Podcasten auf Deutsch
It just so happened that I discovered Annik Rubens and her five-minute "Schlaflos in München" podcasts first, and then it was about an hour with a Swiss-German dee-jay at jradio.ch in Zurich. (Cool to hear Schwytzerdytsch, the music's cool, but in English.) The variety of topics and sheer numbers of podcasts in German is amazing for such a relatively new phenomenon! People all around the worldincluding Austria, Germany, and Switzerlandare producing their own mini-radio shows on topics from art & culture to porn, from daily life to rock, or world news & politics. There are podcasts in German dialects and even "kidspods" for young listeners ("Hörkultur für Kinder"). You'll find pro versions and podcasts by just plain folks.
Was ist das? - What is podcasting? Here's a definition in German: "Der Begriff Podcasting meint das automatische Herunterladen von Audio-Dateien aus dem Internet. Meistens handelt es sich dabei um private Radio-Shows, die sich einem bestimmten Thema widmen." - podster.de (See my English explanation in the next paragraph.)
Audio on the Web is nothing new. However, das Podcasten is a new way of approaching online audio (and video). And it really seems to be a good thing for language-learners. The term podcast is a play on words that mixes "broadcast" and "iPod" to come up with podcast. A podcast is a lot like a radio broadcast, but with some crucial differences. First of all, a podcaster doesn't need a real radio station. Anyone with basic recording and computer skills can produce a podcast. Second, unlike radio, you can listen to a podcast at any time and in any place. You can click on a podcast and listen to it immediately (just like streaming audio), or you can save it to your computer (and/or iPod) for later.
Some podcasts require a free subscription and/or special podcast software (i.e., iTunes, iPodder, Podcatcher, etc.), but most podcasts can be heard using a normal Web browser set up for MP3 or Flash audio. The advantage of subscribing is that you'll get your chosen podcast on a regular basis, just like a newsletter. (For more on the technical and general aspects of podcasting, see About's Podcasting page.) A lot of the podcasting software and services are free. You don't have to pay for anything unless you want to. The free iTunes software from Apple (for Mac or Windows) has support for podcasts and is perhaps the easiest way to subscribe to podcasts in German or other languages.
How do I find German podcasts? The best way is to use iTunes or some other podcast directory. Podcast.net lists over 20 podcasts in German. That's where I found Annik and "Schlaflos in München," but she's also listed in iTunes and other directories. (Some podcasts listed under "Deutsch" may actually be in English, because it's up to the podcaster to select the category.) Of course, there are also German podcast directories, including "das deutsche Podcasting Portal" - German podcasts. The iPodder.org site has a page for podster.de, but you need to download the free iPodder client (Mac, Win, Linux) to use it. You can also use Google.de or other search engines to find podcasts in German.
Some Selected Podcast Sites in German
Most podcasters have a Web site related to their podcasts, often with a forum for feedback and comments. Most will let you stream their MP3 podcasts, but if you want to subscribe, try one of the podcast clients such as iPodder.
Do you have a favorite German podcast we haven't listed here? Let me know.
Also see: Video and Audio Podcasts in German
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