minimal.

  1. Create a free account
  2. Their browser-based audio recording program allows you to record from your microphone straight onto the web. Additionally, you can record from your phone by calling a number.
  3. ODEO will provide you with a link to the RSS feed where people can subscribe to your podcast, and a link to a page where all your entries can be viewed.

Podcasting terminology

  • XML
    Stands for eXtensible Markup Language. XML is a flexible way to create structured information used to form webpages or computer programs.
  • RSS
    Stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is one of the many applications of XML. With RSS, an aggregator reads information from the web to retrieve information about podcasts.
  • RSS aggregator
    Also known as a newsreader, news aggregator, or podcast catcher. Some newsreaders exist as stand-alone programs and others operate as extensions of web browsers or e-mail programs; still others are available online so feeds can be read independently of the computer used to collect them.
  • Feed
    A feed contains links that reference audio files as well as their descriptions. It is a type of XML file containing the raw code that is interpreted by an aggregator.
  • Blog
    Short for Weblog. A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public viewing.
  • Channel
    A channel is a web site that presents regularly updated audio or video files that allows you to subscribe with an aggregator.
  • MP3
    MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is a standard audio format that allows for a small file size and CD-quality audio.