If you are already familiar with podcasting and know how to download and listen you could jump to part II – a list of some wonderful podcasts available for free download. Most of these twenty odd podcasts are in ‘Talk’, ‘Documentary’, or ‘Interview’ format and are mostly informative, incisive, inclusive, and international.

Part I: So what is a Podcast and where do I begin?
A simple way to look at this is in reference to a radio. Imagine that BBC decides to take a feature program that it has already broadcast on the traditional radio and decides to make it available on the internet for you and me to download and listen. It could as well be a music group wanting to sample its music online, or it could even be you wanting to share some audio content trough the web.

Technically this has been happening for many years now but it never became very popular because it used to be a bother to regularly check back with all your favorite sites for new episodes and then sit around and watch the episode download.

On-demand radio has now reached the next generation. A software (mostly free to download) that resides on your PC can automatically download each new episode from your favorite sites, of course you need to first list your favorites. Once the episode is on your computer you can listen to it when ever you choose to. Perhaps, even wherever you choose to, if you have a portable digital media player like an iPod or something. You could also burn a CD and listen to it in a MP3 CD player in your car for instance.

If you are just beginning, and I assume that is the reason why you are reading this part of the article, then I’d suggest that you keep it simple for now. Download a free copy of iTunes, install it on your computer, pick one or two of the podcasts from the list below (part II) and add it to iTunes: (Menu > Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast) when the dialog box opens past the URI of the RSS feed (NOT the website address), click OK. [click the images below to enlarge]

From here on you can explore other podcasts, either at the iTunes’ Music Store or elsewhere on the web. BTW, iTunes is not the only software for this purpose, there are many more, some even open source.

Part II: A totally idiosyncratic list of Podcasts
This is a list of my favorites – most of them are out of the US or UK but have a certain global world view -– a world exists outside the US borders. I haven’t found a podacst out of India that I like. If you know one do let me know. Thanks.

Name of the station/source followed by the URI of the RSS feed, followed by the web site address.



NPR: On The Media from NPR/WNYC:
RSS Feed: http://www.onthemedia.org/index.xml

BBC: In Business:
RSS Feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rmhttp/downloadtrial/radio4/inbusiness/rss.xml
Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/inbusiness/index.shtml

Business Week: BusinessWeek - Cover Stories:
RSS Feed: http://www.businessweek.com/search/podcasts/cover_stories.rss
Website: http://www.businessweek.com/search/podcasting.htm


BBC: The World: Technology from BBC/PRI/WGBH:
RSS Feed: http://www.theworld.org/rss/tech.xml
Website: http://www.theworld.org/technology/index.shtml

Independent: this WEEK in TECH:
RSS Feed: http://leo.am/podcasts/twit
Website: http://thisweekintech.com/

Discovery: Science Channel Features:
RSS Feed: http://www.discovery.com/radio/xml/sciencechannel.xml
Website: http://www.discovery.com/radio/podcasts.html

NPR: Science Friday - Making Science Radioactive:
RSS Feed: http://www.sciencefriday.com/audio/scifriaudio.xml
Website: http://www.sciencefriday.com/

NPR: Technology:
RSS Feed: http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=1019
Website: http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1019

ABC Radio : All in the Mind:
RSS Feed: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/feeds/mind.xml
Website: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/default.htm

NPR: KUOW 94.9 The Works with John Moe:
RSS Feed: http://www.kuow.org/podcasts/works/works.asp


NPR: A Way with Words
RSS Feed: http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510028
Website: http://www.kpbs.org/words/

BBC: Documentary Archive:
RSS Feed: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rmhttp/downloadtrial/worldservice/documentaryarchive/rss.xml
Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedfactory/feedfinder.shtml

NPR: Books:
RSS Feed: http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=1032
Website: http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1032

NPR: WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show: Please Explain:

History of Podcasting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Podcasting
iTunes: Download a free copy of iTunes
Podcast Software: http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html
Podcast Directory: http://www.podcast.net/

First published on April 30, 2006