My favorite podcast, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, from National Public Radio’s WHYY in Philadelphia, has featured many well-known guests, including Ray Charles, Stephen Colbert, Hillary Clinton, and my favorite comedy legend, Mel Brooks. But what draws me in is Gross’s warm rapport with her guests. It reminds me, as a journalist, to listen closely to those I interview and ask intelligent, relevant questions.

Today’s podcasts aren’t all talk shows and interviews; there’s a full range of formats. A well-known example is the hit podcast Serial, which tells one long story over the course of a 10-episode season.

It’s a great time to experiment with this medium, since podcasts are drawing the attention of media companies. When The Hollywood Reporter asked Jim Bankoff, Vox Media’s chairman and CEO, which media sectors are experiencing growth, he answered, “Podcasting. We’re having enormous success with Today Explained, which is a real hit out of the gate.”

Looking to get into this expanding and potentially lucrative medium? We’ve done the work to help you get started.

What Is a Podcast?

At its most basic, a podcast is simply a digital audio program or recording, similar to a radio or television show, that can be downloaded from the internet or made available to and accessed from various mobile devices. As with most media in the digital age, the format, structure, and content of a podcast often resemble an older analog medium: the broadcast-radio program. Podcasts, like radio, are often created serially and post new episodes regularly.

There are important distinctions, though. For starters, the notion of time is…