Podcasts: Newspapers of 2005

Through apple.com iPod users can obtain daily web feeds of several radio broadcasts ranging from news to food to spoken dialogue.

Credit: Ben Breier

Call my friends dumb if you want, but none of them have heard of podcasts. If you’re anything like my friends, you haven’t either.

Maybe you’re nothing like my friends, already know about podcasts and even subscribe to one of thousands of radio shows — kudos to you.

The name, podcast, is tricky because you don’t need an iPod to use it. Actually, there has been talk of changing the “pod” in podcast to stand for “personal on-demand.”

However, before we talk about what we need to use podcasts, let’s talk about what they are.

Podcasts are radio programs you can sign up for that are automatically sent to your computer. Think of it as TiVo for radio, except every program is available to listen to at any time.

At first, I thought they were silly and a waste of time and space on my computer. How long does it really take to read an article online, and why do I need a radio program sent to me?

But after getting a podcast sent to me, I realized how much time I was saving. Usually, after searching for an article I wanted to read, I’d get lost in clicks and find myself, a half hour later, at a Web site totally unrelated to what I was looking for. Podcasts have saved me from getting sidetracked in the vast realm of the Internet.

You might be thinking: “Why do I want NPR sent to my computer all the time?”

Well, my friends, it’s not only news radio. There are all types of podcasts, ranging from news to food to spoken dialogue from popular shows, such as “The O.C”— which is hilarious to listen to.

The best thing about podcasts is they are free. There are not many things you can say this about.

What you need and how to get them: The program I use for podcasts is iTunes 4.9, but there are others. If you’re using iTunes, go to the iTunes music store, then choose podcasts and find one you think you’d like. Subscribe to it and then, sha-zam!, you’ll get it sent to you until you un-subscribe from it.

A podcast is like a newspaper for our generation. The newspaper was awesome back in the day because people could take the news with them wherever they wanted and read it whenever they wanted.

Podcasts can be taken wherever you want, via an MP3 player. Plus, if you don’t want to take it anywhere, or don’t have the option of using an MP3 player, just play it on your computer. Also, just like newspaper, a new edition is sent every time it comes out.

You might be thinking: “So, why are podcasts cool?”

Say you don’t have time to read the news; well, it’s like someone reads the news to you. You can be doing whatever you want, from talking online to writing a paper, while the news is being told to you. Now you can be informed of what’s going on in the world or the latest sports scores.

Even if you are skeptical about podcasts, try them anyway. They’re free, so if you think they suck, just delete them. Maybe you’ll find one that interests you.

Contact ALL reporter Erika Kreider at [email protected].