If you ask us, there are two types of people in this world. Those who love podcasts, and those who are yet to discover they love podcasts.
Podcasts are a medium of audio entertainment, with an immense and diverse library of shows available to pique anyone's interest. They are the perfect thing to transform idle-minded activities throughout your day- like driving, cooking, folding laundry, walking your dog, or working out- into stimulating and enjoyable moments between your ears.
So long as you have a device with internet connection, you can catch up on current events, listen to in-depth interviews, escape into a compelling story, follow a true crime investigation, or do a deep dive into a subject you've always wanted to learn more about, from basically anywhere.
Perhaps best of all, with very few exceptions, access to this world of over 850,000 podcasts is completely free.8 If you have been on the fence about podcasts or uncertain of how it all works, please grant us the opportunity to share a few quick and easy steps to get started. Read all the way through to find some bonus listening recommendations from all of us at GTS Financial.
Your Device - You can access and listen to podcasts on basically any device with the internet, but because podcasts are often enjoyed on-the-go, I would recommend using your smart phone to store your podcasts.
A Podcast App - There are a number of applications available to access and listen to podcasts. If you are just getting started, the easiest option is to use the application already installed on your phone. If you own an iPhone, you'll have the Apple Podcasts app. Android users will have Google Podcasts. Outside of those options, Pocket Casts Podcast Player consistently gets high ratings for user experience.9
Wireless Headphones - This third 'prerequisite' is actually more of an optional addition to your podcast enjoyment kit. Eliminating pesky cords allows for you to move with ease to enjoy your podcasts without interruption.
- Similar to television, podcasts are typically released as episodes. Some podcasts release stand-alone episodes whereas some others are best listened to in the order they are released. Many longer-running podcasts have several seasons of content to explore.
- Once you've discovered an episode you are interested in, you can download it so that it is stored on your phone to listen to anytime and anywhere (even if you are no longer connected to the internet like on an airplane). If you find a show you particularly love, you can subscribe to the show, which means your app will automatically download all available episodes as they are released to be waiting for you in your app.
- A lot of podcasts have advertisement breaks (not ideal, but it is what makes them free to enjoy!). Most apps have a handy button to fast forward a number of seconds if you don't want to listen, or there are options to pay a nominal amount to enjoy ad-free content from a number of bigger podcast producers.
Choosing Your Content
What can oftentimes be the most daunting aspect of podcast enjoyment is deciding what to listen to! Here are a few tips to start curating your podcast playlist:
- Phone a Friend - It never hurts to start by talking to a podcast-listening friend who knows you well and has similar interests. Most people are excited to give recommendations!
- Use The Discovery Features - Most apps have a page made specifically to help you discover popular podcasts across various categories so you know what is likely to be highly rated and high-quality. You can also scroll down after you find a show you enjoyed to see if they provide "You may also like…" recommendations based on what you've just listened to.
- Never Underestimate the Search Tool - If you're looking for a podcast on a particular subject, or even a specific format, try plugging it in to a search - you can try 'parenting panel discussions', 'interviews with athletes', 'investigative reporting on medical malpractice'…the more specific the better!
- Sample Big Podcasting Powerhouses - There are a number of podcast studios that churn out consistently quality content - check out the offerings of National Public Radio, Gimlet Media, Radiotopia, Freakonomics Radio, and Pushkin Industries, just to name a few!
GTS Podcast Picks!
- Grant: "I'm a fan of podcasts about mindset. I also love learning from other successful people in life. As Confucius once said, "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." I recommend you check out two of my favorites: School of Greatness and Impact Theory - particularly this episode from Impact Theory about how to control negative thoughts, it's one that has always stuck with me!"
- Tyler: "One of my favorite podcasts is The Moth. It's basically regular people on a live stage telling a story from their life. I love hearing about people's stories and what makes them who they are."
- Heather: "HOW DO I CHOOSE?" I'm having trouble narrowing it down, so you're getting a short list. If you're interested in interviews with intriguing people from all spectrums of life - I'd recommend People I (Mostly) Admire. For some heartwarming and humorous storytelling, I love Heavyweight. Each episode, the host tries to help someone resolve a moment from their past, injecting his own brand of self-deprecating humor along the way. I laughed a lot during this episode. Finally, I'm a psychology and sociology nerd who loves to learn about the intangible forces that shape human behavior - the shows Invisibilia and Hidden Brain are both fun and fascinating. This Invisibilia episode called How to Become Batman is a memorable one!
- Stacey: "John Maxwell's teachings have been instrumental in my life. This podcast from him on How to Become a Life-Long Learner is one of my favorites!"
Sources and Footnotes
8. NealSchaffer.com, December 18, 2021
9. PopSci.com, October 25. 2020