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What is a Podcasting Aggregator?

A podcasting aggregator, also known as a podcatcher, is a digital tool that collects and organizes podcast feeds, allowing users to subscribe, download, and listen to their favorite shows seamlessly. It's your go-to hub for audio exploration, connecting you to a world of stories, education, and entertainment. Ready to discover your next audio adventure? Let's explore how an aggregator can enhance your listening experience.
David White
David White

In today's rapid-information society, we are often overwhelmed with information. We try to keep up with daily events, but we often find it difficult to stay abreast of what's happening around the corner, let alone in the wide world. Much information is now available and there are many ways in which to get that information. Fortunately for those of us who are overwhelmed, there are ways to distill information into easily digested forms that do the filtering for us so that we don't have to spend our precious time sifting the wheat from the chaff.

Digests are commonplace and have been for many years. They are now being seen on the Internet and in podcasting, a relatively recent form of sharing information via Internet audio. In the same way that Real Simple Syndication (RSS) has exploded on the scene of Internet news, the podcasting aggregator has risen rapidly to become nearly indispensable for those of us who want to get our podcasts but don't want to do the virtual heavy lifting that it sometimes requires.

The iPod Touch can play podcasts.
The iPod Touch can play podcasts.

RSS allows us to choose which kinds of subjects we want to learn about via Internet articles. The same is true of a podcasting aggregator. You could think of a podcasting aggregator as RSPS, Real Simple Podcast Syndication. The podcasting aggregator streams audio signals that you specify to your MP3 player, be that an iPod, other type of player, or even your desktop computer. Some people even stream their podcasts directly through their home stereo speakers.

Apple's iTunes is one of the best-known online podcasting aggregators.
Apple's iTunes is one of the best-known online podcasting aggregators.

The first podcasting aggregator, iPodder, was developed by former MTV VJ Adam Curry. Other designers, and eventually companies, built on Curry's design and created their own forms of the podcasting aggregator. Perhaps the most well-known example of a podcasting aggregator today is Apple's iTunes. This kind of podcasting aggregator is tied to Apple's online music store, although podcasts are free of charge. Other online examples of the podcasting aggregator include Podcast Alley and Podcast.net.

The podcasting aggregator is built on the theory that downloads don't always have to be live. In other words, we can set up a podcasting aggregator to subscribe to podcasts and download new episodes whenever they become available. If that happens to be in the middle of the night, then we get a pleasant surprise when we check the podcasting aggregator log in the morning. Unlike radio, podcasts can be downloaded and listened to at our leisure. They are there when we're ready to listen to them, thanks to the podcasting aggregator.

The podcasting aggregator helps us take some of our precious time back, by downloading our favorite podcasts for us and keeping them safe and sound until we can get to them. We can rush around and listen to live audio if we want to; but thanks to the podcasting aggregator, we don't have to.

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    • The iPod Touch can play podcasts.
      By: pizuttipics
      The iPod Touch can play podcasts.
    • Apple's iTunes is one of the best-known online podcasting aggregators.
      By: Volker Witt
      Apple's iTunes is one of the best-known online podcasting aggregators.