Podcasts 101

One of the best innovations to arrive with mobile technology has been the emergence of Podcasts. I have been listening to podcasts for many years now and I am always surprised at just how few people really are aware of what these are.

I wanted to take some time to share with all of you, my dedicated readers just what podcasts are and how they can really help you learn more and immerse yourself in the topics you enjoy.

If you live in our new technological era and you’ve been online, then you must know something about podcasts. It’s not just me. Podcasts are becoming very popular. According to a study performed in 2014 by Edison Research, 39 million Americans listen to podcasts every month. These figures have most surely increased since then, especially considering the fact that almost all podcasts are available for free.

What Are Podcasts Anyway?

Podcasts are a direct result of the new technological development and have been around for a while. So, a podcast is a downloadable/ streamable file that contains the recording of a discussion/show. Usually podcasts can be listened to so they come in MP3 format, but they can also be videos. In terms of content, everyone can find something interesting; people who make them cover every imaginable topic and then some more.

If you want a comparison, a podcast usually sounds like a radio show. The creator invites several guests and they discuss a certain topic. Some podcasts also allow interactive interactions with listeners like direct conversations, comments, etc. One of the most important features of a podcast is its serial characteristic – just like a radio show, the podcast can have daily/weekly/monthly series.

Who Are the Podcasters?

Celebrities, comedians, scientists, blogger, regular people, and the list could go on. Actually, everyone with a decent smartphone and an online connection can create their own podcast.

Finding Podcasts

While many radio celebrities or comedians launched their career with a podcast, not everyone has something interesting to say. So how do you find the best podcasts?

Well, podcasts are usually listened on-the-go (while driving, walking, working out etc.) So, both Android and Apple devices have access to apps specially created to bring podcasts to you. Simply browse and try until you find interesting topics and people.

My Podcast app, Overcast. With a Podcast App on your SmartPhone your mind will expand as you are exposed to topics of all kinds.

My Favorite Podcast Apps

iPhone Users – Overcast offers a great combination of clean design, powerful audio and podcast management features. Overcast deftly handles episode playbacks and downloads, sends notifications of new episodes, and can play offline or through streaming if you need to save some space; plus it has some nice audio features. Voice Boost normalizes the sound levels of speech, automatically raising quiet voices and lowering loud ones. Smart Speed automatically cuts away at gaps and silence in the podcast, speeding up play without distorting audio. The most recent update adds interface enhancements, an iOS 10 widget and a new action tray that makes it easier to manage episodes of your favorite podcasts.

Android Users – Pocket Casts (Android, iOS) neatly combines style and function with an attractive design that showcases subscribed podcasts in tile format. Tap on a square to bring up an episode list and download options. A smart playlisting feature helps you sort and categorize your downloaded content for easy listening. Pocket Casts also includes video podcast support, auto-downloading and automatic cleanup of downloaded episodes to save storage space. Other helpful playback features include quick skip forward and back buttons with configurable time intervals, and a sleep timer. What may be its most important feature is its cross-platform nature that allows it to sync between devices and OS’s, which is great if you’ve got an iOS and Android device.

So there you go – if you were unaware of podcasts are did not think that taking the time to learn about them was just not worth it.

Give it a try – your mind will thank you.

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Podcast Review – History Has Never Been So Much Fun

From time to time I am going to recommend a Podcast that I think you should check out. Of course as with any podcast the listener must at first have an interest in the topic. Sometimes however, even if you have a interest in the narrative, the hosts can turn you off which is certainly not the situation with the hosts of “Stuff You Missed In History Class“.

Hosted on HowStuffWorks.com, this podcast is usually posted in a 30 or 50 minute segment (depending on the subject matter) and features two hosts (Holly and Tracy) as they attempt to separate truth from fiction about certain historical stories and personas. Sometimes, depending on how much information exists, it’s more narrative, and if it’s vague or mysterious, more speculative, but for somebody who loves reading historical fiction, biographies and history books in general, I was hooked from the start.

Check out their blog at www.missedinhistory.com and take the time to subscribe to their podcast, especially if you have a curious mind.

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