By now, you’ve most likely heard of podcasts – those clever little bites of information on your favourite subjects, delivered right through your headphones whenever you want.
Everyone’s got ‘their’ podcast now – but if you’re a novice looking to get into the listening game, you might not know where to start.
Here’s our how-to guide on finding your new favourite podcast.
What's a podcast?
The word itself doesn’t give many hints! A podcast is a series of audio episodes – similar to a radio show– that you can stream, which means to listen to online at any time or you can download and listen to later. Podcasts feature interviews or structured conversations around a particular topic or theme. Some podcasts are meant to be informative and provide a deep-dive into a particular topic, while others are comedic and serve up a bellyful of laughs. The options are virtually endless!
Why do I need to listen?
People listen to podcasts for many different reasons. It’s informative, it’s fun, and it’s a good time filler. If you’re heading out for a walk or commuting to and from work pop on a podcast and lose yourself in a conversation with your favourite hosts. Forget whistling while you work – lighten up the housework load by streaming your favourite episode while you do the chores.
What are they about?
Depending on the field you’re interested in, there are many informative podcasts available. Many advocacy or representative organisations offer their own podcasts in their field of expertise. For example, here at ADCET we have recently begun publishing our own podcast. We chat with people from across the world who are passionate about diversity and equity in Tertiary education. So far, our guests have included Dr Lin Martin AO, who recently completed a five-year term as a TEQSA Commissioner, Jamil Salmi, a Global Tertiary Education Expert and Dara Ryder, the CEO of AHEAD in Ireland to just name a few. We are also giving you an opportunity of listening to our webinars as a podcast to make it easier for some.
Once you’ve decided what you want to listen to, it’s time to get to the best part: tuning in!
How do I get started?
You only need a couple of things to get started: a device to listen to the podcast on, and the program to stream it through. Most people listen on their phones so that they can take the podcast with them (mobility is one of the key ideas behind a podcast as you can stream them wherever, whenever), but if you’re at your desk you can listen on the desktop as well. You can even listen to them on devices like Google Home and Alexa Smart Speakers! You only need the internet while you are downloading the episode and then it’s on your device ready to listen to at any time in any place.
As for the program, well, that’s just as easy. There are plenty of programs and apps that play podcasts, some specific to particular devices (iOS or Android) and some that can be used on any device. Some of the most popular apps are Apple Podcasts (this comes with your phone if you have an iPhone), Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and iHeart Radio. If you don’t have them already, you can download these and other podcast apps via your Appstore or Playstore. In most cases, you won’t need to pay (some subscription services, like Spotify, may interrupt your listening with ads if you use the free service). You can then search the app or program for a podcast that interests you, and click a button to subscribe so you get notified of new episodes as they’re released.
And that’s it! You’re ready to plug in those headphones!