Why Podcasts are Great. Don’t Miss Out!

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why podcasts are great

I Love Podcasts, And So Should You!

Hey there! šŸ™‚

I hope this post finds you all in good health and enjoying the comfort of your own home.

While in quarantine, many of us are looking for ways to make the best of our spare time which, now we’re in lockdown, is primarily spent indoors. Since sharing is caring, today I’ll be sharing with you one of my growing interests over the past months: podcasts. Yes, I do other stuff besides piano progress videos šŸ˜„

Maybe you’re already a podcast aficionado, or maybe you’ve heard about them but never really understood how they work. In any case, I’m sure you’ll be able to find out something new from this post!

What Are Podcasts

In essence, a podcast consists of audio content made available to you periodically in the form of episodes. It’s like the radio equivalent of a TV series. While there are many types of podcast series available, the typical format consists of one or more recurring hosts discussing a particular topic. It’s quite simple actually, but you’ll find that the best podcasts make it a priority to be interesting and entertaining, with great storytelling and pace to keep you hooked.

Why are Podcasts Great?

Two words: content and convenience!

To me, the best thing about podcasts is that you only need your headphones to get going. You don’t need your hands, you don’t need to be looking anywhere – just do what you have to do and enjoy your favourite content. So, if I’m doing something like running, riding my bike or doing chores around the house, I can take the chance to catch up with the latest episode of my favourite podcast. A few seconds of set up and you’re ready for hours of learning and/or entertainment!

One hour cleaning the house? Boring! One hour listening to super interesting discussions on a topic that you’re curious about? Awesome! With a good podcast playing in the background, no chore is a choreā€¦ šŸ˜‰

Podcast Recommendations to Get You Started

Content-wise, whatever you’re into, there is likely a podcast (or several) about it. Right now, my favourite series are about current events, science, economics, and finance. I focus more on educational and self-improvement podcasts, but there really is a lot of content to explore which you can tailor to what you find most interesting!

TED Radio Hour

ted radio hour podcast preview

This is probably the easiest podcast for me to recommend to anyone getting started. We all know the TED brand, and whatever NPR produces tends to be of great quality. Each episode is around an independent topic and includes discussions with former TED speakers. The hosts (previously Guy Raz, currently Manoush Zomorodi) really do a great job in maintaining your interest throughout.

How I Built This

how I built this podcast preview
Feed your mind with some inspiring entrepreneurship stories. How I Built This dives into how some of the world’s biggest companies came to be. Just yesterday, I was listening to the incredible story of how DELL actually started as a dorm-room computer upgrade hobby, from Michael Dell himself. It’s well worth it if you’re interested in learning a bit about how these iconic businesses started out.

Economics Podcasts

freakonomics radio podcast preview
planet money podcast preview
Freakonomics Radio and Planet Money: two great economics podcasts. Planet Money usually covers recent topics on the US and world economy. The Freakonomics team likes to explore other unusual, yet interesting, stories.

Talk Show Podcasts

joe rogan podcast preview
maluco beleza podcast preview

When it comes to talk-show style podcasts, I usually browse through the episodes and only listen to them when I know the guest, or if the title seems particularly appealing. With its typical informal style, The Joe Rogan Experience has become one of the most renowned podcasts in the world. Whoever Joe finds interesting, he invites on the show and they have long talks about various subjects. Who hasn’t heard about that conversation with Elon Musk?

Maluco Beleza, hosted by Rui Unas, follows a similar style and is one of the most successful Portuguese podcasts. Naturally, I had to include a Portuguese one on this list, right?!

That should be enough to get you started. At the moment I’m subscribed to about 40 podcasts. Some of them are automatically added to my queue list, others I check from time to time to see if there’s a topic that intrigues me.

How or Where Can I Listen to Podcasts? Are Podcasts Free?

There is a plethora of mobile apps which provide all the latest podcasts: Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts… I personally use and recommendĀ Pocket CastsĀ but you might find one of the others fits you best.

These apps are generally free, and there are no subscription fees for podcasts. This usually means you will have some commercial breaks during your episodes, but you can skip them instantly using the time controls on your app or via your headphones.

Some Extra Tips for Podcast Listeners

Episode Order

For some podcasts, you might be interested in always listening to the most recent episode (if it’s about current events) while for others it’s wiser to listen to them from the first episode (a podcast teaching a certain topic). Take care identifying what type of podcast you’re listening to.

Keep Your Brain On

If you’re going to listen, do listen. It’s all too easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and, once you realize it, you’ve missed two minutes of the podcast and have no idea what they’re talking about anymore! Stay focused. šŸ™‚

Check the Show Notes

To complement your podcast experience, most shows will include “show notes”, which go alongside each episode. This is the place where you will usually find references to what was mentioned in the podcast. It might include links to a certain book, study, app, or even how to contact the production team and guests.

Use Speed Adjustments

You can (and probably should) change the playback speed on podcasts! Experiment and adjust to find your comfort level. I usually listen to everything at around 1.4x speed. Pocket Casts even has a “silence skipping” option which cuts out fragments of audio with no sound, removing long pauses in conversations (this can sometimes remove intentional pauses in speech though, so I don’t use it in all my podcasts). According to the app, I have saved over 30 hours by using variable speed options and silence skipping. That’s a lot of extra information!

Add Episodes to Your Listening Queue

You can use the listening queue to add episodes you want to check out later. This way you don’t need to select a new one every time the current one is over (useful if you’ll have your hands busy and don’t want to fiddle around with your phone).

Go Out and Explore!

Hopefully, by now you have an idea of what to expect from the wonderful world of podcasts. I encourage you to go and try it for yourself. Install an app, check the most popular stuff and search for whatever niche you’re interested in. Who knows, you could be surprised by all the content that is already out there and just waiting to be consumed by your attentive ears…

And if there aren’t any podcasts about your topic of interestā€¦ why not start your own? šŸ˜‰

But while you become the next podcast sensation, don’t forget to have fun (naturally!), stay safe, and stay at home!

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