Using a podcast
For a consumer to make use of a podcast they need to have the appropriate software on their computer, i.e. software to allow them to subscribe to podcast RSS feeds. This software usually shows a list of the items in the podcast feed, and will download and play the appropriate items as required.
Another common feature of podcast software is that it will regularly check the podcast feed for new material. Many of these programs also work in conjunction with portable media players, so that they can be used to copy the podcast on to the media player. A popular piece of software that has these features is Apple's iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/
To view the Everest podcast in an online podcast viewer, visit:
This viewer simulates an Apple iPod, and shows the Everest podcast feed. The 'rss' button at the top allows you to enter other podcast RSS feeds.
Create your own podcast
The first step is to create the MP3 sound file you will use for the podcast. If you already have an application on your computer that you can use to create an MP3 file, then feel free to use this. If you do not have suitable software, then it is possible to find such utilities on the internet; for instance, you can download a demonstration version of a recording program from:
This software can be used for 14 days free of charge, and has a simple user interface.
When you have created your MP3 file, it will need to be uploaded to a web server and the RSS feed generated, so that your podcast becomes available. You could do this manually, by creating the RSS file in a text editing program (following the RSS specification) and then uploading both the MP3 file and the RSS file to the server. However, there are many web 'portals' that allow for a more automated, user friendly and dynamic generation of the podcast feed. One such portal is Rostra.
Rostra - http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/podcasts/
Submissions to Rostra are made using a simple web form. You will need to include a subject, description and a media file (the MP3 file in this case). When an author's story is published it is automatically included in the Rostra's podcast feed. The url for this 'RSS feed' is available from the 'RSS' button on the page.
feed - http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/rostra/rss2.php?r=65
When you have successfully uploaded your own podcast you may like to see the final result by subscribing to the podcast yourself. You can do this by entering the 'RSS feed' url into the podcast viewer described above, or by using your own software e.g. iTunes etc.
Making podcasts more widely available
One way to make your podcast available is to simply have a link on your site that points to the podcast feed, but to improve coverage you can get the podcast listed on various podcast 'directories'. These are frequently used by applications that read podcast feeds, presenting users with an 'A to Z' of available feeds. Having a podcast included in such directories normally involves visiting the associated website and filling in a web form with your podcast's details. Examples of such sites include:
iPodder.org - http://www.ipodder.org/
Podcast.net - http://www.podcast.net/
Podcasting news - http://www.podcastingnews.com/
Further enhancements to mp3 files
A further enhancement can be made to MP3 audio files by the addition of ID3 tags. These tags are used to add metadata such as title, artist, album, track number and even an image directly into the MP3 file. The data from these tags are frequently used by MP3 players, both for displaying the data to the user and using it to organise the files, e.g. by artist, etc. Recording software will sometimes provide a means to add these, and they can also be edited in programs such as iTunes. (Note: the simple recording software mentioned above does not have this facility.)