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Frequently Asked Questions about the EconTalk podcasts
EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show and podcast about economics in daily life. Host Russ Roberts talks to featured guests, professors, authors, Nobel Prize winners, business leaders, and people on the job, about the economics behind current events, markets, the Great Depression, free trade, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Topics include school, health, business, finance, jobs, politics, book reviews, what's behind the mortgage and housing troubles, family, business startups, and more. Join us on the run, over lunch, or any time you want to kick back. Look for links to related readings and join the discussions in the blog comments.
For a review, see "EconTalk: The Best Continuing Education Money Can't Buy." Incidental Economist, June 9, 2009.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a podcast?
The word "podcast" comes from "broadcast," as in a radio or TV show. Many podcasts are exactly that: repeats of recent radio talk shows. Podcasts usually last from a few minutes to an hour.
EconTalk podcasts are .MP3 files. Adding more format options (for example, formats that allow video) is under consideration.
Q: Do I need to buy an iPod, MP3-player, or other hardware or audio-player software to listen?
Most media/audio-players are downloadable for free. Here are the websites of a few of the most popular audio-players for your computer. All function either as standalone audio players, browser plug-ins, or both.
Q: How do I listen to a podcast? From EconTalk,
To Download. Download the podcast if you want to save it to listen later. To download, Right-click or Option-click on the button labeled Download. Select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As". Pick the folder of your choice. You can rename the file so long as you do not change the .mp3 extension. Clicking left on the word Download may do the same thing, or may open a new window to play it, depending on your default software choice.
Notes, suggestions, and trouble-shooting:
c. Keeping your default audio-player software up-to-date will give you the best experience.
d. Make sure your plug-in media player is the one most-recommended for your browser (e.g., Quicktime for Firefox, Windows Media Player for IE). Sometimes media players have reduced functionality when used as plug-ins on browsers for which they were not originally designed.
e. You can change which audio-player software is your default quite easily. Open the audio software you prefer, and look at the Options or Preferences (variously listed under pull-down menus such as Edit, Tools, Options, Settings, etc.). It will probably offer a check-box to "Make this my default audio-player". Check and save your choice. Another way to change your default audio-player is to change the default file associations for .mp3 files directly on your computer.
Q: What does subscribing mean?
Some subscription services go a step further and automatically download podcasts for you in the background once you subscribe. ITunes is an example of an automatic downloader.
You can choose to subscribe to either just the podcasts or to the full EconTalk text. Subscribe to the podcasts if you only want to listen to the podcasts. Subscribe to the full EconTalk text if you also want to comment or find materials referenced in the podcast. You can do both.
Pros and Cons of different podcast subscription methods:
Subscription by notification (e.g., Yahoo) is great if you want to control what you download, podcast-by-podcast. You can listen without creating any permanent files on your computer. Drawbacks are that the multi-click process and waiting while downloading temporary or permanent files can be annoying.
Subscription by email notification is great if you don't regularly use a portal page or media player or if you prefer email. Drawbacks are that email risks accidental email discards by your spam email filters.
Q: How do I subscribe to EconTalk?
Text and audio:
Q: What is the RSS feed for EconTalk?
Q: Is it free?
Podcasts older than a few months are archived and are all available free of charge.
Q: What is an "episode"?
Q: How often does EconTalk produce a new podcast?
Q: Are old episodes available for free?
Q: Can I link to EconTalk episodes from my website?
We do not recommend linking directly to the .mp3 files, as their locations may change in the future (in which case the permanent link pages would be updated).
Q: What are the Extras?
Extras offer additional ideas on specific podcast episodes without adding a new audio file. Extras may encourage listeners to think about the relationships among several podcast episodes or may elaborate on the ideas in a single podcast episode.
Most recent podcast episodes include educational followups called "Continuing Education". In the week following each podcast episode, Amy Willis asks thought-provoking questions that may be used for self-education or in the classroom. Listeners are encouraged to answer the questions in the comment section. Amy Willis also produces a series of Listening Guides--short lists of basic questions to guide listeners through selected podcast episodes. The Listening Guides may be printed and distributed for classroom use.
Sometimes the EconTalk host, Russ Roberts, offers some followup thoughts, ideas, or discussion of a podcast episode. It may be that he talked to a guest in more detail after an episode was aired, or that there was a confusing section in an episode, or that Russ had was inspired with some additional ideas.
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