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What Is a Podcast?

Download and listen to podcasts on media devices like the iPod, or media programs like iTunes
It's pretty simple, actually.

Imagine your favorite radio show. Now, imagine that you can hop online, download your favorite radio show to your computer, and listen to it whenever you want. That's a podcast, also known as a netcast.

The nice thing about a podcast, is that you can listen to it anytime, over and over again. You can also store it on your computer, just like digital photos, email, or the family budget.

Even better, is that you can subscribe to podcasts – usually for free. Think of it like a newspaper subscription. Just as your morning paper gets delivered, when you subscribe to a podcast new episodes will automatically download to your computer. All you have to do, is sit back and listen!

No, you don't have to have an iPod

When some people hear the word "podcast", they think you have to have Apple's iPod player or iTunes Music Service to listen to podcasts. You certainly can use one or both of these to listen to netcasts, but you don't have to. Podcasts come in universal formats, usually .mp3, that work with most music services and digital media players.

How do I find podcasts to listen to?

Some great places to start are online podcast directories such as Podcast Alley and Apple iTunes. Many websites and blogs also have podcasts. CHIEF maintains a directory of public safety podcasts: Police Podcasts, Fire Podcasts, EMT Podcasts.

When looking for a podcast on a website or in a podcast directory, the link for the program or subscription usually will be marked with an icon, like one of these:

And lastly, please remember to listen with caution, as some podcasts may contain explicit language.

More info about podcasts
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