Podcast Clueless? Three Easy Ways to Start Listening to Great Podcasts

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September 30 is International Podcast Day and there’s a lot to celebrate. In a world where everything seems to be tied to a big price tag, listening to podcasts doesn’t have to cost a dime. And these shows can quickly become favorite sources of information and entertainment—delivered to you on demand when it suits you. Imagine that.

Podcast audiences continue to be on the rise and the low cost of podcast production and burst in content means there are lots of shows and something for everyone. From news to knitting and more niche topics than you can imagine, podcasters have got you covered. Some shows are great. Others not so much. But a little digging never hurt anyone. And as I learned from that arsenal of diet books purchased over the years, there’s a gem or two in everything if you look hard enough. Listen for a bit and you’ll find the fabulous in podcasts.

Whether you’re interested in tiptoeing or diving into podcast listening, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to get up to speed and on the road to becoming a fan. Below are three simple ways to get started.

1. Corner an Avid Podcast Listener

You can teach yourself, but podcast listeners can not only help tune you in to the process, they can point you to shows that’ll click in your life. It’s a good bet they’ll also remind you of the many podcast benefits you hadn’t considered.

Veteran podcasters and go-to-gurus of podcasting Dave Jackson and Jim Collison, co-hosts of Ask The Podcast Coach addressed the topic of introducing podcasts to the novice when I cornered them on a recent episode of their show. Jackson admits he will often take matters into his own hands when it comes to bringing wannabe podcast listeners up to speed. “I will grab their [smart] phone and go ‘What are your hobbies?’” Just like that, the novice is plugged in and ready to roll with the simple technology and a tailor-made playlist.

And when reminded that the shows are free and simple to delete if they don’t like them (“Here’s the good news, if the one you just downloaded you don’t like, just delete it and there’s only another, you know, 4 million to chose from,” chuckles Jackson.), newbies are often surprised and thrilled. It’s like getting into an all-you-can-eat buffet free.

Collision emphasizes that a lot of the power in podcast listening lies in the listener’s ability to repurpose their time in a way that is valuable to them. “It’s a [way] to recapture that time you’re in a train, on a plane, or in a car.” New listeners often have those “a-ha!” moments upon recognizing the ease and flexibility of podcast listening.

2. Jump on Your Smart Phone and Use an App

According to Edison Research, the majority of podcast listening happens via smartphones, tablet or other portable devices. That’s a shift from 2013 when 58 percent of consumers surveyed reported consuming podcasts via computer.

Collison reminds us of how easy it is to jump on a podcast with an iPhone and its free built-in Apple Podcasts app—“As I’ve said to people, ‘Look there’s a big purple icon that says ‘Podcasts’. And if you just go in there and click the little search button, search on any topic you’re interested in and download one and try it.”

But if you’re an Android user and can’t access Apple Podcasts, or if you’d like to explore other apps, try one of these to get started on your podcast journey: Stitcher Radio (Free), Google Play Music (Free), Overcast (Free/$10 per year for premium features), Pocket Casts ($4). The key word here is “try”. Waiting to get around to it or feeling intimidated by a new piece of technology means missing access to potentially cool content.

Look for the author’s celebrity podcast Whine At 9 on these apps.

3. Search Podcast Websites

Still wedded to your flip phone, but want to wander through the podcast space? Use your computer or tablet and do an online search for podcasts of interest. You can download or listen directly from the podcast website if those options are offered.

IPD

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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