The Case for Podcasts

Let me set the scene for you: You are commuting on a packed to the seams train and can’t reach your book. Or, you are at the gym and music is just not doing it for you today. Or, you are at work doing a mundane task (we all have them at some point, no matter your job) and need a more stimulating component to your day. What do you do? What is your best option? What is sometimes your first option because a new episode of your favorite show came out? Podcasts! 

 Apple

Apple

    I love podcasts, and listen to them daily. There are so many great podcasts out there. No matter what you might be interested in, there is something for you. There are, of course, technology related podcasts, like the Accidental Tech Podcast, a.k.a. ATP. But, there are also podcasts related to everything from wrestling to pens, i.e. The Pen Addict. (Seriously… it is life-changing.) And, from starting a business to quitting your job, i.e. Quit. There are podcasts produced from large companies like The New York Times, NPR and the BBC. Then, there are also ones from newer podcast producing companies like The Incomparable, 5by5 and Relay FM. The variety of podcasts out there for your listening pleasure is unbelievably vast. From the informative to the entertaining to the thought provoking.

 Some of the podcasts I'm listening to.

Some of the podcasts I'm listening to.

    I find it interesting how polarizing the topic of podcasts can be. When I mention to some people that I listen to podcasts I get very interesting reactions. Even if the person doesn’t say a word. It isn’t like saying “Oh, I’m listening to music”. Most people have really interesting, and even strange, reactions to the notion of podcasts. Sometimes I will get a dumbfounded face as if they have never heard of them. This can be understandable for some but podcasts are certainly not a new form of media. Podcasts became widespread in 2004 and have been featured on iTunes since the beginning. That is how I discovered them. Often, I will get a reaction that tells me, either verbally or by expression, that the person does not listen to podcasts and feels strongly about that, for some reason. I have even suggested podcasts to friends and sometimes been met with “I don’t listen to podcasts.” and a swift change of subject, or “Listening to podcasts is just about technology and doesn’t interest me.”, or even “That’s too high-tech for me. I don’t have time to figure it out.” But, podcasts come in all shapes and sizes, as noted above, and are extremely accessible to everyone.

 The discover section of Overcast.

The discover section of Overcast.

    The first podcast I every listened to was from the BBC and it was the recordings of that day’s World Have Your Say. I listened to a few podcasts, at first, and I found The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show. It was so entertaining. I had to find more. I found Chris Hardwick at the Nerdist and Brad Dowdy and Myke Hurley at The Pen Addict. Yes, a podcast about pens and it is amazing! I discovered podcast networks like 5by5 and The Incomparable. Then, a new comer, RelayFM, which has become one of my favorite sources for discovering new podcasts. My other favorite resource? My podcast app of choice, Overcast, designed by Marco Arment, a podcaster and host of ATP. Who else would be better to design a podcast app than a podcaster? I continue to discover new podcasts and believe that is one of the best parts of being a listener. I recently discovered one related to being a foodie, Sporkful, another about urban legends, Lore, and even one that discusses the musical Hamilton. The ability to have a variety of topics and interests collected in one place and the passion of the people who produce them is part of what makes podcasts so enjoyable. Podcasters are some of the most passionate people on the internet. This is particularly true for the independent podcasters and those who have made it their full time job. Believing in their work really shows and makes fans of podcasts that much more interested and entertained.

    If you have never listened to a podcast I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Pick a topic in your mind. Something that interests you. Then go to iTunes and search it. Or, go to the top downloaded lists. Find a podcast in that area and listen. It will be worth it. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose? 


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© Zone Zero Geek & Sabrina Klein, 2014-2017