What is a podcast? How do I listen to podcasts? Why is it worth getting started? These are some of the often asked questions regarding podcasts when users are introduced to this medium. So, let’s go one by one and answer them all.
Podcast – what is it? The definition of podcast and podcasting
Your friends often praise podcasts, and you don’t know what they are? A podcast is a voice publication, usually a conversation, made available over the Internet (using RSS technology), most often made available in the form of regular episodes. The most popular podcasts are a discussion of 2 or 3 people, conducted according to a previously planned scenario. A podcast usually begins with a short intro, then the hosts move to the topic to pull on a lot of interesting threads. The final remarks and thanks to the audience are the usual culmination. Of course, this scheme is not the only valid form – there are one-person podcasts, as well as a version with a video recording (then we are talking about a video podcast). The most important feature of the podcasting world is the variety and freedom of form.
The name of the podcast itself comes from the combination of the words iPod (Apple music player) and broadcast (broadcast). Experts say that its first part may also refer to the acronym of Personal on Demand – PoD.
The beginnings of podcasting around the world date back to 2000, and the term was first used by the Guardian journalist, Ben Hammersley, four years later. Audio blogs published on amateur radio are called podcasts. The journalist also used words such as audioblogging and guerillamedia to describe the phenomenon. Today, the name podcasting means a way of distributing audio files over the Internet.
How can I listen to podcasts? On what platforms and on what devices are they available?
Podcasters operate primarily in the Internet environment, podcasts are also made available via RSS feeds, from where they can be listened to directly. A podcast also often takes the form of an audio file that you can download using a web browser and listen to at any time. How can you listen to podcasts? All you need to do is equip yourself with headphones or audio equipment and start the recording – it can make many mundane and repetitive responsibilities more pleasant.
You don’t need a special music player to listen to podcasts – all you need is a device that plays digital audio files (e.g. computer, tablet, music player or phone). The recording can also be played on a media player, smartTV or car audio system. For podcasts sent via RSS feeds, you need software that is able to download broadcasts – the relevant applications can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
The best podcasts can be found in applications such as:
- Google Podcasts,
- Podcasts (application available for users of Apple devices),
Podcasts are also available on the websites of their creators and in the so-called podcast databases. Podcasters usually operate on several different platforms in order to reach as many listeners as possible. It happens that they also publish the recordings via Social Media.
The most popular databases with podcasts
Where to find podcasts? If you are interested in radio podcasts, it is worth checking the database on the TOK FM website. There you will find a lot of broadcasts on a variety of topics – from history, through culture and politics, to science podcasts. To listen to radio podcasts, you must disable ad blocking in your web browser. Then just click the Listen button. The selected podcast should start automatically.
A recommendable place on the podcast network is also Podcasts Info. The portal publishes the latest news related to podcasting, and also contains an extensive catalog of the most interesting recordings. You’ll find science, arts and culture podcasts there. There is no shortage of music and business podcasts. Interestingly, listeners can try their hand at podcasting and add their own RSS files to the database.
Advantages of podcasts and where does this great popularity come from?
More than half of Americans regularly use podcasts. Meanwhile, in the EU this type of program is listened to at least once a month by almost 30% of Internet users. Why are Spotify podcasts, iPhone podcasts, and other types of audio so popular? The biggest advantages of podcasts are:
- content diversification – there are scientific, business, entertainment, thematic, lifestyle podcasts – everyone will find something for themselves,
- the option of listening at any time, at home, at work, in the car or public transport,
- the ability to perform while listening to podcasts other activities, e.g. ironing, cooking or driving a car.
What types of podcasts are the most popular?
A single author or several presenters can host a podcast, and guests are often invited for a bit of variety. Podcasts come in various forms – a blog, an amateur or professional radio broadcast, or even a multi-episode story read by a teacher. The most popular are talk shows, entertainment, science, lifestyle, business and technology podcasts. Podcast listeners often care about development, so they choose educational programs.
The most popular podcasts in the world
Deciding on which podcast is the best or most popular is not an easy task, since multiple aspects need to be taken into consideration. The easiest way would be to just accept which have the most total listeners over all platforms, however that would just promote the least focused podcasts with the widest array of topics. Such a list would be unfair to popular podcasts that focus on a specific topic eg. astronomy. However, let’s give it a try…
Some of the most popular and considered best podcasts in the world are:
- The Tim Ferriss Show – the podcast is run by the author of the best-selling book The Four Hours of Work Week. The subject covers issues such as self-development, effective work or running your own business,
- And That’s Why We Drink – another proposition for fans of stories with a thrill, only for the brave,
- TED Talks Daily – a proposition for those who appreciate diversity, this audition plays are real a mine of knowledge on everything,
- The Joe Rogan Experience – comedian Joe Rogan will bring you to tears of laughter,
- The Michelle Obama Podcast – Michelle Obama talks to his guests about life, dreams, successes, relationships.
Podcaster, meaning who? Does such a profession exist? Who are the famous podcasters?
Radio and internet podcasts are fairly straightforward to create. All you need to create a recording is any audio recording software (e.g. Audacity – a free program) and inexpensive audio equipment – e.g. headphones with a microphone. So it is not surprising that the number of podcasters in the world has massively increased. It is rarely an independent profession – a podcast is rather a form of additional promotion of the business and a good way to share knowledge and experience with the audience. It is worth mentioning, however, that popular podcasters are invited to marketing collaborations, and often additionally supported by their recipients. This occupation may therefore turn out to be quite profitable.
Who are the people who host podcasts from Spotify, iTunes, and more? It is difficult to give a single answer to this question. The form of the podcast is extremely open – they are written basically on every topic, in almost every “industry”. Some podcasters specialize in interviews, such as Joe Rogan, others want to share their thoughts on life and relationships. Some of them have a talent for storytelling, as in the case of crime podcasts with Simon Whistler.
Some of the lecturers are experts in their fields who want to share their knowledge and experience. For example, Tony Robbins is a strategist that has helped numerous people to change their approach to business and led them to success. Another example may be Justin Malik (Optimal Living Daily) that uses their education to motivate listeners to change their lifestyle.
These examples illustrate one of the fundamental characteristics of podcasts as a genre – diversity. On websites you can find programs on every topic, conducted by people from various industries.
Further expansion of podcasts in the world – what can we expect?
Podcasting is becoming more and more popular, both in the EU, US and in the world. Experts believe that this form of communication has become an attractive and profitable product in recent years. Among the best podcasts you can find fully professional content with high educational value and millions of downloads. In addition to the high quality of broadcasts, the development of the industry is also influenced by the growing popularity of mobile devices and changing habits related to content consumption.
It is possible that in the future, podcasts will become more popular than browsing the web or reading blogs. Recorded materials can be listened to at any time of the day, while performing ordinary everyday activities. How to become a podcaster? If you consider yourself an authority in a given field and want to start sharing your knowledge and experience through podcasting, all you need to do is learn how to start recording and think about ways to promote your channel to your audience. The basis for being in this world is originality, an interesting idea and the ability to share your thoughts in an interesting way.