The What, Why, and How of Listening to Podcasts

September 25, 2020 | by ashylynn reynolds-dyk

Podcasts have gained great popularity in the last decade but have you ever wondered what exactly a podcast is and what it is all about? In short, podcasts are bite-sized chunks of on-demand radio. They are information and entertainment in a flexible, audio-based format. Podcasts easily fit into people’s busy lives as subscribers listen to their favorite hosts or series while working out, on their commute to work, and sometimes even while working whether around the house or in the office.  

Like books, podcasts offer diverse presentation structures, genres, and topics. 

  • They might be edited or unedited...
  • They could be 15 minutes each or they might be over an hour long…
  • Podcasts include fiction and nonfiction stories, interviews, and news segments, to name a few, and they offer crime, comedy, sports, leadership, education, technology, religion, and much more…
  • Like your favorite television shows, podcasts are sometimes offered through seasons with episodes and have an indefinite ending…
  • Other podcasts are more like a movie and tell a story from start to finish in one episode… 
  • The hosts themselves vary from celebrities to sportscasters to financial experts to outdoor enthusiasts to artists to every-day, ordinary people.

So, if you are thinking you might like to get started listening to podcasts, here’s what you need to know: 

Platforms or directories—all of which have associated apps—like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, RSS Feed, Spotify, Overcast, and many more that hold/retain podcasts (just like a library holds/retains books). These are places for podcasts to live once a podcast has been uploaded to the preferred platform by the podcasts’ owners. The most popular platform is Apple Podcasts. 

Once you find a specific host or podcast series you like, you can download the app and start following or subscribing to the podcast. Although some apps may cost money, the podcasts themselves are free so you can subscribe to as many podcasts as you like! And, to get you started (or if you are not new to podcasts but are looking to add to or change up your podcast favorites list), you can check out some Billings-based podcasts in our October issue of Simply Local Magazine-Billings.

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