What Is A Podcast (How They Work & How to Start One)

What Is A Podcast - DemandSage

Podcasting is the new age of radio. You must be really off the technological scene if you are unaware of Podcasts. With around 384 million podcast listeners globally, Podcasting is a trending form of media. Podcasts can be traced back to the year 2000. While podcasts have existed for many years, they are gaining traction now.

If you are wondering what is a podcast, how they work, and how you can start them, this article is for you. I’m covering all the above questions along with additional information. You will be a podcast creator and own podcast by this blog’s end.

Let’s get into it, Fam!

What Is A Podcast?

A podcast is an audio recording made available over the internet for people to listen to. Every unique audio recording is known as a podcast episode. The one who hosts a podcast is referred to as a podcaster. Sometimes, there are other co-hosts as well. A podcast can be of any niche. News and Sports are the most common forms of podcasts. 

Podcast

The above definition is a simple explanation of podcast; in recent times, how people produce and consume podcasts have changed. Podcasts are now a wildly popular form of media that have evolved beyond just being radio shows available for download. Most podcasts nowadays have a series, and the topic of discussion is distributed among episodes to make a season.

A podcast does not have a set format, duration, or tone. Each podcast is unique and covers various topics, but each episode usually focuses on a single subject.

The cultural environment that supports podcasting is known as the podosphere, similar to the blogosphere for Blogs.

I think you will be interested in these exciting Podcast Figures as of 2022. 

What’s the difference between a podcast and an audio file?

The most straightforward explanation is that a podcast episode and an audio file are the same. If you have downloaded a podcast episode from a podcast website, you would have already discovered that you are just downloading an audio file. The difference comes when you add the option to subscribe to that series of audio files.

Podcast vs Audio File

So if you are using podcast hosting platforms to allow people to subscribe to your series of audio recordings, then you have suddenly turned them from simple audio files into a fully functioning podcast. But still, they are just audio files; alongside the subscription, you can call them a podcast too.

If you are using good podcast hosting platforms, the subscription aspect is done for you automatically. Still, you might want to know at least a little about how it works.

To keep it simple: it just runs through a technology called RSS feeds, and it’s just a computer language that lets your podcast software talk to the podcast websites.

So when you use apple podcasts, google podcasts or any other podcast apps, it’ll download the new episodes automatically. Also, it’ll keep track of all your subscribed podcast via each podcast’s RSS feeds. This is much easier than the normal audio files; you would have to search them out on the web and download them yourself.

One main thing to remember is that an audio file is just an audio file, nothing more than that. Unless you upload that audio file to a website and allow it to be subscribed to via an RSS feed, then it’s a podcast. That’s it.

How Do Podcasts Work?

Podcasts, as opposed to TV and radio shows, provide an easy way for podcasters to connect with people. Podcasts are currently unregulated, so you don’t need a broadcasting license to publish them.  Anyone with basic podcasting equipment, such as a microphone, DAW, and a podcast hosting platform subscription, can start their show.

How Do Podcasts Work

Because of sponsorship deals, contextual advertising, memberships, and more, monetizing a podcast has become a way to earn bread and butter for many. Check out this article to learn more about publishing your podcasts online.

The Easy way of Explaining How Podcasts Work Is: 

A host, the podcaster, records a digital audio file using recording equipment. Then the audio file is edited in a daw to remove all the long pauses and unwanted parts. The file is then uploaded to the RSS feed.

The RSS feed acts as a warehouse of podcasts. You can submit this RSS feed to hosting platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts. This makes your podcast available on streaming platforms where people can access it. Every time a new episode is added to the RSS feed, it automatically updates into the platform’s directory.

How Can You Start a Podcast?

It is no rocket science, and I will tell you that. Like I said earlier, anyone with basic recording equipment (even the phone’s mic will do) can record a podcast episode. And as it needs no licensing or other stuff, you don’t need to invest much.

Here is a Quick Guide On How to Start a Podcast

First things first. The checklist for your podcast.

  • Recording Equipment: Now, there is no budget for this. You can use your phone’s built-in microphone, your headset’s mic, or go for the most expensive mic available and everything in between. Choose whatever suits your budget and Go for it!
  • Recording Software: Also known as DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). You will need this software to record the podcast audio and make it clean by editing it. I recommend going for GarageBand on your Apple devices and Audacity for Others. Unlike Garageband, which only runs on Apple devices, Audacity supports all OS like Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Hosting Platform: You need a platform to host your podcasts. Don’t confuse this for streaming platforms; a hosting platform is like a warehouse that stores your recordings, and a streaming platform is like a retail store that lets people access the podcasts.
  • I recommend going for podbean as it is convenient to use and has a free trial. The pricing plans are very economical as well.

Now that you know the checklist, time to explain to you how to start a podcast in a few easy steps.

  1. Plug the Mic into your computer
  2. Launch the DAW and set the audio input channel.
  3. Test the Mic and make sure to cut out any background noise.
  4. Press the record button and start recording. You can pause and continue according to your convenience. Once done, click the Stop button to end the recording.
  5. Edit the recording as per your needs. This means cutting the long pauses, adjusting the pitch, and more.
  6. Export the file (preferably in mp3). If you want, you can choose more options, such as WAV and FLAC.
  7. Upload the audio file to a podcast hosting platform. This will create your RSS feed which you can submit to podcast streaming platforms later. I recommend going for Podbeans.
  8. Submit the RSS feed to popular podcast streaming platforms, on your Podcast websites, and on your social media to attract the audience.

So this is how you start a podcast.

I have also posted a detailed guide on recording a podcast and starting a podcast on Spotify earlier. You can check to understand the above process better.

Types of Podcast

If we are to differentiate podcasts, we can make up hundreds of categories. I’m sharing four podcast types in this space that cover most sub-types. Here are they.

  1. Non-Fiction Narrative Podcasts

It is one of the most popular podcast formats.  This category is typically dominated by reporters who excel at gathering details and insights from their areas of study. These types of podcasts use audio clips from a subject’s interview to share the true stories of others and their own opinions.

  1. Conversational Podcasts

In this podcast, two or more hosts have conversations about specific themes and topics. Co-hosts frequently discuss trending topics and offer insights and other relevant stuff to that topic.

  1. Hybrid Podcasts

This type of podcast has a designated host but frequently has different guest speakers who guest host the show. It usually begins with the host’s remarks, followed by a roundtable discussion, a question and answer session, or a contribution from another source.

  1. Fiction Narrative Podcasts

Fiction podcasts aim to tell interesting stories like a non-fictional narrative, such as a TV series, does. Reading scenes from fictional books or telling a story of fictional characters such as Dracula is an excellent example of this type of podcast.

The theme need not necessarily be mythological or unearthly. Podcasters can even make up a fictional story about a dog and make a podcast out of it.

Why do many people and businesses start podcasts?

Every podcaster has their own “why” many podcasters and businesses start podcasts to:

  • Marketing their services to potential customers
  • Developing a web presence
  • Teach their mastered skills to the people via a podcast app
  • To entertain people
  • Earn money through donations or ads
  • Have fun with themselves and with their friends
  • Promote and sell items through affiliate links

Also, check out how much podcasters earn from their podcast

Conclusion: What Is A Podcast

This is it, guys. This is what podcasts are, and this is how they work. I hope I could clear all the doubts in your mind regarding podcasts. I will keep on creating content around podcasts; if you wish to check my earlier blogs on podcasts, you can do so in the blog section. Happy reading.

FAQs On Podcast

Are podcasts audio or video?

While most podcasts are audio, creators have started recording videos of their podcast recordings. It is also wise to do as video consumption worldwide is increasing immensely.

What is the purpose of a podcast?

A podcast has many purposes. Many listeners listen to podcasts to stay up to date with current happenings. Learn about a new topic, get a different perspective on things, get motivated, and much more. But as the current trend says, Podcasts are mainly consumed for entertainment, with comedy being the top podcast category.

What is the difference between a podcast and a podcast episode?

A podcast is a series of podcast episodes. A podcast episode is a single part of that series.

Are podcasts free?

Yes, the majority of the podcasts are free. Some podcasts are paid and only accessible to membership holders. Some podcasts are partially free and paid. E.g., a specific section of a 30-minute podcast is free to listen to, and if you wish to listen to the whole thing, you need to pay.

What is a podcast RSS feed?

A podcast RSS feed is the podcast’s address. When users subscribe to a podcast’s RSS feed, they get updates as soon as new podcast episodes are released. They can then listen to those episodes on podcast streaming platforms.

Which is the best podcast editing software

I recommend going for Garageband if you are a Mac OS user. Audacity is the best option for people who do not have a Macbook. Audacity works with Mac, Windows, and Linux. 

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