A podcast episode is simply an mp3 file, so a podcast is simply a "show"
that publishes these episode or a regular (or even irregular ) basis.
Some folks listen to podcasts on portable mp3 player like the ipod
that gave podcasting it's name, others use so-called "aggregater
software" like itunes
(free software available, from apple and yes it runs on p.c.'s too), you can even
just download mp3s of individual episodes from the sites that host the
files such as
a few podcasters even have their own servers and
host their files on their own sites.
If you don't wish to use aggregater software you can join the yahoo group
for this site to be notified when the show (or pages on the site) update!
One thing I've tried to do on this site is to provide plenty of places where you can directly download the podcast episodes, so, for instance, if you are reading a trip report and you get to the point in the trip where I listened to a particular musician, you may find a link to a podcast episode of that very set, I haven't seen anyone else using thier podcast episodes to make audio archives for thier trip reports like this and it's probably one of my favorite uses of the podcast services available.
Once upon a time it was hard to find sound files on the internet, then came Napster, and finding sounds (and sharing sound files you had found) became a snap. Unfortunately Napster in that form didn't last, other ways of sharing files came (and went) but none of those seemed as all encompassing and easy as Napster, or at the very least, with the loss of that early version of Napster it seemed like it would be necessary to keep learning new programs if you really wanted to keep swapping files in a similar manner. Besides that, the very fact that Napster was forced to make these changes by a court of law at the very least seemed to indicate perhaps it WAS wrong to trade sound files so freely (especially in the case of those recordings taken straight from copyrighted CD's ).
Sometime in 2005 I began to hear about podcasting, I figured I'd check it out eventually but kept putting it off, finally after seeing folks recording podcasts at Mousefest I started to make them a part of my internet routine, downloading individual episodes, making play lists and listening to those mp3 files in winamp while I spent time checking my email, looking at Ebay auctions, or working on my web site. Soon I ended up downloading itunes and while that has made it easier to keep up with new episodes as they now collect on my computer automatically I now want to get an ipod too to make it easier to listen to them while I'm NOT at my computer.
Having made a few mp3's of my own from sound files I've recorded and having passed them on to friends who were also Disney fans (by burning them to CDs and snail mailing them). It may have seemed a natural that I become a podcaster, in fact one of the first few times I heard of podcasting was when one of those friends (Hi Ted) suggested upon listening to the CD I sent him that I might want to pursue that. At that point I didn't even have a good idea in my head as to what podcasts were and as I delved into it I still had my doubts,
As time wore on I began to understand the process a bit more, saw that a lot of the other guys doing this were new to this type of audio work too, and more than that just began to have a gnawing desire to share the sounds I had recorded, at first I still feared the money factor but began to suspect that it couldn't be that expensive by reading between the lines as the various podcasters spoke about their trips and I began to realize that they weren't just people with boatloads of money. I think it was understandable that I held on to this misconception for so long when you realize that on the internet I'm familiar with "bandwidth" has long been considered a four-letter word, there are still folks out there with web sites that are unaccessible for several days each month because they have exceeded their bandwidth restrictions, I have gotten around this with my site by actually paying for space, but even that site has its restriction, in particular the types of files I can have hosted there are restricted, sound and video file types are not permitted, but for only a similar amount to what I was already paying per month I can have those types of files hosted on libsyn! Thus fleshing out my web content with those things I like to share with all my Disney loving friends out there (like YOU!)