What Is A Podcast? And How Do You Tune In?

By Jan 29, 2013September 17th, 201317 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you trying to figure out what is a podcast? Or maybe you’ve heard of our Power Down movement and are wondering how to get connected.

Whatever the reason, this post will give you the background you need to better understand what is a podcast, how to tune in, and why it is worth your time!

What Is A Podcast?

Take one part iPod and one part broadcast radio, mix them together, and what do you have? A podcast!

So, what is a podcast?

Simply put, a podcast is any type of digital media. Most podcasts are auditory, most easily compared to talk radio shows, but podcasts can contain image files and even video.

If this is all news to you, or sounds only vaguely familiar, you’re not alone: apparently, as many as 60% of people avoid podcasts because they’re not sure how to access them or what they are. Tapping into the world of entertainment, inspiration, and education available through podcasts really is as simple as we make it sound.

what is a podcast

If you’re game, we’ll have you understanding what is a podcast and listening to compelling podcasts in just five easy steps.


Step 1: Determine Your Listening Device

In other words, you’ll need an mp3 player or computer. Nearly all podcasts are consumed through iPods of some sort–iPods, iPod Touches, iPads, or iPhones–but any brand of mp3 player will suffice. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to stream your podcast experience instead of download it, you can listen right on your desktop computer, laptop, or iPad…anywhere you run iTunes.

Step 2: Find Great Podcast Content On iTunes

Start by opening iTunes and navigating to Store—->Podcasts. That’s it! You’ll see all new and featured podcasts on the opening page, or can navigate through a selection of categories by accessing the drop down menu on the right-hand side. The iTunes podcast page will also showcase the day’s top 10 podcasts, just as it does oh-so conveniently for top songs on its music pages.

Start surfing around, and one thing will become very clear: there a a kazillion podcasts! And just like with music, ebooks, and blogs, the selection ranges from great to cringeworthy.

How do you know where to begin?

  • Word of mouth: If you share a lot of interests with your Twitter followers, ask there. You’ll get a plethora of suggestions within minutes. (Maybe even within seconds, depending upon how popular you are or how bored your Twitter friends.)
  • Blog recommendations: What podcasts do your favorite bloggers listen to? This is the part where I tell you to listen to The SITS Girls’ very own Power Down Podcast, authored by bloggers Heather King and Amy Whitley.
  • Google: Yes, Google is still our friend. When I find a new interest, I immediately google the interest + podcast, and see what comes up. Since I’m a major TV junkie, I’ve been googling ‘The Walking Dead + podcast’ and ‘Downton Abbey + podcast’.

Step 3: Subscribe or Stream

Once you’ve selected a podcast on iTunes, you can click play and listen to it right there at your computer. However, podcasts were born to be free, so you’ll probably want to download your selections to your mp3 player of choice. When trying out new podcasts, click on that tempting ‘free’ button and download just the first episode. You don’t want any surprises. Once you know you are truly in love with your new podcast, click ‘subscribe’ so ensure new episodes automatically stream into your device.

Step 4: Where Did It Go?

New episodes of each podcast you subscribe to or download individually will automatically be stored in the podcast area of your music library. You can then access it on your iPhone or iPod through the music app, or you can do what I did: download the free podcast app. The podcast app stores all your subscriptions in one place, so all I need to do is click on one app to find all my favorites. It also shows me how many new (not yet listened to) episodes I have of each podcast, and gives me the option of listening to top stations (streaming) in all categories.

Step 5: Listen and Be Inspired

Podcasts are like blogs: they’re created by people passionate about their favorite subject matters. Some podcasts are highly professional, backed by sponsors and featuring sleek graphics and impressive guest stars. Others, not so much.

Should you decide a podcast is not for you, you can unsubscribe at any time. Podcasts are the ultimate no-risk, high-reward ‘purchase’, and the ultimate in grassroots, homespun entertainment. They have enriched my daily walks and jogs for years, and I won’t take a road trip without one.

More On What Is a Podcast

Figuring out what is a podcast is easy. The best place to start is with our very own Power Down podcast. Check out these links to learn more:

  • Power Down Podcast: Learn more about our podcast. It’s perfect for those looking for balance and more creative energy
  • Power Down on iTunes: Download the link to Power Down directly from iTunes.
  • Free Podcast: Get the inside scoop on how Power Down came to be from one of the women behind this grand idea.

Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 of our what is a podcast series when we cover the best podcasts for bloggers and busy moms!


  • Fredrick says:

    Normally I do not learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to
    try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thank you, quite nice post.

  • I subscribe to a couple national ones, but I’ve never tried out a homegrown podcast. I’ve always wanted to try to make one of my own. Eager to listen to the SITS podcast!

  • Great blog post on podcasting. I have a podcast on Blogtalkradio, and I would be interested in finding out other options. I would be interested in knowing what kinds of sources allow you to podcast: such as BlogTalkRadio, TalkShoe etc. Are there any free pocasting resources? Etc.

  • Charlotte says:

    This is great (and thanks, all, for the recommendations!) I’ve listed to a few yoga/meditation podcasts, but find I really have to be in the mood to listen to them. I would love to check out some of these blogging/social media podcasts though. Definitely something interesting to listen to on the commute!

  • My hubby is more of the podcast listener, especially when it comes to sports. Thank you for this great post!

  • shan walker says:

    Thank you so much for this thorough explanation! Well written.

    The How to Guru

  • luci gabel says:

    I have been a podcast fan for a long time. It’s SO nice to catch up on shows and news when you’re driving or walking, or even exercising with a headset! I wish more written material could be listened to.

    That being said, I would LOVE a post on how to MAKE a podcast. I want to turn my videos into podcasts but have no idea where to start. I-tunes is a big cloud of mystery to me when it comes to putting my own stuff in there.

  • Tanya says:

    Thanks, Ive been wondering how to join in on one and listen.

  • I love podcasts! I listen to mine on my Android phone through the Stitcher App. I would live to develop my own too. Maybe I could call it The Witching Hour abd include my kids at 6:00 every night.

    All work and no play makes mommy a disgruntled chick.

  • Chris Carter says:

    I need to look into podcasts…heard about them and thanks for the info!!!

  • Podcasts are great for driving my long commute. My favorite is “the age of persuasion” with Terry O’Reilly. It’s actually a radio show but the podcast lets you listen anytime.

    I’m curious about how to make a podcast. I’ve toyed with the idea, but don’t know if iTunes actually hosts for free or how it works. I’d love to see a part three on that.

  • I love podcast. I subscribed to Joyce Meyers and TD Jakes podcast and listen to them while at work. It truly allows me to block out the negativity in my workplace. I’ve considered, once I organize the content, creating a podcast for my ministry.


  • I’m addicted to podcasts and listen to several during the day at my day job. They make the day fly by. I listen to several comedians, one about movies, a hilarious one with 2 moms, and I also list to a few on small business and blogging.

    The ones with the two moms is For Crying Out Loud. My favorite ones about Blogging are Social Media Examiner (yep, they have a podcast) and BlogcastFM.

    Happy listening!!!

  • Ugochi says:

    This is very helpful as I have always wondered the difference between subscribing to a podcast and just downloading, I am off to itunes now to make some changes.

  • I will have to look for Downton Abbey.