First Time Visitors
 (Are You New to Podcasting?)

How do I listen to podcasts?
There are basically 3 ways to listen to most podcasts, depending on whether you want to listen now (live, over the Internet) or later (on your computer or portable MP3 player/iPod).

  1. If you see a play button near the name of the podcast on the website, you can often play the file immediately on your computer.
  2. The second way you can access a podcast is to save the file to your computer hard drive to listen to it later. You can do this like you would save a picture or other file on the Internet (PC: right click and choose Save Target As. A save dialog box will appear that will let you choose where to save the file, and even re-name it if you like. On a Mac, you just click and dwell till the Save option appears).You can listen to the file anytime, even when you're not online.
  3. The third way people acquire podcast files is to "subscribe" to the podcast. This does not involve paying a fee. The key notion of subscribiing is that you use special software and tell it to check the podcast website regularly for new content; when a new podcast is posted, it will automatically be downloaded to your computer.
    Subscribing is most convenient if you know you'd like to have more podcasts from the same source without having to come back yourself and keep looking for new ones.

What are show notes?
Show notes allow the podcaster to provide extra information for a listener. They usually include brief summaries of each podcast episode, the details of resources or websites that may have been mentioned in the podcast, and references if applicable. Not all podcasters post show notes. When available, show notes can be a handy sneak preview for a listener, or a way to go back and find a particular podcast a listener wants to hear again.

How do I subscribe?
Near the podcast listing on a website, you'll see a button or link labeled RSS or XML feed. This is the information that your subscription software needs in order to download the podcasts and find this site again in the future.
There are multiple ways to subscribe to a podcast, but the most popular way is just to let a software program like iTunes or Juice (formerly iPodder ) do it for you. Both of these are free downloads. The specific steps depend on the software you use. The main thing will be telling the software the URL (web address) of the podcast to which you want it to subscribe. Usually, you will just copy and paste the address when your software asks for it.

An example feed URL is, although some feeds end in .rss instead.

If I save a podcast file on my computer or subscribe, how do I listen to it?
You can use a variety of media players or software to play podcast files (you need one that plays files in MP3 format). Most computers already have software that will work. The most popular computer software for playing MP3 files includes iTunes (free download), Windows Media Player (comes with Microsoft Windows operating system) and RealPlayer (free download). Some PDA's (personal digital assistants) and other portable audio players can play MP3 files, including podcasts.

A word of advice: Jump in!
Don't spend too much time trying to figure this out or getting steeped in new terms. Just do it! If you have a problem, ask a teenager or a friend to help you, or write to me.

What are the minimal computer system requirements?
Computer system requirements for listening to or downloading podcasts are fairly standard, and if you have a computer less than 5 years old, it will probably work fine without any effort on your part. These recommended minimum system requirements from the National Institutes of Health website give you the basics:
Processor: 266 MHz Intel Pentium II processor or equivalent
Memory (RAM): 64 MB of RAM
Internet Connection: Broadband (DSL, cable, wireless, satellite or powerline high-speed internet connections)
Sound Card: 16-bit sound card and speakers
Digital Media Player: Windows Media Player® 6.4 or RealPlayer® 10
Operating System: Windows® XP, 2000, 98, NT 4.0, or Mac OS
(, accessed March 19, 2006).

Are there other podcasts on this site?
There is a collection of links to podcasts from around the world that may interest SLP's under the Resources tab.

© 2006-2007 Paula S. Cochran, Ph.D., CCCSLP