I can see two different ways on how a Discourse instance can be used for podcast hosting:
One topic = podcast channel
Have a topic setting that activates the “podcast” mode for the topic.
Every post authored by the topic author and containing an audio attachment = one episode
other posts in the topic are just the podcast / episode discussion
The Summarize button shows episode posts only
One category = podcast channel
Have a category setting that activates the “podcast” mode for the category.
First topic post with an audio attachment = one episode.
Following posts in the topic = episode discussion.
Have a “play” icon in front of each episode-topic.
Latests / Top view naturally shows the episodes list.
In both cases:
Make the topic/category RSS with episode posts only, and make it compatible with most podcast platforms, like iTunes (Apple Podcast), Google Play etc.
Benefits of using Discourse for podcast hosting:
free = save money
one less thing for site owners to setup and configure in order to run a podcast = save time
people can host their own podcasts on your Discourse instance = help attracts more people to your community
episode list with “play” button embedded into the main community website as a topic; this is not always possible with 3rd party solutions, e.g. if there is no oEmbed support like in this case;
natural way for the community to engage in discussion straight away and write comments as they listen.
as with Discourse, you own your files
naturally consumes Discourse’s backup = less things to worry about
integrates well with the community by consuming Discourse features like Search, Advanced Search, topic pinning and interlinking, user mention (who’s featured in that episode?)
Might be a plugin territory?
Anyone likes the idea?
I can’t imagine the use case of where a discourse community has a podcast being very common, let alone one that might host several.
We host our podcast on SoundCloud (including the rss) and have a podcast category on the forums. Then we just manually post each episode as a topic, using the soundcloud embed link.
The SC embed works quite well when posted in a topic on discourse.
It’s imperfect, mainly because the order of episodes gets jacked up when we get replies. Mainly we did it to have a place for our forum members and visitors to get access first, and join in a discussion of the episode if they wish.
We’d also set each new episode as a banner topic and share the link to the topic on our social channels.