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.


In February 5, 2005, Shae Spencer Management LLC of Fairport, New York filed a trademark application to register PODCAST for an ‘online prerecorded radio program over the internet’.[4] In 2005-9-9, United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected the application. The rejection notice cited Wikipedia’s Podcast entry had described the history of the term.[1]

As of September 19, 2005, known trademarks that capitalize on podcast include: Podcast Realty, GuidePod, PodGizmo, Pod-Casting, MyPod, Podvertiser, ePodcast, PodCabin, Podcaster, PodShop, PodKitchen, Podgram, GodPod and Podcast.[2]

As of February 2007, there have been 24 attempts to register trademarks containing the word ‘PODCAST’ in United States, but only ‘PODCAST READY’ from Podcast Ready, Inc. was approved.[3]


In November of 2004, Pittsburgh-based podcast hosting service Liberated Syndication was launched. The company, also known as Libsyn, was one of the first podcast hosting companies on the scene.

In 2005, it was reported that Adam Curry had anonymously edited the podcasting entry on Wikipedia to remove credits from other people and to inflate his role in its creation.[4] The business model of Curry’s podcasting network Podshow has since been criticised by many in the industry, and has been accused of exploitative practices in its dealings with independent podcasters.

In September 26, 2006, It was reported that Apple Computer started to crack down on businesses using the word ‘pod’ in product and company names. Apple sent a cease-and-desist order that week to Podcast Ready, which markets an application known as myPodder.[5] Lawyers for Apple contended that the term ‘pod’ has been used by the public to refer to Apple’s music player so extensively that it falls under Apple’s trademark protection.[6] It was speculated that activity was part of a bigger campaign for Apple to expand the scope of its existing iPod trademark, which included trademarking ‘IPODCAST’, ‘IPOD Socks’, ‘POD’.[11] On November 16, 2006, Apple Trademark Department returned a letter claiming Apple does not object to third party usage of ‘podcast’ to refer to podcasting services, and Apple does not license the term.[7]


  1. ^ Podcast trademark rejection cites Wikipedia
  2. ^ Podcast Trademark Gold Rush
  3. ^ List of US podcast trademarks
  4. ^ Adam Curry Caught in Sticky Wiki
  5. ^ http://www.podcastready.com/info.php?section=8&page=41
  6. ^ Apple cracks down on use of the word ‘pod’
  7. ^ Apple letter.


Lists of podcast directories: (not individual directories)

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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