I am so excited to be a part of Megan Tietz's new podcast Sorta Awesome. Megan is the queen of interesting content, both on her blog (which she closed at the beginning of the year) and on her popular FB page, plus she has about the sexiest voice I've ever heard, so you can see why podcasting would be right up her alley.
Now, I'm fairly new to the podcast-listening world, I've only been into it for about a year. But since then I've grown to love listening so much. But as I've been telling people about Sorta Awesome, it's clear that there are a lot of people who aren't quite sure what a podcast is or how to listen. Or even why they'd want to listen. So here's the briefest of rundowns to this whole new world:
Podcasts are the new radio shows. Only now you can tune in whenever and wherever you'd like. Most of them are audio only, though some of the more professionally produced podcasts will have a video element, sort of like that old E! show that was simply a video of Howard Stern recording his daily radio show. But for the wide majority, you just listen to podcasts, which means they're perfect for the car (they'll play through your bluetooth car speakers) or while exercising (through your headphones) or while cleaning or puttering around the house (through your smartphone speaker) or anywhere else you might choose.
I'm not super into music, and I rarely have the attention span for an audio book. I used to listen to a lot of AM talk radio, but I quit that habit cold turkey. Podcasts now fill that void because you can find any topic under the sun and listen to episodes whenever you want. Here's how:
(These tips are for doing this straight from your phone, because that's the fastest. You can also find podcasts on your computer using iTunes or a browser, but that's an extra step or not as mobile. My instructions are for iPhone users, but I imagine that the premise is the same for Android. Here is an article detailing the 6 best Android apps for podcast listening.)
If you have a newer iPhone, it's preloaded with the Apple podcast app. If not, you can download it free from the iTunes store. It looks like the icon above. There are other apps available - most you need to pay for - that have additional features, but for our basic purposes, the podcast app is fine and it's free. Here's a list of 10 podcast apps.
There are podcasts for all kinds of subjects: cooking, politics, business, humor, culture. You can browse the new & noteworthy section if you're looking in iTunes, or the "featured" or "top charts" button once you're in the app, but let's look at it as if you already know the name of the podcast you want.
Once you're in the app, click the search button using the far right button on the menu at the bottom of the screen. Then search, for example, "Sorta Awesome" in the field at the top. What's displaying here are the search results. The gold logo belongs to Sorta Awesome, so you're going to click that.
(The most important button on the bottom menu is the far left. My Podcasts will also take you back to your home menu with all the podcasts you've downloaded or subscribed to.)
When you find the podcast you're searching for and click on it, this screen will come up. If you already know that you're going to love it, click the subscribe button in the top right next to the podcast's logo. This means that each time a new episode posts, it will automatically download to your My Podcasts menu screen, so you don't have to go searching it out each time.
If you're curious about a podcast and want to try it out, you can always just download a episode or two before you subscribe. To do that, you click the cloud with the purple arrow. This downloads the individual episode you selected, but does not subscribe you to the whole show. Therefore if you really like a podcast, you might need to search it again later to go back and subscribe.
Once you've downloaded or subscribed to podcasts, they'll show up in My Podcasts, and the little red numbers are the number of episodes you have waiting and unplayed. Some of my favorite podcasts (not all shown here) are On Being, This American Life, Invisibilia, The Fizzle Show, and more.
When you click on one of the podcasts in My Podcasts, you're able to see that show's full feed, meaning all their past episodes, going back years in some cases. You can download any of those. I'm in the process of listening to all the back episodes of On Being because I love it so much.
When you're ready to listen, just click on the episode you want to play and it will immediately start playing. My speakerphone is loud enough and undistorted enough that I sit it out on the counter in the kitchen, and in my car it plays through the bluetooth speakers, but make sure that your car radio is set to "device" or whatever your car calls it when playing music from your phone.
You can also back it up 15 seconds if you missed something by clicking that little 15 in a circle, or fast forward 15 seconds if you want. If you're really in a hurry, or the speaker speaks especially slow, you can click the Speed 1x and change it to 1.5 or even 2 to speed it up. Often this makes it hard to understand, though.
We are so excited about the launch of Sorta Awesome, and were thrilled to be included in Apple's New & Noteworthy section. This is a totally new venture for all of us, and Megan is a wonderful leader and great host. I'll be linking to my new episodes once a month through the HH Facebook page.
I hope you'll check us out!
(And if you have any podcast recommendations or tips to add to these, please leave them in the comments.)