How to Subscribe to Podcasts on the Internet

By John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young

Podcasts are audio magazines that deliver MP3 files of talk or music directly to your computer via the internet. The word is a combination of iPod and broadcast, but you don’t need an iPod to listen to them — any computer or MP3 player will do. Radio programs, companies, musicians, comedians, and just plain people produce podcasts about a huge variety of different subjects, everything from “The Twilight Saga” to the stock market.

Video podcasts are the same idea, but you receive video rather than audio files.

Subscribing to podcasts on the web

Several websites provide directories of podcasts, including LearnOutLoud’s directory and Podcastdirectory.com. They enable you to find podcasts by topic, subscribe to them, and listen to them from the website.

Or, go to the website of the program you want to subscribe to. National Public Radio originates dozens of podcasts. Here are a few good ones:

Subscribing to podcasts with iTunes

To subscribe to a podcast, click the iTunes Store link in iTunes and then click the Podcasts link. When you find a podcast that looks interesting, you can click an episode to listen to it on the spot or click the Subscribe button to receive all future episodes automatically. Most podcasts are free, and iTunes downloads the latest episodes every time you start the program.