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What is a Podcast Feed?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A podcast feed is a document on a server which updates when new podcasts in a series are uploaded. People can subscribe to the feed to arrange to have new podcasts delivered to their computers through a program which handles podcasts, or through a feed reader which allows them to click to listen. Podcast feeds are used to allow people to keep up with a podcast they enjoy without having to visit the site where the podcast is hosted to check for new episodes.

Podcasts are video or audio presentations which can vary in length considerably. This format for content delivery is used by a wide range of websites, and can include things like brief commentary on the news, talk shows, game shows, and so forth. Once the podcast is generated, it is placed on a server, and people can access it at any time. This contrasts with live streaming broadcasts, which are only available at set times.

Setting up a feed is usually strongly recommended to people who run a podcast, because it ensures that people will be able to access their content. With a podcast feed, when new episodes are uploaded, the feed updates. When people open their feed readers or podcast management programs, the new episodes are downloaded. Listeners and viewers never need to worry about missing an episode with a podcast feed delivery to their computers.

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Typically, links to the podcast feed are located on the website which hosts the feed. In addition, many podcast management programs allow people to search a database of podcasts, and to subscribe from there. Podcast designers make sure to embed information in their feed which will make their podcasts show up on a search. For example, two people running “The Dave and Shelly” show on automotive repair would make sure that the files in their podcast feed were clearly labeled and tagged with keywords so that people searching for “Dave and Shelly,” “car repair,” “automotive repair,” and so forth could find their podcast when they searched through a third party client.

It is easy to manage subscriptions of podcast feeds. People can usually subscribe and unsubscribe with a single click, and they can sort their subscriptions. Someone who listens to a lot of podcasts might break them up by category so that new material got delivered into different folders, for example. It is also possible to use devices like personal media players which handle subscriptions, allowing people to connect the devices to get the latest updates downloaded directly onto a device they will use to listen while taking a train, biking, or engaging in other activities where a portable podcast player might be desired.

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