Podcasting isn't all that new anymore (the format has been around for about 15 years now), but it has only been in the last couple of years that podcasts have gone mainstream.
Knowing how to listen to a podcast can be a bit confusing if you haven't quite figured it out yet, so we've put together for you this simple guide on how to start listening.
What is a podcast?
It's actually very simple: A podcast is like a radio show that you download or stream off the Internet to listen to anytime you want to listen to it.
Podcasts can vary in length from just a few minutes to a couple of hours-long. And the subject matter can be incredibly varied - it doesn't matter how niche or specific your interests are, there is likely already a podcast out there about what you are interested in.
The sound quality and professionalism of podcast hosts can also vary a lot, but that can also be part of the appeal of podcasting. Some of the world's best audio professionals are presenting stories on podcasts with sophisticated sound design and lush audio production. But then other podcasts you listen to might just be two enthusiastic amateurs talking about a subject that they are incredibly passionate about.
How do I listen to a podcast?
A podcast is just an audio file that you are playing. But there are a lot of different ways that you can press play to listen to one.
To make this simple, we'll use the award-winning SBS podcast Eyes on Gilead as an example.
The Eyes on Gilead podcast comes out every Thursday night with a team from SBS discussing the events and themes depicted each week on SBS TV show The Handmaid's Tale. They even have interviews with the stars and creators of the show. So, if you watch the TV show, you'll find this to be a really helpful companion. You can probably listen to it without watching the show, but they get specific about scenes in the show and you would likely be a bit confused about what everyone is talking about.
It can be listened to in a number of ways.
First of all, every time an episode is released, you will find an article on the SBS website letting you know there is a new episode. Those articles will have an audio file on the page, meaning you can press 'Play' and listen there and then. Like so:
The way most people prefer to listen to it, however, is through a podcast app on their mobile phone. There are a large number of podcast apps and the one you want to use will really depend on your tastes.
If you have an iPhone, Apple already pre-install an app on there called Podcasts. There also are several other good podcast apps out there that you can use. Some of the best ones include: Overcast, PocketCasts, and Castro.
If you have an Android phone, try the Google Podcasts app. But, like with an iPhone, there are a lot of options for other dedicated apps. PocketCasts is pretty great on Android, but you might like Anchor or Podbean.
Where should I listen to it?
If you've downloaded the podcast to your phone, it means you can take it anywhere. Just put on your headphones and off you go. Where do most people listen to podcasts:
- The gym
- Walking the dog
- While cooking dinner
- Catching the bus/train/ferry
You can listen anywhere.
But, be careful not to get distracted by something you're listening to. Always pay attention to what's going on around you - you don't want to step out onto the street at the wrong time or bump into anybody.
Which podcasts should I try first?
There are so many podcasts out there to listen to. If you have a friend who listens to podcasts, they'll probably know what sort of things you would like, so ask for a recommendation. Podcast listeners love recommending podcasts they like. But if you're striking out on your own, almost every podcast app will have a feature that will let you browse podcasts. It won't be long until you find a few that seem interesting.
But if you really want some specific recommendations, check out the range of podcasts here at SBS.