Picking a podcast: the right one may be worth the time

A podcast is a series of audio episodes about a particular topic or theme. So, it’s basically radio on the internet. The popularity of podcasts has gone through the roof in recent years as just about anyone and everyone seems to have a podcast. Podcasting Insights estimates that over 2 million podcasts exist today, while  Statista estimates nearly 120 million people listened to podcasts in 2021. 

While it’s exciting to consider all those possibilities, it can also make diving into this medium a daunting task. Podcast newbies might question if they should even start listening to podcasts. And how do you access them anyway? Are they free? And, finally, which podcasts are worthy of diving into?

Fear not, dear readers (… listeners?) We will be recommending a few of our favorite podcasts by topic over the next few months, to save you the time and energy of weeding out the best ones. But first, let’s answer a few of those newbie Qs: 

Why you should listen to podcasts? 

You might already feel overwhelmed by the presence of social media seemingly bombarding our every waking moment. We get that. But podcasts are more like a way to improve things that you’re already doing, rather than just another distraction. They can be a source of inspiration; they can encourage you to take the next step or to try something new. You can pursue ones about your passions and further your knowledge, or you could follow a topic you’ve never explored before. Podcasts can provide a wealth of information on a wide range of topics, or they can just be a fun source of entertainment to listen to on your daily walks. My favorite times to listen are when I’m driving around town and my mind is begging for stimulation, or when I’m in the garden and I need some mindless drivel to keep me on task. Your podcast experience is whatever you want to make it, which is why we highly recommend you give it a shot.

How do you listen?

The answer to this question really depends on what type of device you prefer. The easiest (and most common) method is to download iTunes onto your phone or computer if you don’t already have it. From the iTunes homepage, you merely need to select “Podcasts,” and then it will bring you to the “store,” where you can peruse different ones depending on your interests. Since most podcasts are free, the word “store” can feel misleading. Not to worry: you won’t be charged. 

Once you’ve found a topic you enjoy, you have the option of subscribing, so that you are notified when new episodes are available, and you can see old episodes as well. For those who aren’t Apple enthusiasts, there are other apps that you can use, such as AudioCloud and Grover Pro, but iTunes seems to be the most widely prevalent. (If these directions aren’t clear enough, check out these step-by-step instructions.)

So now you should be ready to embark on the great podcast adventure. Go forth, and cackle along with NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me or induce goosebumps with a true-crime narrative like Dr. Death. Maybe you’re seeking fitness inspiration, or gardening tips, or live comedy. Whatever your interest, we can guarantee there is a podcast for that, so we hope you can start listening with confidence.