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What is the Podcast?
A podcast is an episodic series of digital audio files that a user can download in order to listen. Platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts provide a convenient and integrated way to manage a personal consumption queue across many podcast sources and potential playback devices. Usually a podcast series features one or more recurring hosts engaged in a discussion about some topic or current event. Podcast productions can range from carefully scripted to totally improvised discussions, combined with elaborate and artistic sound production, with thematic concerns ranging from science reporting to slice-of-life journalism. Many podcast series provide an associated website with links and show notes, guest biographies, transcripts, additional resources, additional commentary, and even a community forum dedicated to discussing the show's content. Commonly the cost to the consumer is low, many podcasts are free to download, and some are even free of commercial advertisements. Motivations of the podcast producer (often the podcast host) may include any combination of expressing a personal passion, increasing professional visibility, entering into a social network of influencers and influential ideas, cultivating a community of like-minded viewership, and pedagogical or ideological outreach (possibly under philanthropic support, either identified or unidentified). In other cases the podcast is explicitly a business venture supported by some combination of a paid subscription model, advertising, and product after sales. Because so much podcast content has become available at low cost to the podcast consumer, podcasting is often classified as a disruptive media, adverse to the maintenance of traditional revenue models. Long-running podcasts with a substantial back catalogue are amenable to binge consumption...
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