I’ve been listening to podcasts for years. Maybe since 2005? I love them. I listen while I am writing, before sleep, and sometimes if I am doing a repetitive task like spreadsheets or transposing minutes. I learn so much, and hear about a lot of interesting people doing interesting things. (Also, I'm sitting in a giant gumnut pod up there!)
What is a podcast?
A podcast is a portable, on demand (POD) show. It might be a recording of a radio show, or a show recorded only as a podcast for download, or a playlist of music (like running podcasts).
How to listen to podcasts
Some podcasts can be downloaded (saved and/or streamed) from program websites. Many are linked to radio programs and can be streamed through their websites.
You can also download podcasts through apps on your computer, tablet or phone. I listen to mine on my iPad and iPhone. You can download through iTunes (this is how I listen to them) or other apps such as Stitcher. A list of 10 great podcasting apps for many operating systems can be found at Tom's Guide.
It seems podcasts are becoming more popular now - SO many friends got into Serial - they perhaps didn’t listen to podcasts before? I might have been the only person who didn’t get into Serial. I drifted off every time I listened.
But here are some I enjoy.
This American Life
This American Life features two or three true stories narrated or discussed. It’s enthralling. My two favourite recent stories were the Batman episode (which is also on Invisiblia - a TAL spinoff) and an episode about trolling.
Batman was about the low expectations people place on those with disabilities, and how if we give the disabled a chance, they can achieve.
From the episode:
"[He] began to wonder if maybe, just maybe...low expectations for what blind people could do was in some way actually limiting the blind people..."
And the trolling episode featured one of my favourite writers Lindy West who talked about how she confronted her most horrible troll. So interesting. Trolls walk amongst us.
TedTalk Radio Hour
The TedTalk Radio Hour features excerpts of TedX Talks, grouped into a theme. It's meaty stories in bite sized chunks.
I recently listened to one episode about secrets, where the founder of PostSecret talked about how receiving the secrets in the mail every day is like Christmas.
The NPR podcasts are fantastic!
And so are the ABC Radio ones!
Life Matters on ABC Radio National features fantastic conversations about current issues, hosted by one of my favourite presenters, Natasha Mitchell. I was so excited to chat with Natasha on Life Matters two years ago.
Hosted by comedian Wil Anderson, Wilosophy is a podcast featuring conversations with Wil’s friends who are doing great things. As the name suggests, they talk about their philosophies. I love the length of the podcasts because it allows Will and his interviewee to get into a lot of detail. The chat he had with Kurt Fearnely was fantastic. Wil is empathetic, intelligent and curious. I’d LOVE to be interviewed by Wil!
The Osher Gunsberg Podcast
This is another conversation style podcast. I do enjoy this one because his mantra is to talk to people who work at doing things they really love. Again, I’d love to be a guest. I LOVED hearing the Darren Hayes podcast - I remember being immersed in it while I was in the Chicago hostel. (Also, Darren had a great podcast last year and a new one this year - tune into He Said He Said.)
Conversations with Richard Fidler
This one from ABC Radio features conversations with well known and not so well known people. I love Richard’s interviewing style - he asks personal but never uncomfortable questions that put the guests at ease. I was recently engrossed in the conversation with missing person's advocate Loren O'Keeffe, and I also loved appearance activist Robert Hoge's chat. Richard is another person I'd love to talk to.
Notice a pattern here? I love to listen in on conversations. I love hearing about people’s lives. I love a chat.
And there’s plenty more that I love! KCRW Good Food, American Splendid Table, RadioTonic, RN 360, Background Briefing, The Smart Passive Income Podcast, Reply All, So You Wanna Be a Writer?...the list goes on. I am such a podcast nerd!
How to make a podcast
You can make basic podcasts on SoundCloud. I made one last year as a part of the Blog With Pip course. I made a list of things to talk about and just ad-libbed when the record button was on. I shared the link on Facebook. But I much prefer more professional sounding podcasts, and you can do this with microphones and sound recording software. The ABC has a more comprehensive guide to making podcasts if you want to explore further.
Podcasting is really on my list of things to do - I love them! Maybe in 2016.
Do you love a podcast? What do you recommend?