Oops. my bad. Just noticed that under "Related US Application Data" it calls out that this is a division of another patent, filed Oct 2, 1996. Now that *is* interesting.
Are you sure that this idea was 'obvious' in 1996? I was in college studying bending beams at that time and sure as heck hadn't thought of downloading episodes of comedy podcasts. I can't say what everyone else was up to.
For reference, the claim on this patent is pretty much the same:
1. A player for reproducing selected audio program segments comprising, in combination:
means for storing a plurality of program segments, each of said program segments having a beginning and an end,
means for receiving and storing a file of data establishing a sequence in which said program segments are scheduled to be reproduced by said player,
means for accepting control commands... means for continuously reproducing said program segments in the order... [+ bunch of controls for navigating media]
Again, IANAL, but this seems to be a description of something that might well have been a new idea in 1996. I dunno. The obviousness test is an interesting one, and I still can't figure why they can go after media producers, when the patent sounds like it would result in Apple, Sony and the software/device people infringing.