A growing number of Americans are listening to podcasts, but very few do so every day.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project said Wednesday that 12 percent of Internet users have downloaded a podcast, an increase from 7 percent earlier in the year.

However, only about 1 percent said they download a podcast on a typical day — unchanged from the survey earlier this year. The rest do so less frequently, perhaps only once.

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Podcasts are typically sound files that can be played on personal computers, TiVo Inc.'s digital recorders and music players such as Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL) iPod. Many are regularly scheduled and automatically delivered, and more recently some have incorporated video.

News organizations such as National Public Radio and The Associated Press offer news podcasts throughout the day, while amateurs have produced podcasts once or twice a week to discuss their favorite television shows, among many other subjects.

"While podcast downloading is still an emerging activity primarily enjoyed by early adopters, the range of content now available speaks to both mainstream and niche audiences," said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew. "We are at a crossroads of a major transition in the way media content is delivered and consumed."

Men and online veterans are more likely to download podcasts, according to the telephone survey of 972 adult Internet users, which was conducted Aug. 1-31 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The previous survey was conducted February to April.