I’ve been listening to podcasts for a while now. When I found them, the concept clicked instantly — having shows download automatically to my device where I can listen to them when I want. At the time, there were some radio shows that I tried to follow, but since I wasn’t awake at the time when they were playing on the radio (remember that?), I would miss them. I felt the same when VCRs came into play or more significantly when we were able to pick the shows we wanted to watch when we wanted, and I’ll stop with apologies so as not to date myself more that I’m already doing.
After all these years, only a few shows survived, but many more appeared and, most of them, online only. They went from being an on-demand replay of radio shows to just shows. Money from sponsors starts coming in, and teams had resources to produce better and more polished episodes. Shows became known, then famous, and some even provoked cultural changing events. Podcasts were also able to maintain relatively open and, most of them, free. I think this was the real secret to their continuous evolution. Companies are trying to put them behind paywalls (and failing), but keeping them open, is still the main strategy. It’s still the preferred way for podcasters to distribute their shows and for a good reason. Of course, you can expect ads, but usually, they are not intrusive, respectful, and kept in periods where the flow of the podcast won’t be interrupted.
In the end, any person can buy relatively cheap material and publish their podcast without the need to be dependent on a platform (like YouTube) and build their community and following independently.
How to listen
There are a lot of apps to listen to Podcasts. I can only recommend iPhone apps since that’s the only platform I’ve used since I started listening to podcasts, but here are some apps where you can subscribe and listen to them:
- Overcast – My favorite app by far. The UI is clean and complete enough to provide a lot of possibilities without being intrusive, and Smart Speed and Voice Boost are a must. Now listening podcasts without them enabled sounds strange and slow. If you’re a subscriber, you can upload your files and listen to them on Overcast. The features are bare in that regard, but if you buy audiobooks somewhere, you can take advantage of Smart Speed to listen to them faster, for example.
- Apple Podcast – I tried using this one multiple times. Each iOS release, I imported some podcasts and wanted to use it, but I ended up always quitting it quite fast. The features are quite bare, and downloading new episodes is quite strange and unreliable. Besides, as I mentioned before, Smart Speed spoiled me.
- Other – There are other apps like Casto, Himalaya, Stitcher Radio and even Spotify enables you to listen to podcasts now. Spotify bought Gimlet Media recently as a push to be a player in the podcast arena. You’re free to try any of them, but I have no experience so that I can recommend any of them. Some of them, like Stitcher and Spotify, are trying to keep some of its content behind a pay-wall with marginal success, so open is still the way to go.
What can you expect
This section will join the book recommendations section where I will publish, once in a while, podcasts that you should listen to on any occasion. The only thing common between them is that I liked them. That’s it. You’ll find podcasts that are part of a series, so they have a start and finish, podcasts that are weekly or topical, and some that ended already. The last ones you should listen to before they disappear. Some of them did go, and I was sad not to have kept the episodes for later listening.
The schedule is a little bit different than the book section. There, I’ll publish books as soon as I finish them, but in this section, I’ll start by posting periodically the ones that I listen to every day and move to others that I think you would enjoy. I haven’t figure out the periodicity, so keep a look at the podcast section for news. I’ll tweet new additions, so you can follow me to know when that happens.
I don’t have a podcast (yet I think), so none of them are produced by me or made an appearance on any of them (yet I hope). Also, please note that any views in the podcasts that you don’t agree with are the responsibility of the producers of the podcast itself. I’m not endorsing anything so make up your mind and, if you want to complain, go directly to the source.
Want to contribute?
Tell me an excellent podcast that you’re listening to and are enjoying. Or let me know of one that you liked and I should know. Interact and comment below so that other people can benefit from it. I’ll think about a way to create a more organized way for everyone to interact but, for now, the comment section is available to you.