This is one of the most frequent questions I hear in workshops and seminars: “What’s the difference between a podcast and any old audio on the web?” Very often we see the words “audio” and “podcast” used interchangeably. Someone may put an audio clip on their site and call it a podcast.

Technically, they’re wrong.

Hey, I’m in favour of employing the power of the human voice to communicate wherever possible, but I think it’s important to understand the terminology we’re using, right?

Here’s the way I like to define a podcast:

An audio podcast is a sound file that is published online as part of a series, and has a feed that listeners can subscribe to.

The key words are:

  • part  of a series (not just one sound clip)
  • feed

Many podcasters offer an RSS feed, a link to their podcast on iTunes, a direct download of an MP3 file, and a player so people can listen now or listen later.

(Of course video podcasts also exist, but I’m talking about audio here.)

What do you think? How would you define a podcast?


  1. I’m sure your definition is correct, but I’ve always thought of podcasts as (because the majority of them involve chat and/or music) essentially radio broadcasts that are recorded and can thus be listened to whenever someone wants..

  2. Jim, I would say that podcasts CAN be like radio broadcasts that you can listen to whenever you want. However, to be a true podcast, there must be a way to subscribe. If I just put several “recordings” on my website, they are not true podcasts.

    Happy listening!


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