A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. A podcast is a specific type of webcast which, like 'radio', can mean either the content itself or the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the name of Apple's portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast[1]; a "pod" refers to the iPod, and "cast" to the idea of broadcasting.

In other words, a podcast is a collection of files (usually audio but may include video) residing at a unique web feed address. People can "subscribe" to this feed by submitting the feed address to an aggregator (like iTunes - software that runs on the consumer's computer). When new "episodes" become available in the podcast they will be automatically downloaded to that user's computer. Unlike radio or streaming content on the web, podcasts are not real-time. The material is pre-recorded and users can check out the material at their leisure, offline.

Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

Certain podcasts, can even be live and interactive. Dozens of podcast enthusiasts can be on at once, with the "host" being able to control their audience in the same way a radio host can.

  • The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has some very good concerts available.
  • Naxos provide some podcasts, and indeed most of their catalogue is available for streaming. I suspect the quality is not so good - after all why would you bother to buy the CDs if the podcast/streams are satisfactory - but they may be fine for previewing or sampling.
  • has some great value performances for download. Each one costs 1 Euro, and there must be some really good things there, such as Fricsay's version of the Magic Flute. However use a bit of judgement when checking this out. Casals' versions of the Bach Cello Suites are available, but each costs 1 Euro - which isn't bad. However you can probably get a CD from Naxos or EMI with the same material by the same artist for not much more. At the prices though much of this must be worth trying, such as:
    • Casals, Dvorak Cello Concerto
    • Klemperer, Mahler 2
    • Oistrakh, Dvorak Violin Concerto
    • Stern, Wieniawksi Violin Concerto 2
    • Walter, Mahler 9
    • Walter, Mozart 35-41

There is a search box on the site, so explore.

This site doesn't seem to work well with Firefox, so I'll break my habit and recommend Internet Explorer for this one. Dave2010

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