What is a Podcast?

What is a Podcast?

Podcast ImageLast January, I announced to my family and friends that I was starting a podcast.  I was greeted with a lot of excitement and encouragement, especially from my husband and parents (who are always supportive of me), but in the end my Mom couldn’t quite wrap her mind around what a podcast is.  The truth is, I really didn’t understand them either until I started listening to podcasts.

Podcasts are similar in some ways to talk radio, but instead of listening at a certain time on a certain station, you can listen to the exact show you want to listen to whenever you want to hear it. You can pause the show, fast forward the show and rewind the show.  You can even listen to the show again.  There are interview only shows, teaching shows, entertaining shows and even shows hosted by kids.

Is there a relationship between Podcasts and the Radio?

My adorable Mom kept asking me lots of questions… Does this radio host have a podcast?  Does that radio host have a podcast?  Will you be on the radio?  The answer is, while some radio hosts re-purpose or replay their radio content and use it for a podcast (Dave Ramsey is a shining example), not all do.  I am assuming some podcast shows will catch the attention of some bright radio producer who will start broadcasting them, however, I do not personally know of any (leave a comment if you do).

Podcasts are to Radio as Netflix is to Cable.  It is on demand content and it is the future.  (Click to Tweet.)

How can you listen to Podcasts?

Podcasts can be hosted on a website where anyone visiting the site can play it and listen from their computer, tablet or smartphone.  They also can be distributed via an RSS feed which is then listed in podcast directories.  The two biggest directories right now are iTunes and Stitcher Radio.  Most people download an app on their smartphone to listen.  Itunes and Stitcher have apps, but there are others available for both apple, android and windows devices (just search for podcast in your app store).

It is exciting that new podcasts are being released every day. There are podcasts on Business, Technology, Yoga, Autism, Ballet, Education, Pets, Public Speaking, Spirituality, Parenting and more. Just search for the topic you are interested in and you are likely to find it.

Stitcher is making it easier to listen in cars by integrating with the vehicles entertainment system and is currently featured in GM  Ford, BMW, MINI, Mercedes and Mazda models and in 2014 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

Apple’s Carplay which is currently featured in certain 2014 Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles allows you to integrate apps (like the Podcast app) into your vehicle’s onboard entertainment system. Other manufacturers which plan to release CarPlay enabled vehicles in the future are: BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.  Also, Alpine and Pioneer are offer after market upgrades to current systems that support CarPlay.

This is great news for Podcasters and bad news for radio stations.

Appple Carplay Image

Image Source: Washington Post


Don’t Feel Bad Mom

Mobile Phone from What is a Podcast? - BizChix.com

I don’t want my Mom to feel bad for initially not understanding what a podcast is. Digital Trends reported (Dec 2013) that only 25% of Internet users listen to podcasts. At the same time, those that are listening still represent a lot of people worldwide. Apple announced in July 2013 that iTunes had their 1Billionth download.  Let’s look at all those zeroes – 1,000,000,000. That is a lot of people listening to a lot of podcasts.

The marketer in me can’t help but notice the fact that only 25% of people are currently listening to podcasts. That represents a huge growth potential for podcasts and podcasters. In January, I attended New Media Expo, a conference that brings together those in the blogging, podcasting and web TV industries. A number of speakers declared 2014 to be the year of the niche podcast.  That means that we are going to see more and more podcasts focusing on very specific subjects. There is going to be something for everyone!

Great News for Consumers

What I love about podcasts is that I can listen to the content I want, when I want it and at my own pace. I do not have to listen to sports breaks or news breaks or traffic breaks. A few podcasters are monetizing their podcasts by offering sponsors time on their shows, but these are kept very brief from 15 seconds to a minute in length.

What I love about podcasts is that I can listen to the content I want, when I want it and at my own pace. (Click to Tweet.)


Mom Gets it NowWoman with headset from Mobile Phone from What is a Podcast? - BizChix.com

The only way I could get my Mom to fully understand podcasting, was to download a few podcasts for her. I grabbed her iPhone, powered up the Podcast App (free from iTunes) and downloaded a few of my favorites shows and a few others I thought she might enjoy.

I showed her that she can just download a single podcast episode she was interested in or subscribe to a podcast to automatically get the latest podcast from that host downloaded as soon as they were released.  Different shows have different release schedules chosen by the host and can range from once a month (or even less) to daily.

I know that whether or not she ends up getting addicted to podcasts like me, there is one podcast she is not going to miss…Mine!

What are your favorite Podcasts?


  1. Thanks for the helpful article Natalie. I’ll share it with my followers on social. I started my new podcast, Heartsong Fit, in March, and many of my friends have had confusion about what a podcast is and how to find it! I only had two family members who could find my podcast and subscribe to it on their own without coaching. Yet, it is so easy to do! Podcasts are not yet reaching their fullest potential. I think they are about to explode in use.

    I’ve been addicted to podcasts since 2007 when I started listening to podcasts about podcasting! I listen to a variety now – your show, Entrepreneur on Fire, Oh So Pinteresting, Edge of the Web Radio, FitPro Inferno, Smart Digestion Radio, Social Media Social Hour, Learning With Leslie, Smart Passive Income, The Feed, Social Media Marketing, Team Beachbody Podcast.

    Best wishes for great continued success with your show. Vickie Maris

  2. Hi Vicki!

    Thanks so much for your comment. I think the first step is to get more people listening to podcasts. Then for our own shows we have to educate family and friends them on why leaving a rating and review is important (it helps us move up in the rankings on iTunes and Stitcher so more people can find us).

    While it just takes a few minutes to leave a rating and review, it is not intuitive.

    Loved learning what you are listening to. I see a few new shows for me to try!

    Happy Podcasting ~Natalie

  3. Roseanne Cook

    Hi Natalie,

    I am such a fan of podcasts!! Yours, of course, are my favorites. I use to be a fan of talk radio. I have given up talk radio for podcasts. I cannot tolerate a four minute commercial in between one and a half minutes of show content on radio channels. I am now a podcast junkie! I have learned so much from your guests. You have a way of getting your Biz Chix and Cool Dudes to speak from their hearts about their businesses. FABULOUS! I can’t wait to listen and learn from your next podcast!

  4. Hi Roseanne (a.k.a Mom)~

    Is this your first blog comment? Thanks for letting me share a bit about our family conversations. I love how you are always open to learning new things and I am glad you have become a fan of podcasts.

    Your support means the world. And Mom, you don’t have to listen to every episode, but I am sure glad that you do.


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