If you’re like me and spend time on public transport to and from work each day, it’s a good idea to have something on hand to bide the time during stops or changeovers. That’s where podcasts come in. A perfectly-timed podcast will last from when I leave the office until I reach home (or vice versa). For the uninitiated though, let’s take a look at what podcasts are, why they’re awesome and which ones are worth getting your hands on.
Hang on a second… what are podcasts?
Simply put, podcasts are audio programs created for distribution and download via the Internet. Think of them as radio programs minus the long ad breaks, and without having to tune your dial or restrict yourself to local content. You can fast-forward through any sections you don’t like and if you need to hear something again, it’s an easy rewind. Best of all, if you need to leave part way through a podcast, then you’ll be able to pick up exactly where you left off.
Users like you and me can subscribe to podcasts in programs like iTunes, and new episodes will simply download when they become available. Sure, you can listen to them on your home computer, but I’d recommend getting a portable device capable of playing them like a smartphone or MP3 player. Then simply transfer your podcasts across to your hand-held device and you’ll have your favourite podcasts in your pocket whenever you need them.
Podcasts can be timeless, or as up to date as you want. There are podcasts which are based on current news and events while others continue to be relevant even if you listen to them a year after their record date.
What can I listen to?
That depends on what your tastes are! If you’re an ABC fan like I am, then you’ll be glad to know they host a range of podcasts on their website (all of which are available through iTunes), with content from NewsRadio, triple j, Classic FM and much more. Even if you’ve got a passing interest in Clinical Anesthesia, then there’s a regular podcast for you. There are plenty of options to go around. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about sport, film, music, politics, technology or science… there’s guaranteed to be a podcast that will knock your socks off.
One of my personal favourite podcasts compelled me a few weeks ago to jot down the name of a film called The Room. I’d never heard of it before, but in the space of 45 minutes it was suddenly a must-see thanks to a podcast called How Did This Get Made? (or HDTGM for short). Essentially it puts three hosts in a room together, gives them a microphone and an assignment to watch the worst of modern-day cinema. Superman III, Battlefield Earth, Catwoman and other ‘classics’ are then dissected scene-by-ludicrous-scene for my listening pleasure.
I’ve been hooked on podcasts for years and although most of my listening revolves around music or American sports, HDTGM is definitely one of my favourites.
A few words of advice for those beginning their podcast journey; try dipping your toes in as opposed to diving in head first. Download a few podcasts, listen to them and see if they’re your style. Don’t try to download too many different episodes or podcasts, especially if your time is limited. Being a podcast listener will fill up your spare time quicker than you can say “I’m so happy I never again have to listen to that radio station which plays the same 10 songs by three different bands over and over again”.
So what are you waiting for? Go searching, and happy podcasting!