The BBC podcasts are generally edited highlights of select radio programmes. These are all documented on http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/directory/
Each podcast is encoded at 44KHz 64kbps MP3 and has an RSS 2.0 feed associated with it.
MP3s are available online on the BBC website for a period of 7 days from date published. Some Podcast series are not governed by this 7 day rule, but there aren't many. Also, some of the Podcasts are restricted to the UK only.
There is a Podcasting feed created that lists all current Podcasts available for download as well.
The feed is updated every 30 minutes and is a simplified data dump of the internal Podcast database (well, a very stripped down version). It is used internally to create feeds, one of them being the feed that powers the BBC Podcasts directory. The feed also includes data on those which are UK only.
It should be noted that Podcasts that include the "<network id="test" name="Test Network"/>" tag/info should really be ignored as those are just random data Podcasts. They're used internally for testing, hence the network id being "test".
Other variables to look out for are active and public attribute in the programme tag. Active here just tells you if the Podcast series is actually still running at this current point in time. Because not all programmes run through out the year (e.g. The Chequered Flag which is about F1 racing) then the active flag is set to false when the programme series ends.
The public attribute is really there for excluding things from Podcast directory or Podcasts that are currently being worked on but not ready yet. Again, some of these would be experimental and so might be full of random data that would not make sense. Think of it as "nothing to see here, please move along" flag but feel free to take a look at it anyway as it is on a public facing server :)
There is also an XML/OPML feed for all podcasts at:
- Linux Centre's get_iplayer (Platform Agnostic) - Searches and indexes radio, podcast and television programmes using iPlayer atom feeds.
- fl3tch's podget (iPhone / Jailbroken) - Downloads podcasts from the iPhone specific BBC website.