Recently, I began to sheepishly tell friends about the project I’d been working on for the last several months. To supplement my blog, Who I Met Today, a podcast (same name) launches on January 13.
As I spread the word, I received a mixed bag of comments. From “Outstanding!” and “Congratulations!” to “I don’t listen to podcasts.” And, over and over again, I heard from women in my age group, “I don’t know how to listen to a podcast.”
My assumption? If those women aren’t sure how to tune in, loads of others aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of podcast listening either. I am by no means an expert, and I’m sure I’ve left out a few essential details, but here’s a quick and dirty tutorial based on the questions people have asked me most often.
A podcast is a sort of radio show – a talk show – consisting of episodes (like a TV show). The length of each episode, number of episodes, and episode frequency vary from show to show.
Millions of podcasts are out there, the quality varies, and topics cover everything one can imagine. If you like to travel, quilt, paint, cook, garden, or mudlark, there are innumerable shows for you to tune in to.
Are you searching for book or movie or music ideas? A podcast can steer you in the right direction. If true crime, celebrity interviews, or pop culture intrigue you, you’ll find a show. A budding writer? Thousands of podcasts will guide you in crafting a novel, essay, or article.
Although an overwhelming supply of shows exists, the trick is to find the few (or one!) that you’ll enjoy. For the most part, I rely on friend recommendations. I also discover new shows through articles and other podcasts I listen to.
Within your podcast app (more on this later), you may search for shows or scroll through “most popular” lists. And try an internet search such as “podcasts for women over 50” or “podcasts for knitters,” for example.
Many excellent podcasts are under the New York Times or NPR umbrellas, but millions not affiliated with fancy media groups are also available. The trick is to locate the show YOU find interesting and look forward to listening to. Usually, I give a new show 10 minutes. If it doesn’t catch me, I’m on to another round of trial and error.
Podcast episodes range from 5 minutes to 4 (or more) hours. I prefer episodes lasting 20-30 minutes. I listen in my car as I drive from the grocery store to the dry cleaners to Target. Many women prefer an hour episode to listen to as they walk or work out.
And, yes, you can stop a show and resume listening later.
You can listen whenever you desire. Again, you can start and stop or rewind or re-listen to an episode.
In the podcast world, subscribe does not mean pay. Although I think paid podcasts may exist, I’ve never listened to one that costs money.
If you subscribe to a show, new episodes – upon release – will be delivered to your device. Or, you may choose not to subscribe. In this case, you can search for episodes of interest and listen at your leisure.
Author’s note: It is easy to subscribe, and you may always cancel. I subscribe to a handful of shows. They automatically download to my phone, and I have them ready to go in the car, on a walk, or on a plane.
You need a device – phone, tablet, computer – and headphones. If you listen in your home, you may choose to forgo the headphones.
A podcast lives on the internet, and you have two options for tuning in to each podcast episode. You may hear the podcast – via phone, tablet, or computer – on the podcast’s website. Example: I go to the Radio Cherry Bombe website, find the podcast episode page, select an episode, and listen.
Or, and this is what I typically do, many listeners choose to download the podcast episode and listen – without an internet connection – while driving, walking, or traveling on a plane. To download, get a podcast app on your device and search for the show. (Keep reading!)
Depending on your device, you can listen to podcasts through the following apps. I have never paid for a podcast show, so beware if you are asked to do so!
This article also provides some good instructions.
I subscribe to the following podcasts (and drop in on several others from time to time):
Radio Cherry Bombe – If you’re a foodie or a cook, this show features interviews with women in the culinary industry.
Thoughts From a Page – For book lovers who’d like to learn how their favorite novel came to be, Cindy Burnett interviews authors of recently published books. (Cindy kindly agreed to be my first guest on the January 13 episode.)
Midlife Matters – Three Nashville ladies, aged 45-65, discuss “what keeps women our age up at night.”
How I Built This – a podcast from NPR, Guy Raz features people who have founded a company.
If you have questions, please comment below, and I’ll do my best to help!
Do you listen to podcasts? Which shows do you enjoy? How long do you prefer episodes to be?