Food for the brain.
As a chronic multi-tasker, I have bonded with podcasts. I can listen while I’m driving, taking a walk, cooking, traveling, even watching a child’s athletic event (don’t tell the child). Podcasts generally fall into one or more of the following categories – educational, informative or entertaining. I have come to realize that not everyone has a backlog of podcasts to listen to at any given time. There are even people who subscribe to no podcasts at all. If you are in that category and would like to find your way into podcast-land, here is a quick primer. If you are already fully launched into the world of podcasts but have room for a few more, keep reading.
Where are podcasts and where do I keep them?
If you are an iPhone user, you have the podcast app already on your phone. If you are an Android user, you have the Play Music app. These apps are your link to all the podcasts and your place to subscribe to the ones that interest you. The apps store your podcasts for easy retrieval. If you have subscribed, new episodes of your podcasts will automatically be downloaded and can always be found there. If you become a devoted podcast listener, there are other podcast apps that provide storage and organization, often for a small annual fee. Pocket Casts is one of them and is free.
What equipment do I need?
Most people listen to their podcasts in the car, either commuting to work or taking long drives. If that is you, you should have Bluetooth in your car, otherwise just turn the volume up to loud on your phone or iPad. If you listen at home, you need a portable Bluetooth speaker that you can carry around the house with you if necessary. If you use public transportation and would like to listen, you will need a pair of wireless earbuds, or earphones that can plug into your phone. Podcasts pick right up where you left off which is a wonderful feature.
Finding podcasts that are right for you
There are thousands of podcasts to choose from and much depends on what you want a podcast to achieve. Do you want to be exposed to a subject area you are currently unfamiliar with but would like to know more about? Do you want to be amused, challenged, taught something new? Ask your friends what their favorites are. I found a majority of my favorite podcasts by word of mouth. If that is not successful, try a podcast search app. This article reviews 17 cross-platform search apps and 19 single platform (iOS or Android) podcast search apps.
This list of the most popular podcasts so far in 2020 is interesting to browse.
My husband’s favorite podcasts are The New Yorker Radio Hour, Episodes of the Axe Files (David Axelrod), Stay Tuned (Preet Bararra) and Slightly Foxed (a literary review), Highlights from Live From Here and The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish. I know, I know, he’s a very serious intellectual. I, on the other hand, want to learn new things, stay current, but also be amused and wallow around in the superficial. My favorites are the game show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, PopCulture Happy Hour, the TED Radio Hour, How I Built This with Guy Raz, Sleepwalkers, Stuff You Should Know, Ask Me Another and The Rewatchables. That gives you an idea of the breadth of choice there is!
We have had a strong recommendation from reader Diana B. She loves an NPR podcast called Hidden Brain which discovers the hidden patterns that determine human behavior through amazing stories. This sounds right up my alley and I can’t wait to try it!
For more of our podcast recommendations, read this ASE article;