It sounds like something from outer space, or perhaps a medical instrument, or something “Green”. Nope! A podcast is audio or video content delivered over the internet. Do I need an IPod to use a podcast? Absolutely not! Any computer or device capable of storing and playing digital content (including an IPod) can play a podcast. I won’t go into technical detail here about how large analog audio files are compressed and converted into much smaller digital Mp3 files. That’s what I mean by digital content. This conversion process creates a CD quality sound. This is a revolutionary shift away from conventional radio broadcasts very similar to the advent of E-books that are replacing printed books.
Most podcasts are available via subscription. When we talk about subscriptions, and subscribing to a Podcast, we only mean how you set up your system to receive the feed and to automatically download any new shows that are posted. At this time and in the foreseeable future, almost all Podcasts, both audio and video, are offered free of charge. Like the term broadcast, podcast can refer either to an ongoing series, or episodes of a particular program. A podcaster, like Kathy and me, is the person(s) who create the content.
What kind of shows are out there?
If it can be imagined, it’s probably in a podcast. Big Band Music, talk radio content of almost every political leaning, travelogs to almost everywhere in the world, the sky’s the limit. Music started this phenomenon, and every genre is represented. If you like Chamber music, it’s there. How about Big Band and ‘40s hits? Interested in surfing, or snowmobiling, or the latest sighting of Bigfoot, there’s at least one podcast for these. There are even several RV specific podcasts. We’ll have more on this later.
How do I get started listening?
I’m glad you asked. First you must have a computer with an internet connection and a web browser such as Windows Explorer or Firefox, or a smart phone that can access the World Wide Web. Last but certainly not least, you will need headphones or speakers. That’s it! With a little more instruction, you will be listening to a world of interesting and informative content.
I need to say something about internet connections. The faster the connection, the quicker the download and the quicker you can enjoy the content. I don’t want to get too technical in this article, but a 1 hour voice show file can be about 26 megabytes in size. With a phone or dial-up connection, the download can take hours. Fast Wi-Fi will take perhaps 10 minutes. An Air card (broadband cellular) takes about 5 minutes. This is why a subscription to a podcast can be downloaded in the background and overnight. Next morning the show will be available for listening.
There are many directories available to find podcasts. Most are well categorized and easily searchable. My suggestion here is to go to a directory and look around and try a sample of some podcasts before you subscribe and commit your computer’s resources. Some good ones are:
And now for the biggest of them all, iTunes. Any release of iTunes since release 4.9, (it is currently at 10.6) has all the functionality of finding, subscribing, and downloading podcasts within the program itself. This software is a free download from www.itunes.com . You can search for podcasts by name, host, or genre (comedy, music, politics, film and Television, and so on). There is a search function where you enter key-words such as RV, or Beatles. You can listen to shows right from the directory by simply clicking on the name of the podcast. If you like what you hear, you can subscribe with a click on the Subscribe button. Any new shows will automatically download as long as your computer is connected to the internet.
What is out there for RV’ers?
A search within the podcast section of iTunes on the phrase “RV” yielded more than 30 different podcasts plus TV show episodes, the movie “RV”, and other RV related material. One of our favorites is “RV Navigator”, a monthly show which is essentially a travelogue of one couple who travel by RV and also by Cruise Ship extensively. Another interesting RV related podcast is The Vintage Airstream Podcast which discusses travel trailer, RV, and motor home repair, purchasing, restoration, and travel. Of course, our all time favorite is our own show, “Living the RV Dream”. We do a weekly 1 hour show about the RV lifestyle. When we can, we interview people in the RV Industry.
To truly appreciate a podcast, you should listen to it in a way that fits your lifestyle. With a podcast, you’re not limited to your computer or car radio. People enjoy podcasts anywhere. So, download a couple of shows and transfer them to your portable media player, burn them to a CD or DVD, or do whatever it takes to experience it where and when you want. We have seen small belt mounted Mp3 players for as little as $20. Try it and enjoy!
Bio for John and Kathy Huggins
I am a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer as well as a retired industrial Quality Director. Kathy has worked extensively in the medical admin field. Kathy and I are full-time RV’ers truly ‘Living the RV Dream’. We have been full-timing for almost 10 years and 6 years ago we started “Living the RV Dream” as a weekly live radio show in Sarasota, FL. We left FL on an extended trip west and are now doing our show as a podcast. We are members of FMCA, Escapees, SMART(Special Military Active And Retired Travel club), Good Sam, Thousand Trails, and several other camping clubs. Check us out on our website at www.livingthervdream.com .