Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Podcasts 101 - How to Subcribe and Listen to Podcasts in iTunes

I listen to podcasts on a daily basis and they have pretty much replaced talk radio for me. The ability to listen to shows on specific topics that you are interested in is amazing.  There are podcasts on finance, technology, sports teams, TV shows, movies, sciences, humor - just about anything you can think of. Most of them are free, as well!

I find that when I mention in conversation that I heard something on a podcast, I get a blank stare most of the time.  Simply put, podcasts are audio and in some cases video shows which are posted with an RSS subcription feed, so that you automatically get the new episodes as they become available.

Podcasts have yet to completely hit the mainstream, even though programs such as iTunes make it easy to find, subscribe to and listen to them.  There are audio-only podcasts, as well as video podcasts.  I prefer audio for use in the car, where its probably better not to have the distraction of video.  Here's a quick guide to get started:

1. Open iTunes and click on "iTunes Store" in the left navigation panel:

2.  Choose "Podcasts" from the top navigation bar of the iTunes Store:

3.  Look through the huge catalog of available podcasts, and click on one which interests you.  You can also search if there is something specific you are looking for.  In this example, I selected "Diggnation".  You can click on episodes and listen to them streaming to get a feel for the podcast.  If it is something you think you would like ot listen to on a regular basis, choose "Subscribe Free" to subcribe to the podcast:

4.  Click "Subcribe" to confirm your subsciption:

5.  iTunes will now start downloading episodes of the podcast you chose:

6.  That's it - you are subscribed to a podcast!  You will find your podcasts listed under the "Podcasts" section in you iTunes Library, and can begin listening right from iTunes. 

7.  If you want to sync your podcasts to a device, connect the device and click on it in iTunes:

8. Click "Podcasts" in the top navigation bar:

9.  Check the "Sync Podcasts" checkbox:

10.  Now choose any options you would like - you can select which podcasts to sync, how many to sync, etc.  I find that the "10 Most Recent Unplayed" is a good setting - this keeps podcasts on your device until you have listened to them all the way through.

Please post any questions in the Comments section below, and enjoy the world of podcasts!  I'll follow up soon with some suggested podcasts to subscribe to.

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