January 19, 2010
You can think of podcasting as a kind of broadcasting where the listening/watching schedule, both when and where, is entirely up to you. It fits a mobile world where "timely" means when I have time and where is wherever I am. Legions of organizations and individuals are taking advantage of podcasting's capabilities to communicate with their audiences. Check out the Featured Providers link list on the lower right of the main iTunes Podcasts page for just a sense of some of them and what they offer. Some are using podcasts to deliver their most popular radio content already time shifted, as it were. Some deliver audio and video ancillary to their print or web publications, still others deliver content in packages that didn't even exist till podcasting itself existed.
Select a podcast that interests you and you'll see you can download episodes already available and/or subscribe to automatically receive new episodes as they appear. Regardless of whether you just download an episode or subscribe, the podcast will appear in your iTunes library complete with a listing of episodes you haven't downloaded and susbscribe/unsubscibe buttons as appropriate. Select a podcast (List view is most helpful) and you can use the Settings... button at the bottom of the page to determine how often to check for episodes, which old episodes to download, and which to keep available for how long.