Podcasting has taken the world by storm in recent years with hundreds of new shows released every day all over the world. Yet there’s still plenty of confusion about what a podcast is: how and where do I listen? So how do I get started with Podcasts.
Given the huge choice out there, what shows should I listen to? Well, what to listen will always be a bit subjective, so we can come back to that one.
First of all, what do you need to listen to a podcast? The simple answer is very little: a phone, computer, or tablet with an internet connection. A podcast is simply a piece of audio you can listen to anytime – you can listen directly online, or download the show and listen later. Best of all, the vast majority of podcasts are completely free to listen to.
A podcast might be a show that originally aired on radio but which you can then listen to online. Or, more commonly, it’s a piece of audio available only as a podcast. Just like books or films or websites, there are thousands of new ones every week: chat shows, interviews, investigative journalism, true crime stories, documentaries, audio dramas, and lots more. Once you get hooked, you’ll never be short of something to listen
How Do I Listen?
So how do you get started? Most people listen on Apple Podcasts (also
called iTunes) or on Spotify, but there are lots of other podcast players you can use too (Stitcher, PocketCasts and RadioPublic are three good ones). If you already have Spotify on your phone or computer, there’s a whole section just for podcasts. Browse the categories or type the name of the show you want and start listening. If you have an iPhone, the “Apple Podcasts” app is already there on your phone – just open it, find a show and hit play. If you have an Android phone (like a Samsung or Huawei) you could listen on Spotify, or you can download a podcast player app: PocketCasts, RadioPublic, or Podcast Addict are all good.
You can also listen on your computer on any of the players above, or just google the name of a show and you’ll find lots of links to play it. Generally, though, it’s handier to listen on a phone.
You can keep track of all the shows you like by hitting “subscribe”, and you can easily see when new episodes of your favourite shows are out.
Any recommendations for some great shows? Once you’ve got the technical side out of the way, you can sit back and start listening. There really is a podcast for everyone, with great shows coming out of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and, of course, Ireland.
A quick google search will find you a podcast on any interest, from knitting to rugby, stamp collecting to German history, yoga to language learning. Some of the most popular American shows include This American Life, compelling stories of everyday life tied together by a theme; 99% Invisible, about the things in our designed world we rarely consider but often couldn’t live without; Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History looks at
things overlooked or misunderstood in history.
In the UK, the BBC has a huge range of podcasts; their recent 13 Minutes to the Moon, on the Apollo 11 mission, was a big success. The Guardian makes Today in Focus, a daily news show, or there’s The Totally Football Show, which does what it says on the tin.
On the Irish scene, there’s plenty of choice. For myths and storytelling, try Fireside, for sport there are Second Captains or for film try, I Know that Face. If you love a good book you could check out Words To That Effect or Behind the Bestseller. RTE’s long-running Documentary on One is also available as a podcast.
So dive in, and start listening today! Getting Started with Podcasts.