Related topics: iTunes and iPod | iPod Resources

What is a PodCast?

Podcasts are like radio shows that are available for download over the Internet. The term "podcast" is a play on the word "broadcast." The maker of a podcast, called a podcaster, often updates his/her podcast with a series of episodes that you can subscribe to through an "RSS (really simple syndication) feed." You can listen to podcasts on your computer (with a free program like iTunes) or you can transfer them to your portable digital music player (such as an iPod). For more about the iPod, visit my iPod resource page. Download iTunes here. It is an important distinction that podcasts are downloaded, not streamed, to your computer. You can listen to a podcast any time, whether connected to the Internet or not, either on your computer or your iPod.

I. Easy

a. Listen to a Single PodCast
Use iTunes to browse for and listen to a single PodCast. Apple's iTunes podcasting page lists lots of (mostly) free podcasts.

b. Subscribe to a Series of Podcasts

When you subscribe to a podcast, future episodes will be downloaded automatically as they become available. Past episodes can be downloaded if you choose.

Watch this movie to see how to subscribe to a Podcast using iTunes.

II. Intermediate: Become a Podcaster

a. Record it

The following are a variety of tools that can be used for Podcast recording. Choosing the right tool depends a lot on your needs, budget, and platform. For the basic podcasts, we recommend Audacity because it is free, cross platform, fairly easy to use, and creates standard MP3s.

Podcast Creation Tools
Source Podcast Type Windows Macintosh
Comes with OS Audio

Sound Recorder

Garage Band


Windows Movie Maker



Windows Media File Editor

Garage Band

Free Audio

Audacity and LAME



Commercial Audio

Quick Time Pro



Snapz Pro X | Camtasia
Enhanced ProfCast coming soon!


Other Audio



Elluminate ?

Enhanced   Podcast Producer

A decent USB microphone such as Logitech's or Sennheiser's (approx. $50) is highly recommended for making good quality audio recordings with a minimum of background noise. One could also record live audio direct to iPod using a Griffin iTalkPro or equivalent. This is a very inexpensive option with good portability. For recording of live events, MediaSite is a high end solution. If you don't have that kind of money, you can do it yourself for quite a bit less.

There are 3 types of podcast: audio only (standard), enhanced (slides with voiceover), and vodcast (audio and video). Cost and difficulty increase significantly as you capture more and as you increase production quality and add audience interaction. Recordings can be live or scripted, and can be raw or edited for quality.

Podcast Type Audio only Enhanced (Slides with voiceover) Full Video "vodcast"
Complexity Low Intermediate High
Difficulty Easy Intermediate Challenging
Cost Cheap Moderate Expensive
Post-Production None Minor Cleanup Significant editing
Recording Live (Raw) or In Studio In Studio (scripted) Live (Raw) or In Studio
Interaction Optional None Optional

III. Advanced: Host a Podcast

Put your audio files on a web server someplace, such as your JAN or DANA public_html folder, for example. The most compatible format is MP3. Here's an audio sample in MP3 and M4A formats. (Right-click on the links to download these sample files.) You can also just drop either of these file types directly into iTunes and play them or copy them to your iPod.

a. Host It (the easiest way)

NAU uses Apple's iTunesU service, so there's a simple way to take your podcast and put it up where others can get to it. Currently, itunes.nau.edu has only a private side, where courses live. Someday, there will also be a public side where university marketing materials are made available.

b. Host It (the second easiest way)

Put your files in NAU's Bb Vista system for your students to download and play.

c. Host It (the hard but universal way)

If you create an RSS feed, people can "subscribe" so that your future Podcasts will be downloaded automatically. Here's a tool I found to generate the XML for you. Copy and save the generated XML code with a .xml extension in your HTML Editor and link to the file from your web page. For subsequent podcasts, just copy and paste the code between the <item> tags and put the newest item at the top. Here is the feed.xml file (right-click to download).

If you have access to an iTunesU site, this part of the process becomes much easier.

4) Publicize it:

Go to iTunes Music Store page for submitting podcasts [Note: this link opens iTunes] to the iTunes directory and submit your Podcast RSS Feed URL. You can also other services like Feedburner.

5) Subscribe to it:

To get future podcasts on this topic automatically, you need to subscribe. Copy the link to the RSS Feed and then, in iTunes, choose Advanced/Subscribe to Podcast... and paste the copied URL into the box. Now iTunes will automatically download your podcasts as you create new ones.

6) Start Aggregating:

If you like RSS, you can use a feed aggregator to put feeds you like on a web page. For example, Sage is an extension for the Firefox web browser that aggregates feeds. Or you could use Feed2JS to embed an RSS feed into your web page or Vista course.



Additional Resources:

Apple's recent Podcasting FAQ covers basic questions about the new iTunes podcast features, including what to do with enhanced podcasts and how to email podcast URLs. It gives only a brief nod to creating and troubleshooting podcasts, but other Apple resources help to fill those gaps:

More about Podcasts

Blog your podcast

You might want to publish your podcasts with a blogging tool like Blogger (free and easy), TypePad, or MovableType.

Juice is a cross-platform podcatcher program.


This Wired article tells people in easy terms how to listen to podcasts and how to create their own podcasts:

Article on podcasts of classic (copyright free) books:

Recent article on podcasting from Carnegie Mellon University


Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. (Audacity site)
You will also need the "LAME" plug-in

Larry's tutorial: http://www2.nau.edu/lrm22/technology/macosx/podcasting/podcasting.htm

A section from "Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software(Digital Short Cut)"


CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs) (CamStudio Site)






For some Video Tutorials
For turorials, manuals, downloads and troubleshooting options


For some Video Tutorials

Podcast Producer

Podcast Producer is a complete, end-to-end solution for encoding, publishing, and distributing high-quality podcasts. Ideal for employee training, university lectures, presentations — or whatever audio or video podcasts your organization requires — Podcast Producer simplifies the process of recording content, encoding, and publishing podcasts for playback in iTunes and on iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV. http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/features/podcasts.html


ProfCast is a versatile, powerful, yet very simple to use tool for recording presentations including PowerPoint and/or Keynote slides for creating enhanced podcasts. ProfCast provides a low cost solution for recording and distributing lectures, special events, and presentations as podcasts. ProfCast offers an integrated workflow that makes creating, recording, and publishing podcasts easy. It's as simple as Launch, Load, and Lecture! (ProfCast Site)

QuickTime Pro

Watch movies on iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV? Save your favorite movie trailers on your computer to watch over and over again? Create compelling slideshows—complete with a soundtrack? Record video and share it with friends and family? (QuickTime Pro site)

Snapz Pro X

Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime® movie or screenshot that can be emailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want. (Snapz Pro X site)

Sound Recorder

You can use Sound Recorder to record, mix, play, and edit sounds. You can also link sounds to or insert sounds into a document. (Sound Recorder site)



Windows Media File Editor

To create enhanced podcasts

Windows Movie Maker