A few years ago I stumbled into the world of podcasts and my life is better for it. Not only do they help pass my 2 hour daily commute; they enrich my life. I’ve listened to episodes about topics I’d never typically have gained insight into. Breaking up, bad babies, killer paracetamol, paedophiles, introverts, colours, Typhoid Mary; just some of the things I’ve learnt about through podcasts. Now I realise summarising an episode into one word just won’t do it justice, so you’ll need to take my word on this.
What is a podcast?
I’m going to give a bit of an introduction here for readers who don’t know what podcasts are. I know the word confused me before I started researching the medium. A podcast is an episodic series of audio made available online (you get video and novel podcasts too, but I’m focussing on audio). They’re like neatly little packaged radio shows with amazing production quality, minus the terrible DJs, useless content and bad advertising. They’re themed and are usually between 25 and 55 minutes long. I like the long ones. Get your mind out of the gutter. Podcast file sizes are typically smaller than music files, and you’re looking at roughly 22MB for a 50 minute podcast (file sizes vary, but they’re small).
If you scroll to the end I’ve included a step-by-step guide to help you download your first podcast, if you haven’t already. And no, you don’t have to download them, you can stream them and listen online, just click on the links (podcast titles) below…
10 Podcasts That’ll Make Your Life More Awesome
1. This American Life: Ira Glass hosts this award-winning show comprising first-person stories that are touching, funny and surprising
2. The Moth: true stories told live and without any notes to standing-room-only crowds worldwide
3. RadioLab: hosted by Jad Abumbrad and Robert Kulwich, this is where science meets culture and information sounds like music
4. Freakonomics Radio: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore the hidden side of everything
5. TED Radio Hour: a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions and fresh approaches to old problems
6. NPR Programs – Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: have a laugh and test your knowledge in this weekly current events quiz
7. Stuff You Should Know: explores topics like “8 Reasons Why Your Body Is So Gross” and “How The Paleo Diet Works”
8. The Nerdist: Chris Hardwick talks about stuff with his two nerdy friends Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, and someone more famous than they are
9. The Bugle: John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman leave no hot potato unbuttered in their hit weekly topical comedy show
10. Death, Sex & Money: a biweekly podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation
I received a heap of awesome recommendation on twitter today but decided not to include those before I’ve listed to them, so I’ll do a follow up post soon. If you’ve got any you’d like to share with readers, please comment on this blog post with a link to the podcast – let’s share the love.
How to Download a Podcast From Your iPhone
Sorry BlackBerry and Android users, I can’t help you. Well, I suppose I can – click here to buy an iPhone. iPhone users, this is how to download a podcast:
Go to the app store and search for ‘Podcasts’ to download the app to your iPhone. Click on the purple ‘Podcasts’ app/icon, the one with the little ‘i’ wearing a halo.
Click ‘Search’ (bottom right) and then type the name of the channel you’re after into the search field e.g. This American Life
Click on the podcast channel you’re searching for
To download, click on the little cloud shooting an arrow. The little arrow will turn into a spinning progress wheel while it downloads (doesn’t take long at all, less than a minute). You can then click on that episode to play it.
If you’d like to find the channels you subscribe to or the podcasts you’ve downloaded, click on ‘My Podcasts’ bottom left.
Connect your phone via Blue Tooth or AUX cable to your car audio for easy listening.