You’re STILL Not Listening to Podcasts?

For the truly unaware, let me explain that a podcast is so named because it is a form of broadcasting that was designed and packaged to be playable on portable devices like the Apple iPod. You can read for yourself the history of podcasting, but suffice it to say that from humble and technically restrictive origins, the podcast has come a very long way. Today, there are multiple ways to listen to podcasts and you can do so using almost any device (phone, laptop, desktop, tablet) and even synchronize you listening so you can start an episode on one device and finish it on another.

Now, I love me some music, and I’m not likely to give up my Sirius XM subscription soon (or Pandora, or Spotify) but more often these days, I’ll listen to a podcast instead of E Street Radio, especially when I’m driving, and especially when the trip is going to take longer than just a few minutes. Podcasts are also great in other situations where watching a screen is difficult or impossible, like during a workout, or on a sunny day at the beach.

Podcast listening is extremely common – over 42 million Americans listen to a podcast each week – and the audience grows year in and year out at a rate of about 10% per year. (see more statistics, if you’re interested), The number of podcasts available is also growing and may well top 200,000 as of this writing.

Using popular apps (I like Pocket Casts) probably represents the best way to find an access point to large libraries of podcasts, but it’s also possible to stream a podcast direct from the originator’s web site. For example, a lot of NPR radio broadcasts (like Fresh Air) are available as podcasts right from the program site. Finding podcasts you want to listen to may take some trial and error, although Top Podcasts of the Year Lists are prevalent, including this group of 50 from The Atlantic. You can also find podcast listings for specific interests, like History (I’m happy to see they included a favorite, “The Dollop”), Business, or creative folks. We’ll explore some of these areas further in future editions of TNT.

Oh, and when you find a podcast you really enjoy, be sure to look into the options for subscribing, which will give you the opportunity to know when new episodes are made available and often access to archives as well. Happy listening!