Using the Web to Get Stuff Done: What is a Podcast?

Lesson 14: What is a Podcast?


What is a podcast?


A podcast is an audio program you can listen to on your computer or mobile device. We listen to podcasts about all kinds of stuff in our office: pop culture, current events, architecture, Ancient Roman history, and a lot of other dorky things we'd rather not mention.

One of our favorite things about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere—at your desk, in the car, at the gym. It's like having your own private radio station with only the shows you care about. You can also subscribe to podcasts, which means you'll get the latest episodes without any extra effort. Best of all, podcasts are almost always free.

Finding and downloading podcasts

There are a lot of different ways to find and download podcasts—it really depends on the devices you have and where you want to listen to your podcasts.


One of the simplest ways to get podcasts on your computer is through iTunes. Available for Windows and Mac computers, this free application from Apple lets you search for podcasts and download them to your computer. If you have another Apple mobile device—such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod—you can also sync your podcasts, which allows you to listen to podcasts on the go.

Other podcast apps

The iPod did a lot to help popularize podcasts in the mid-2000s. The term podcast is actually a combination of the words iPod and broadcast, and many people tend to associate podcasts with Apple and the iPod for this reason. But there are many other ways to find and enjoy podcasts even if you don't have an Apple device.

  • If you want to listen to podcasts on your computer, you can stream them in your web browser. For example, National Public Radio (NPR) offers a lot of podcasts on its website. You can also listen to podcasts on other audio sites, like SoundCloud.
  • If you have an Android device, you can use the Stitcher app to find and listen to podcasts.
  • If you have an Apple device, you can use the Podcasts app to find and download podcasts without syncing the device to your computer.

Recommended podcasts

Here are some of our favorite podcasts. We hope you enjoy them too!

For our final recommendation, we've actually embedded the podcast 99% Invisible below. Check it out!