I discovered podcasts about four years ago when I started my first job right out of college. My office was like a morgue – it was silent and freezing. So I started bringing a sweater to work and dug into this strange Podcast app that I never used on my iPhone. And I now I can’t stop.
So, what is a podcast?
Podcasts are essentially talk radio on demand. You can listen to them on your time, and unlike TV or reading, you can divide your attention and do other things while you listen to a podcast: cook, clean, shower, drive, you name it. Podcasts aren’t subject to FCC censors the way that TV and radio broadcasts are. Shows that choose to avoid an explicit warning self-censor. And, as of right now, most podcasts are independent – they are not beholden to powerful advertisers or sponsorships. Ads have increased significantly as podcasts have grown, but (at least for now) those ads don’t seem to be compromising the content of the shows.
How do I listen to podcasts?
Have you ever seen that purple icon on your iPhone and wondered what it’s for? That’s Apple’s podcast app! You can browse through popular podcasts, download or listen to podcasts and create playlists (or “stations”).
If you’re not an Apple product user or just want to try something other than the built-in podcast app, check out Overcast and Stitcher. I’ve tried both and am currently very happy using Overcast.
My number one criteria for a podcast? The hosts can’t take themselves too seriously. Podcasts live and die by the quality of their hosts. I’ve tried podcasts about topics that I love, and ended up abandoning and I’ve tried podcasts about topics I have no interest in and was completely charmed and won over by the hosts (see: Rose Buddies). Ultimately, I value a podcast that leaves room for laughter, regardless of the topic.
Many podcast publishers are encouraging people to educate others about podcasts during the month of March and are billing it, #TryPod. So, I’ve categorized some of my favorite podcasts to share! I’ll be posting them by category over the next week or so.
Go forth and explore your podcast app!