Here’s some advice that may help you if you’re new to the world of podcasts…

Q: What is a podcast?

A podcast is just like the streaming media files you’re used to seeing at web sites, only better! Instead of waiting to listen to the show while it downloads, your computer’s podcast software (also known as an “aggregator”) can search for new episodes while you’re online and download the .mp3 file to your computer. That way, you can listen on your computer or transfer the file to a portable media device.

Q: Where can I get an “aggregator”?

If you have Apple’s iTunes software on your computer, you already have one. Just go to the WhiskyCast page at the iTunes Music Store and follow the directions. That will tell iTunes that you want to receive each WhiskyCast episode as it’s released. You can also do the same thing for WhiskyCast HD and WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings episodes.  If you’re not using iTunes, you can subscribe to our RSS feeds by using the options on the registration page.

You can also find “aggregator” software by doing a  Google search on “podcast directories.” They come and go from time to time.

Q: Do I need an iPod to listen to a podcast?

You can listen to podcasts on any device that’s capable of playing MP3 audio files. That includes your computer, other portable media devices, and set-top TV boxes are capable of downloading and playing podcasts. You can also download podcasts to your computer and burn them to portable media for use in your car.

Q: I clicked on your “Click the link to subscribe” button, and my web page was full of gibberish. What gives?

What you’re looking at is the data from the RSS feed mentioned above. That’s the raw data that tells your aggregator whether there’s a new feed, and yes, we found it confusing at first, too. The important thing to remember is to take the address from that page, highlight it, then copy and paste it into the receiving software of your choice. Most web pages now translate the gibberish into something readable, though, and often offer you a way to subscribe to the feed.