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Co-Written by
Mur from Geek Fu Action Grip
and Rob from podCast411

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February 19th 2005 (Updated Feb 20, 2005)

How to Explain Podcasting to a Flashing 12 � By Rob @ podCast411

If you listen to our podcast, by now you know what a �Flashing 12� is.  If not I will quickly explain � A �Flashing 12� is a person with no technical inclinations � the name comes from the fact that when you walk into their house their VCR is Flashing 12:00, because they can not figure out how to program it.  My Mom, My Wife, Heck all of my Family with the exception of my Cousin Kris are Flashing 12�s.

Now if you are like me you have been struggling with a way to explain what Podcasting is to the Flashing 12�s in your life.  A common Geek speak explanation is to compare it to TiVo.  The problem is Flashing 12�s don�t understand TiVo.  Point in Case when I asked my Mom what she knew about TiVo she said �I know he was one of the Jackson 5�.  So quickly I knew this was the wrong path.  I also knew that trying to explain it as �Time-Shifted Radio� was going to go about 4 feet (1.2192 Meters) further above her head than TiVo went.  And forget about mentioning aggregators � I am sure she would have thought they were something that lived in the swamps of Florida.

Here is how I was finally able to explain �What is a Podcast?� to the Flashing 12�s in my life.

First - Tell them that Podcasts are basically Radio Shows on the Internet (Like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh or Dr. Ruth), but what makes them special is how the Shows are delievered to the user.

Explain to them that Podcasts are like Magazine Subscriptions.  With a magazine subscription you register for a magazine (podcast) and then every so often the publisher (podcaster) will send one to your house  (Granted with podcasts the aggregator goes out and fetches it � But you are talking to a Flashing 12 � So stop trying to confuse them with Geek Speak).  Now after the Magazine is delivered, it sits in your Mailbox (aggregator) until someone removes the Mail and puts it on the Kitchen Table (iTunes).  You then decide when you want to read that magazine (Daily Source Code) or some other magazine (podcast411) or you can just throw it away because it no longer interests you (Yeast Radio).  You can also cancel any subscription at any time.

Now there are a couple of key differences between Podcasts and Magazines you need to point out.

  1. With Podcasts, You only receive those you have subscribed to.  There are no unwanted L.L. Bean or Victoria (XXX) Secrets Magazines cluttering up your mailbox.  Actually that is one of the great points of Podcasting (so Far) it is Spam Free � oops I mean Junk Mail free. 
  2. And Talking about Free - Podcasts are Free � Yup they don�t cost a dime or even any Frequent Flyer Miles.  Of course at that point my mom asked �Well then how does anyone make any money at it?� Oh from the mouth of Babes � Well that subject is for a whole other �How To..�
  3. Now once they understand how you get them � Then gently remind them that Podcasts are Audio programs � just like on the Radio.

At this point even the most pathetic Flashing 12 should be able to connect the dots.  If not let me know and we will try together to bring enlightenment to the truly ungifted.

Please fell free to link to this article at:


 Part II of this Flashing 12 series.

"What do you mean I don't need an iPod to listen to a Podcast?"

Also here is a good link to a tutorial done by podgrunt

If you liked this tutorial make sure you put a link to it from your website.

If you have comments / questions you would like to add please send us an email.  We will post comments / questions on this page.

rob AT podcast411  DOT  com

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