An RSS feed icon, commonly used to indicate the Web feed for a podcast

A podcast (or non-streamed webcast) is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common use with the success of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.

The mode of delivery differentiates podcasting from other means of accessing media files over the Internet, such as direct download link, or streamed webcasting. A list of all the audio or video files currently associated with a given series is maintained centrally on the distributor's server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer employs special client application software known as a podcatcher that can access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically. Files are stored locally on the user's computer or other device ready for offline use, giving simple and convenient access to episodic content.[1][2] Commonly used audio file formats are Ogg Vorbis and MP3.

As discussed by Richard Berry, podcasting is both a converged medium bringing together audio, the web and portable media player, and a disruptive technology that has caused some in the radio business to reconsider some established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production and distribution.[3] This idea of disruptiveness is largely because no one person owns the technology; it is free to listen and create content, which departs from the traditional model of 'gate-kept' media and production tools.[4] It is very much a horizontal media form: producers are consumers and consumers become producers and engage in conversations with each other.[5]

Academics at the Community, Journalism & Communication Research group at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA are proposing a four-part definition of a podcast: A podcast is a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software.[6]



The term "podcasting" was first mentioned by Ben Hammersley in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2004 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium.[7][8] It is a portmanteau of the words "pod"— from Apple's iPod —and "broadcasting".[9] The name may be misleading, as despite the etymology, it has never been necessary to use an iPod, or, indeed, any other form of portable media player, to use podcasts; the content can be accessed using any computer that can play media files.[10] Use of the term "podcast" predates the addition of native support for podcasting to the iPod, or to Apple's iTunes software.[11] To avoid a term suggestive of "iPod", some use the term netcast instead of podcast, such as the TWiT.tv podcaster Leo Laporte[12] (though the older[13][14][15] term is also used in the broader sense of any internet-delivered realtime media transmission).


Podcasting began to catch hold with the public in late 2004, though during the 1998 – 2001 dot-com era there were multiple "podcasts".[citation needed] Many individuals and groups including Dawn and Drew of The Dawn and Drew Show, Kris and Betsy Smith of Croncast and Dan Klass of The Bitterest Pill contributed to the early emergence and popularity of podcasts.[16] Adam Curry, VJ, is credited with coming up with the idea to automate the delivery and syncing of textual content to portable audio players[17] . The first application to make this process feasible was iPodderX, developed by August Trometer and Ray Slakinski. Since the 1930s there have been radio talk shows and news programs. Today, through the evolution of the internet capabilities, along with cheaper hardware and software, audio podcasts are doing what was historically done through radio broadcast stations.[18]

In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 with native support for podcasts. While this made receiving podcasts more convenient, it effectively ended advancement of the podcast medium by independent developers. To add to the cooling factor, Apple issued Cease and Desist orders to many podcast application developers and service providers for using the term "iPod" or "Pod" in the name of their product.

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Trademark applications

February 10, 2005, Shae Spencer Management LLC of Fairport, New York filed a trademark application to register podcast for an "online prerecorded radio program over the internet". On September 9, 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application, citing Wikipedia's podcast entry as describing the history of the term. The company amended their application in March 2006, but the USPTO rejected the amended application as not sufficiently differentiated from the original. In November 2006, the application was marked as abandoned.[19]

As of September 20, 2005, known trademarks that attempted to capitalize on podcast include: GodCast, Podcast Realty, GuidePod, Pod-Casting, MyPod, Podvertiser, Podango, ePodcast, PodCabin, Podcaster, PodcastPeople, PodShop, PodKitchen, Podgram, GodPod and Podcast.[20] By February 2007, there had been 24 attempts to register trademarks containing the word "PODCAST" in United States, but only "PODCAST READY" from Podcast Ready, Inc. was approved.[21]

Apple trademark protections

On September 26, 2006, it was reported that Apple started to crack down on businesses using the acronym "POD", in product and company names. Apple sent a cease and desist letter that week to Podcast Ready, Inc., which markets an application known as "myPodder".[22] Lawyers for Apple contended that the term "pod" has been used by the public to refer to Apple's music player so extensively that it falls under Apple's trademark cover.[23] It was speculated that such activity was part of a bigger campaign for Apple to expand the scope of its existing iPod trademark, which included trademarking "IPODCAST", "IPOD", and "POD".[24] On November 16, 2006, the Apple Trademark Department stated that Apple does not object to third party usage of "the generic term" "podcast" to refer to podcasting services and that Apple does not license the term. However, no statement was made whether Apple believes they hold rights to it.[25]

Community podcast

A community podcast is a collaborative podcast set up to support multiple contributors podcasting through generally simplified processes, and without having to host their own individual feeds. A community podcast also refers to podcasts that allow members of the community (related to the podcast topic) to contribute to the podcast in many different ways. This method was first used for a series of podcasts hosted by the Regional Educational Technology Center at Fordham University in 2005.


Phonecasting is a portmanteau of telephone and podcasting, and simply means recording and listening to podcasts with a phone. Traditionally, podcasters would require a microphone and recording software to create their programming. Phonecasting replaces the microphone with a phone. The recording software is replaced by the recording service and a dial in number to call and record to. Podcast audiences simply dial up podcast shows on demand from their phone. Phonecast recordings are often saved directly to a website phonecast channel, so listeners can use a computer web browser or subscribe via a provided RSS feed to download/listen to new episodes.

See also


  1. ^ "Podcast Production". President and Fellows of Harvard College. http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k1967&pageid=icb.page23750. Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  2. ^ "Oxford University Press | Podcast". Oup.com. http://www.us.oup.com/us/brochure/NOAD_podcast/. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  3. ^ Berry, R. (2006). Will the ipod kill the radio star? Profiling podcasting as radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 12(2), 144. doi:10.1177/1354856506066522
  4. ^ Berry, R. (2006). Will the ipod kill the radio star? Profiling podcasting as radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 12(2), 145-146. doi:10.1177/1354856506066522
  5. ^ Berry, R. (2006). Will the ipod kill the radio star? Profiling podcasting as radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 12(2), 146. doi:10.1177/1354856506066522
  6. ^ Gil de Zúñiga, H., Veenstra, A., Vraga, E., and Shah, D. (2010) 'Digital Democracy: Reimagining Pathways to Political Participation', Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 7: 1, 36 - 51
  7. ^ Ben Hammersley: "Audible revolution", The Guardian, 12 February 2004.
  8. ^ Berry, R. (2006). Will the ipod kill the radio star? Profiling podcasting as radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 12(2), 143. doi:10.1177/1354856506066522
  9. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary; Podcast". OED.com. http://www.oed.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/search?searchType=dictionary&q=podcast&_searchBtn=Search. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  10. ^ "What is PodCasting?". PCReview.co.uk. 2005-06-09. http://www.pcreview.co.uk/articles/Internet/What_is_PodCasting?/. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  11. ^ "Apple adds podcasting to iTunes". afterdawn.com. 2006-06-30. http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/6584.cfm. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  12. ^ "A Cast By Any Other Name...". TWiT.tv. 2006-09-22. http://www.twit.tv/2006/09/22/a_cast_by_any_other_name. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  13. ^ Whois record for netcast.com, created 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  14. ^ Whois record for netcast.net, created 2003-10-18. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  15. ^ Whois record for netcast.co.uk, created 2001-06-11. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  16. ^ Heffernan, Virginia. "The Podcast as a New Podium", "The New York Times", July 25, 2005, accessed March 1, 2011.
  17. ^ Miller, Martin (23 May 2006). "‘Podfather’ plots a radio hit of his own". LA Times. http://pressroom.mevio.com/2006/05/23/podfather-plots-a-radio-hit-of-his-own-la-times/. 
  18. ^ Green, Max (02 Oct 2010). "‘History Of Podcasting’ The Importance of Podcasting In New Media". http://justapodcast.com/article-the-importance-of-podcasting-in-new-media.html. 
  19. ^ "Podcast trademark rejection". USPTO. 2006-01-06. http://tmportal.uspto.gov/external/portal/tow?SRCH=Y&isSubmitted=true&details=&SELECT=US+Serial+No&TEXT=78564869#. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  20. ^ Podcast Trademark Gold {PTG} Rush
  21. ^ "List of US podcast trademarks". Tess2.uspto.gov. http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=ebk0n.1.1&p_search=searchss&p_L=50&BackReference=&p_plural=yes&p_s_PARA1=&p_tagrepl%7E%3A=PARA1%24LD&expr=PARA1+AND+PARA2&p_s_PARA2=podcast&p_tagrepl%7E%3A=PARA2%24COMB&p_op_ALL=AND&a_default=search&a_search=Submit+Query&a_search=Submit+Query. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  22. ^ "Podcast Ready Cease and Desist". Podcast Ready<!. http://www.podcastready.com/info.php?section=8&page=41. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  23. ^ Shaun Nichols in California. "Apple cracks down on use of the word 'pod'". Vnunet.com. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2164984/apple-goes-pod-makers. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  24. ^ Podcast Trademark Controversy [Updated]
  25. ^ Apple letter.

External links

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  • podcast — pod‧cast [ˈpɒdkɑːst ǁ ˈpɑːdkæst] noun [countable] COMPUTING a radio or television program that can be downloadEd from the Internet and played on a computer or MP3 player: • You can download podcasts of the Today Programme from the BBC Website.… …   Financial and business terms

  • podcast — 2004, n. and v., from pod , from iPod, brand of portable media player, + second element abstracted from BROADCAST (Cf. broadcast). Related: Podcasting …   Etymology dictionary

  • podcast — |pòdecáste| s. m. Arquivo áudio ou multimédia que pode ser descarregado da Internet e lido no computador ou em dispositivo próprio.   ‣ Etimologia: palavra inglesa …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • podcast — a digital recording made available by a broadcaster for downloading on the Internet, is one of the more symbolic terms of the modern age of telecommunications. It is derived from the proprietary name iPod, a make of personal audio player now… …   Modern English usage

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  • Podcast — VP Streaming video or audio that is regularly scheduled in a similar way as a radio or television broadcast. PodB/P A multimedia file (audio or video) that is part of a feed. An author can publish podcasts on a regular schedule and when the… …   Audio and video glossary

  • podcast — UK [ˈpɒdˌkɑːst] / US [ˈpɑdˌkæst] noun [countable] Word forms podcast : singular podcast plural podcasts a multimedia file, such as a radio programme or music video, that can be downloaded from the Internet and played on an ipod or similar piece… …   English dictionary

  • podcast — {{#}}{{LM P46461}}{{〓}} {{[}}podcast{{]}} {{■}}(ing.){{□}} {{《}}▍ s.m.{{》}} Archivo de audio, que se transmite a través de internet, en el que una o varias personas hablan sobre algún tema: • Me he bajado un podcast sobre tecnología.{{○}}… …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

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