The word “podcast” is used loosely, which can be a source for confusion. Essentially, it has two contexts: one referring to an individual episode and the other referring to the series of episodes that make up the show / program.
Here are some common uses of the word “podcast” with brief explanations.
Subscribing to a podcast
Subscribing to a podcast implies that you are subscribing to the series of episodes that make up the show / program.
Downloading a podcast
Downloading a podcast usually applies to downloading an individual episode.
A podcasting service
Podcasting services almost always refer to the entire series of episodes that make up the show / program.
Podcaster vs. Podcasting
When we refer to a “podcaster,” we are referring to the individual (or team) who creates one or more podcast shows / programs. The term is not exclusive; anyone who has been on a podcast show can make such a claim.
Podcasting refers to the process of creating episodes for a show / program. Similar to the word “podcast,” it can refer to a specific episode but it almost always refers to the production of ongoing episodes for a show / program.
The Podcasting Glue
Trying to explain the process is confusing because of the double meaning of the word “podcast.” Here are concepts to keep in mind:
Podcast show / program – This is the title of your online radio or TV series — you will create episodes under this title on a regular basis. To make your show / program known to the world, you submit the podcast feed (unique syndication URL) to podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, enabling your audience to subscribe to your show. For example, the unique syndication URL you submit to Apple Podcasts is queried by Apple every four hours to look for new episodes to display on the iTunes directory.
Podcast episode – This is the media content (your audio and/or video file) tied to episode title and notes (identical to writing a blog post or content for a web page). The process of creating the episode title and notes with a title and associating the media file within your podcast feed “syndicates” your episodes. The syndication happens independently. For example, Apple Podcasts will query your podcast feed within four hours after you publish your latest episode. Within that time, the latest episode will be made available on the podcast directory.
Podcasting – Can refer to the first-time setup to establish a podcast show / program or more commonly refers to the routinely created episodes that make up the show / program series.
Podcaster – The individual who conducts the podcasting.