For the uninitiated, and I think there are very few, podcast is a blend of the words “pod””” an acronym for “Playable On Demand”””and “broadcasting”. That’s how Wikipedia defines it. Yes, the word in itself has nothing to do with the success of the iPod, though the iconic player had a lot of hand in its success.
Beyond the word, podcasts have a lot of usefulness”¦from mobile education to personal development; from daily digest of news to tutorials. Websites offer it as another form of social communication via feed subscriptions. Then there are the more single window sources, like podcast directories. Here are five where you can download podcasts for free:
Podcast Alley usually comes up tops in a Google podcast search. It is a large podcast directory with nearly 90,000 podcasts and 6,000,000 episodes. Access genres with a dropdown which cover everything from arts to TV & Film. You can subscribe to podcasts directly from here or go to the individual websites. You can click to even listen to the podcasts online if you don’t want to clutter your podcatcher. Podcast Alley also gives you some select feeds you can subscribe to like Podcast Alley Top 10 Podcasts or Podcast Alley Podcast Interviews.
Looking at the domain name, these guys probably had first dibs at setting up a directory and they have done a nice job of it with nearly 85,000 podcasts. You can go by Channels on the site (Strangely, the search bar on top does a general search). I prefer trying out what’s recommended first and usually discover something really worth listening to. Then there are the video podcasts too across a range of categories. Some content is explicit. To each his own, but for me it’s usually the news podcasts or the stand-up comedy routines if it’s a black day. You can subscribe or play them online. You can create a free account and create playlists of your favorite episodes.
This is a cool collection of serialized audiobooks which you can subscribe to using with RSS. You can choose to subscribe, listen online, or download the episodes. The site is completely free, but you can voluntarily send in some donations to help keep the site running. Unlike a lot of other sites, the audiobooks are all legal downloads because they come with author permissions and fall under the Creative Commons license (though sharing is a no-no). You have 9558 episodes in 496 titles to choose from. Some books may be incomplete, but you can filter them out with an option in the search. You can also customize the feed to receive chapters at specific intervals like once a month, or once a day if you need to. Some books are also tagged as “Family Friendly” or “For Kids”.
Podfeed is a podcast directory with a relatively small collection of 16000+ podcasts and 2783515 episodes. With a sign-up, you can also submit your own podcasts. To listen to and share podcasts, you can create and customize the site’s podcast feed (myPODFEED) to your liking. There’s a lot of variety in the categories the directory covers. The Education category for instance, is helpful if you want to learn a language like Spanish or even English. Another category that’s worth a look is that of Storytelling with its collection of nearly 500 podcasts. You can download the podcasts as MP3 files or subscribe to them via RSS.
Tech Podcasts is all about technology and geeky topics with the help of free podcasts. You have shows like TheSocialGeeks (on social media), Dr. Bill: The Computer Curmudgeon (tech tips and news), MacMost (about Mac), and more. Sprinkled in between these audio presentations are videocasts like Dr. Bill.TV which looks at the wacky world of computers.
If you like all that’s tech, do visit the cool podcasts mentioned here ““
The ease with which one can make and spread a podcast makes this a powerful medium for the listener as well as the maker. That also perhaps explains the sheer variety of podcasts that we find at our fingertips. If you are looking for more resources, also check our previous look at the . From that list, some have fallen by the wayside, but more have taken their place.
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?
Image Credit: Shutterstock