What are Podcasts & Why You’ll Want to Listen
About a year ago I discovered the wide, wide world of amazing podcasts, and I enJOY them so much that I’m now like a podcast evangelist! Before that, I didn’t even know how to listen to podcasts.
Podcasts have taken my “time to kill” moments to a time of thinking “great, I can fit in a podcast!” You might be asking, “what are podcasts” – and I’m here to give you a beginners guide (introduction) to getting started.
You can find podcasts for literally any topic that interests you. Once you get a taste, if you’re like me you’ll be like a sponge that just keeps soaking them up. I think you’ll find them to be well worth your time.
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A Pod What?
Let’s start with a basic, non-technical definition of a podcast. The word podcast originated from combining the word iPod (the most popular media player when podcasts got started) and the word broadcast.
Podcasts are basically digital audio (and on occasion video) files that you can listen to using your smartphone, mobile device, or computer. They’re like a radio show. You get to listen to what you want – whenever you want – for free!
Some podcasts have a little advertising sprinkled into it, but really very little. Plus, you can touch the 15-second fast forward icon and skip through advertisements. Usually advertising is at the beginning or end of the podcast.
Many podcasters mention their website where people can get more information or take advantage of services or products offered.
Great Reasons to Listen to Podcasts
In short, here are my top reasons to listen to podcasts:
- To learn
- To be entertained
- To get inspired
- To add fun to boring tasks
- To make time pass quickly
One of my favorite things about podcasts is that they’re mobile, so I often listen while I’m driving. I have a 45 minute commute to and from work, and podcasts have definitely upped the joy factor in my commute. I can’t read a book while I drive, but I can listen to a podcast.
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Here are other situations where podcasts might put a fun zing into an otherwise boring task:
- While doing dishes or getting ready in the morning. These are tasks that need to be done, so you might as well optimize the time.
- While waiting for an appointment or while sitting on a bus. Pop in your ear buds and listen!
- While exercising. Make time fly by when you listen to podcasts. You can choose to be entertained or learn about health while you exercise.
- While doing mindless activities such as taking a break, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- While driving or riding in the car.
Take tasks from boring to fun with podcasts!
Listen Up! How to listen to podcasts.
Podcasts are most easily listened to using a podcast app. You can then subscribe to the podcasts that you enjoy, and you’ll be notified when new episodes are released.
Episodes can be downloaded to your device while you have an internet connection. You can then listen while out and about, but you won’t use precious data. The download feature is also handy if you’re going to be out of data reception area, such as an airplane.
If you have an Apple device such as an iPhone or an iPad, you can go to the App Store and download/install a free app called Podcasts.
When you open the new app, click on the browse icon at the bottom and you can see all the categories you can browse for podcasts that are to your liking.
I’m not familiar with android phones, but if you have one just go to the Google play store and you will find plenty of apps there for you.
Youtube.com is a great resource if you need technical help to get your podcast app setup. Here is one video that takes you through the main app features. Keep in mind that the apps are updated regularly, which means the look will be slightly different.
FREE & Popular Podcasts
Ok, that headline might be a bit misleading because all podcasts are free! Are you thinking that podcasts sound intriguing but you have no idea what topics you’d really listen to?
Personally, I mostly listen to podcasts about personal growth/self help and about blogging. But whether you want to learn about history, photography, politics, technology, animals… or maybe you just want to be entertained with a story or comedy… there is a podcast for you.
The apps make it very easy to search topics, so you won’t have any problem finding topics that interest you.
Here are some of my personal favorite popular podcasts:
Jesse and Marni, along with the experts they interview, teach and inspire you to reach your maximum health potential. Topics include lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, self-help, sleep, meditation, and spirituality.
Lucas Rockwood talks not only about yoga, but a whole range of health and wellness topics. He offers great tips and interesting topics.
This podcast by Carol Howell was really helpful for me while my dad was living with dementia. It gave me ideas on how to best interact with him, as well as just feeling a sense of community with this online lady who I never met but went through a similar situation with “momma.” Off topic, but her strong southern accent added a bit of fun for me!
I love TedTalks and podcasts are a convenient method of listening to them on-the-go. There are many TedTalks podcasts, and each show is based on topic. In addition to Tedtalks Health, there are also shows for:
- business, science medicine
- society & culture
- kids & family
- news & politics, and many more.
Search for TedTalks and you’ll find quality talks on whatever topic you want to learn more about.
Personal Growth and Inspiration
Who doesn’t love Oprah?!!?! Podcast description: “Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.”
With my blog being If It Brings You Joy, of course The Joy Factor is extremely interesting to me! Listeners get ideas from Julie Hanson and her expert guests about how to create more joy in their lives. Get tools, tips, and inspiration.
Short stories with inspiration and motivation. Includes wisdom, advice, and easy-to-implement tips. Fun to listen while getting ready for your day. Most of these episodes are only about 10 minutes. I’ll give a quick listen while I’m getting ready in the morning or even after I turn the lights out at night. It’s a little burst of positive energy that I bring into my day.
Life Stages/Self Help
Suzy Rosenstein is entertaining as she teaches you how to “regret-proof” your life, especially if you’re in a midlife funk. Suzy is a Certified Life Coach and will teach you mindfulness skills to create a life that you love. Honestly, I think that people of any age can benefit from Suzy’s messages.
This is a fairly new podcast that I just discovered and really enJOY. Valerie Albarda says it as it is! Sometimes she has guests who have experienced something interesting in their midlife. Valerie’s podcast is fun, interesting, and will help you skip the crisis during your midlife.
Not my era, but good listening for people to get motivated and navigate any transition in your life.
I don’t listen to this but it’s by Brandon Gaille and I do listen to his podcast about blogging (see below). He has mentioned his cancer experience and I think you’ll enjoy this if you or a special person in your life is dealing with cancer.
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Kim Anderson is a fantastic motivator for bloggers. From her experience as a blogger, she understands the challenges and frustrations bloggers face and offers encouragement to just keep blogging.
Brandon Gaille teaches bloggers strategies to grow traffic and monetize their blogs. He gives clear step-by-step instructions, and his tips are applicable to every blogger. Brandon is a pro blogger himself, and he freely shares his many methods to help others become successful bloggers.
Kate Ahl is the best guru I’ve found for helping content creators use Pinterest as a marketing tool. She offers tips for everything from analytics to hot topics for the month. She keeps current by attending conferences and she graciously shares everything she learns.
If you are a blogger, you’ll want to definitely binge listen to Darren Rowse on Problogger. He gives simple and actionable tips that beginner or advanced bloggers can use. Sometimes Darren has guests who share their success stories along with their best tips. Problogger podcast is very motivating and breaks things down into understandable bits of blogging advice.
Pete McPherson thoroughly interviews top bloggers who always share valuable tips and tricks. Pete is also a blogger himself and talks about his struggles, successes, and recommendations. At the end of each episode (which is generally about 1 hour), he quickly sums up all the real meat and potatoes you can take from each interview. Lots of great learning opportunities!
And the list of podcast topics goes on…
- Puppy training
- Chameleon breeding (Obscure? Yes, but there really is such a podcast!)
- Need more ideas? Read this thread on Reddit.com where people reply to the question, “What are your favorite weird, strange, or creepy podcasts?”
A Listening Feature You Won’t Want to Miss
You can speed up the rate you listen, and that means you can take in more episodes. Listening at a faster speed makes me focus, but I get through so much more! I am like a sponge and just can’t get enough listening, so I love this feature.
Some topics are more conducive for speeding up. Things like meditations or music are better left at the actual speed. Anything else, I usually listen at 1½X. When I speed it up to 2X, I can still understand the words, but the pitch gets wonky and it takes too much focus to really catch it all.
Listening speed is really a personal preference, but now that I’m used to listening at rate of 1½X, it feels too slow to listen at normal speed.
The one exception is when I listen at night. When I’m tired, I need to listen at normal rate in order to truly digest the information. Speeding it up too fast takes the joy out of it for me, but you should try it to decide what speed you enjoy.
A Whole New World
To sum it up, podcasts are a great resource for you to learn without spending any money. They’re free and easily available via your mobile device or computer.
Give podcasts a try as a method to grow, be entertained, keep up with current news, and to learn. There are more listeners than ever, and you will likely also find joy in podcasts.
I hope you now the answer to “what are podcasts” and “why you’ll want to listen to podcasts.” Podcasts are free and popular, so jump on the bandwagon and discover the joy! Please feel free to leave a comment with podcasts you already enjoy or your thoughts about podcasts in general.
May I ask a favor? If you enJOY my blog, please follow me on Pinterest where you’ll find more ideas and articles for personal growth and other fun topics that will bring you joy. Thank you!
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