I love podcasts. They are what help me survive my daily commute to and from school--and my commute is unnaturally lengthy! One of the things that attracts me to podcasts is the infinite variety available.
Some of my favorite podcasts, which I subscribe to through iTunes, are public radio programs which are made available as podcasts after they air on radio. Included in this category are "This American Life," which narrates first person stories connected by a common theme and "The Thomas Jefferson Hour," in which historian Clay Jenkinson discusses Jefferson's life, ideas and contemporary issues in character. Other podcasts I listen to are produced by magazines which advertise their work through free podcasts. This category includes the "BBC History Magazine." This podcast includes interviews with the authors of pieces from that month's magazine. Other favorites for me are "true" podcasts, written and produced purely for the internet, without connection to traditional media materials. In this category, my favorites include the International Spy Museum Spycast, with interviews of people in the field of intelligence, both US and international; Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, the most passionate and intelligent history podcast I've found online, and Common Sense with Dan Carlin, a non-partisan political show produced and narrated by the same man who makes the history show.
I have used segments of podcasts in my classes. I have found it can hook students into a conversation, and sometimes students have become subscribers to podcasts they first heard in my class.