What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio program that is distributed over the Internet. Podcasts are similar to radio programs in many ways: they are usually focused around a topic or theme that is consistent from episode to episode, which may be anything from alternative music to a hobby-oriented talk show to a full-cast audio drama. A podcast usually has a regular format, episode length and release schedule that the producer attempts to adhere to. Many podcasts contain promos for other podcasts, similar to the commercials on radio shows, which help to introduce listeners to new programs while also providing variety in the listening experience.

The main difference between a podcast and a radio program is that you can listen to a podcast whenever you want to; all you need to do is download the episode and you can listen to it whenever you wish. Some people play podcasts directly from their computers, using music software like iTunes; others burn episodes to CDs to listen to them in their cars, or download them to portable audio players like the iPod or Zune. This power to listen to an audio program whenever and wherever you want is the chief advantage of a podcast over radio, and it is this advantage that gives the podcast its name — the “POD” is an acronym that stands for Portable, On-Demand.

What is a podiobook?

A podcast novel, or podiobook, is a novel that has been recorded as an audio presentation and then distributed over the Internet in the form of a podcast. Many fiction writers who choose to podcast their work will incorporate added features that are not normally found in commercial audiobooks, such as music, sound effects, and a full cast of voices. In this way, the podcast novel fills a niche somewhere between the standard audiobook and the old serial radio dramas of the early twentieth century. (Indeed, serial audio drama is experiencing a revival with the creation of the podcast; The Sonic Society and Mur Lafferty’s The Takeover are two excellent examples of this.)

The Metamor City Podcast is a fiction podcast that presents a mixture of short stories and full-length novels, all set in the same story world. It is different from an ongoing short-fiction podcast, such as Escape Pod or Voices of Tomorrow, because the stories are all interconnected and most of them are spread over several episodes. It is also different from a self-contained podcast novel, such as Scott Sigler’s NOCTURNAL, because the story world is persistent: instead of ending after the first novel has been completed, The Metamor City Podcast will continue to air new stories in the same setting.

How can I listen to The Metamor City Podcast?

There are several different ways to enjoy The Metamor City Podcast:

  • The simplest way to listen to the show is to visit the website, download each episode manually, and then open the file in iTunes or another music player of your choice. You can then play it directly from your computer, burn it to CD, or transfer it to a portable audio player. New episodes are released on Sunday, every two weeks, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time (5:01 AM Greenwich Mean Time).
  • A more convenient way to listen to the podcast is to subscribe to it using the podcast’s RSS feed. (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication; you can learn more about it here.) When you subscribe to an RSS feed, each new episode of the podcast is delivered to you automatically when it is released. There are many free programs that can be used to subscribe to podcasts, but the two most common are iTunes and Juice. You can subscribe to The Metamor City Podcast by clicking on the orange-and-white RSS logo in the right sidebar, next to the word “Subscribe!” Feedburner, the service that distributes the RSS feed for Metamor City, will ask which program you wish to use to subscribe; make your selection, and the latest episode will be downloaded automatically. You can also instruct iTunes to download previous episodes that were released before you subscribed.
  • If the whole RSS thing is a bit confusing, you can also subscribe directly through the iTunes Music Store. Just go to the Store section of iTunes and use the Search bar to search for “Metamor City”. You’ll see our show’s name pop up in the section marked “Podcasts”; just click the Subscribe button and iTunes will take care of the rest!

These podcast things are great! Where can I find more of them?

There are entire websites that serve as podcast directories to help connect people with shows that will interest them. Podcast Alley is the largest of these, with literally tens of thousands of podcasts available. Podcast Pickle organizes shows by genre and subgenre, which allows you to more easily find shows that are similar to what you already enjoy listening to; you can also view a show’s “Tree” to see which podcasts it has been influenced by, and which other podcasts it has influenced. If you like free audiobooks without the more personal chatter that podcast novelists often include in their shows, Podiobooks.com is your single best source for free, serialized audiobook content. With over 5000 episodes in over 160 titles, Podiobooks.com is your ticket to hours of audio adventure and discovery.

Still have questions?

If you have any other questions about podcasts and how to subscribe to them, feel free to email Chris Lester, the producer and host of The Metamor City Podcast, at feedback@metamorcity.com. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy the show!