Chances are, most people have heard the word podcast. Amidst all the hype about podcasts, though, some people may be wondering: What is a podcast? Why would someone listen to them? How can someone listen to them? What podcasts are good?
Well, there’s no simple answer. There are lots of different types of podcasts, each one with its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Still, for people who do put in the time to listen, podcasts can be incredibly entertaining, educational, and rewarding. They are great companions for lengthy commutes, long walks, or quiet nights at home alone. There’s really no denying that podcasts are a wonderful and invaluable resource for people living in the world today. There is a podcast for everyone.
So, here’s a podcast breakdown: exploring the whats, the whys, and the hows of this exciting new phenomenon.
Simply put, a podcast is like a radio talk show. It could be one person talking, or it could be a group of people talking. It could be for five minutes, or it could be for two hours. Whatever the case may be, most podcasts have some sort of theme. True crime podcasts are pretty popular, as are historical podcasts and podcasts about current events.
Generally, the people talking in podcasts are either experts on the subject or they are enthusiasts, so their insights can be fun or enlightening. The experience of listening to a podcast is, at it is best, like being privy to a conversation between some of the most interesting, well-educated people in the world talking about subjects they love. All in all, podcasts are a great way to learn about different topics and have a good time while doing it.
Podcasts are released on a subscription basis. Like television shows, podcasts generally have release schedules. Some release every week, others every month. Either way, podcast releases are always something to look forward to.
How To Get Podcasts
There are a few ways to listen to podcasts. The first and most common way is to use a podcast app or “podcatcher.” On the iPhone, the iTunes Podcast app is probably the most popular, but there are others. Android also has a variety of podcatcher apps on their store like Podcast Addict, Anchor, and Podbean. In addition, a lot of podcasts put their episodes up on Spotify.
There are other ways to access podcasts online, of course. For people trying to access podcasts on their internet browser, there are a few ways. Most podcasts maintain websites that host a backlog of their content, so that’s always an option. A lot of podcasts also upload their content to Youtube or the popular audio streaming service Soundcloud.
Most Popular Podcasts
What are some of the best podcasts to start with? Well, that all depends on what a person is looking for. Here are some of the best podcasts by genre:
- People interested in true crime might want to check out Serial, hosted by investigative journalist Sarah Koenig. An examination of a decades-old crime, Serial is both a masterwork of investigative journalism and an edge-of-seat thriller wrapped into one.
- For people more interested in a broader educational experience, try Radiolab. Produced by WNYC, this well-researched educational podcast takes a detailed look at some of the most complicated and esoteric concept out there: good, evil, memory, time, etc.
- There are a ton of comedic podcasts out there, but My Brother, My Brother, and Me is probably a good place to start. Hosted by three brothers, this “advice show for the modern era” answers some of the most bizarre questions sent in by viewers and plucked from Yahoo answers.
- Finally, for people interested in sifting through the complicated quagmire that is current events, Pod Save America might be a good option. Hosted by former presidential staffers, this show takes an in-depth look at the current political landscape and tries to make sense of it all.