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A podcast is very much like a radio show that you can download to your computer. Once you have downloaded it to your computer, you can play the podcasts or transfer them to an mp3 player.

Most podcasts are free and available from many different websites. Unlike radio shows you can listen to podcasts whenever and wherever you like.

Podcasts are grouped into channels and easy to subscribe to. Once you are subscribed your computer can automatically check back to see if any new podcasts are available and automatically download them for you if you choose. This saves you checking back to see if updates are available.

Software and equipment

As a podcast is just a computer audio media file you can listen to it on your computer or transfer it to any portable audio player, mobile phone, PDA or gadget capable of playing mp3 audio files.

How to download a podcast

You can download individual episodes of a podcast to your computer. The way to do this will depend on your computer and which operating system and browser you are using. On most computers you should be able to do this by right clicking on the download link and choosing "Save Target As...", "Save Link As...", or a similar option.

How to subscribe to a podcast

A chicklet icon indicates a rss feed or podcast is available on a webpage

To subscribe to a podcast you can use a podcatcher. This is a programme that downloads and automatically checks for podcast updates. There are many free podcatchers available to download on the internet such as iTunes, Doppler Radio, Juice or Nimiq.

The next step is to add the podcast's information to your podcatcher. You can get this information from a website's chicklet.(See image on the right of this page). Right click and copy the link location, then paste it into your podcatcher, or click the chicklet and copy the link from the address bar into your podcatcher.

Another option is to subscribe using your browser in the same way you would for an RSS feed by clicking on the chicklet and selecting the option to subscribe to the feed.

Recommended podcast websites

  • BBC History Magazine - The latest news from the team behind BBC History Magazine - a popular History magazine
  • The Last Mughal - A William Dalrymple Lecture at Gresham College. This isn't actually a podcast, but is a recording of the lecture which you can download and listen to on your computer or mp3 player.