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The first stage is curiosity. Most people have heard of a podcast, but when they are asked to define what a podcast is, they generally don’t know what to say. So, what is a podcast, anyway? According to prominent podcaster Adam Curry, “Podcasting is putting content into small files and releasing them episodically to the public.” Over the years, this form of sharing information via audio has risen in popularity and has surpassed standard radio broadcasting, as seen in the wavestreaming blog about podcasts (see photo).
This increase in popularity could be due to the second stage of the podcast love affair: obsession. Set up much like a radio show, there is often a host who tells stories, with themed music to go along with it. The music offers the listener some good time to mull over the information just heard before they are buried with an onslaught of more information. (Don’t be worried when you set a podcast’s theme song as your ringtone or manically stalk your favorite podcast host –– that’s all part of the obsession phase.)
Which leads me to the third stage: denial. While most people don’t want to admit that they have an obsession, sometimes admittance is the first step. The denial stage often involves frantically looking for more podcasts to listen to, asking friends for all of the podcasts they’ve enjoyed, and even asking strangers for suggestions.
This is when stage four begins: acceptance.The pop culture media outlet Popsugar gives a nice guide on how to determine which kinds of podcasts best suit you (find it at http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Where-Find-Podcasts-24659805). First you must determine whether you want to watch or listen to your podcasts; then you must figure out what genre you want; and finally you must pick a category to listen from (news and noteworthy, top charts, or the essentials). Once you’ve nailed that, you just have to keep up with your podcast by checking for updates.
The last stage is finding a balance. Listening to a few podcasts in one week may not be the healthiest, but who’s judging? The key is to use Popsugar’s guide and find the station you like most while keeping a steady and balanced intake of podcasts.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Check out This American Life on iTunes or on their website (thisamericanlife.org). They offer a plethora of different audio podcasts with different subjects and themes: if you go to their radio archives you will find 548 different podcasts spanning 20 years. You can also refine your search by tag. They offer everything from environmental issues, to politics, to pure entertainment.
Once you do that, check out serialpodcast.org to listen to an incredible story of a young man who was charged for murder in 1999. Adnan Syed was 17 years old when his ex-girlfriend was reported missing and then found dead a month later. “Serial,” a story told by former producer for This American Life Sarah Koenig, causes the listener to question the innocence of Adnan and the integrity of the justice system. “Serial” has caused a lot of controversial discussion and is known widely by the podcast community, so it is essential for the newest lover of podcasts to be knowledgeable about it.