Why Listen to Podcasts
Posted by Zach Magnuson in / November 7, 2016
The Purpose of Podcasts
The primary purpose of podcasts is to entertain. Humans have been telling stories for eons. Podcasts are just the latest and greatest method for transmitting those stories. Thanks to the internet and podcasts, we all have access to some of the greatest storytellers and entertainers on the planet. It’s really an amazing time to be alive.
Of course, not all audio entertainment comes in the form of a narrative. There are also talk shows on a massive variety of subject. Everything from pop-culture to sports and comedy has been turned into an entertaining audio-show.
Well-made podcasts serve as entertainment even if that is not their primary purpose. If the audience doesn’t enjoy a podcast, they will stop listening. A skilled podcaster will make his show engaging no matter the subject.
Learning is the biggest reason that I to listen to podcasts. Thanks to podcasts, I can learn about finance, design , science, politics, psychology, spirituality and history on any given day. Podcasts give me access to expertise and ideas that I would have never come across otherwise.
Podcasts can teach you to get your finances in order, help you start a business, educate you on current events and much more. The possibilities are nearly endless. If there is a subject that you are interested in, I can almost guarantee that there is a podcast about it.
Advantages of Podcasts
Podcasts Are “Eyes-Free”
There are lots of other ways to entertain yourself or learn. Most people prefer netflix or a videogame for pure entertainment. And I’ll admit that I actually learn better by reading than listening. I like to be able to reread, cross-reference sources, and open related links as I study a given subject. Podcasts don’t lend themselves to any of those things.
So what gives? Why do I recommend listening to podcasts if it’s not the ideal medium for entertainment or education?
Podcasting has one huge advantage over most other mediums: it doesn’t demand your visual attention. I can learn about retirement accounts or how to use science to build new habits WHILE I’M DRIVING TO WORK. Podcasts fit into the gaps in my life that used to go to waste. I used to listen to local radio stations with their seemingly endless supply of commercials. Now, I can actually take advantage of my commute to improve my life in meaningful ways.
You can hear the story of how the Roman Republic fell while I’m walking my dog. If you’re a weirdo like me, you can even get a waterproof bluetooth speaker and learn how to invest in real estate while you shower.
Podcasts Are Asynchronous
Podcasts are an asynchronous medium. Asynchronous is a big word that basically means “not at the same time”. Like email or texting, podcasts are not consumed as they are broadcast. Instead, episodes are published and then the audience listens at their own convenience.
In a way, podcasting was well ahead of it’s time. Back in 2009, asynchronous media consumption was not widespread like it is today. Now we have Netflix for video, Spotify for music and Kindle for reading. We’re not beholden to some cable executive’s schedule whims. We devour our content on demand and podcasting fits right in.
Just because an episode comes out on Mondays at 8, doesn’t mean I have to listen to it then. It will be there waiting for me on Thursday. If a topic doesn’t interest me, I can skip it. And if I fall in love with a new podcast, I can binge-listen.
Podcasts Are (Mostly) Free
While there are some podcasts out there that cost money, the overwhelming majority are completely free enjoy. Even podcasts that run ads have significantly fewer interruptions than traditional media. It’s pretty amazing that we have such an array of quality resources at our fingertips for no cost at all.
Easy and Convenient
If you’re living in the US, there’s a greater than 50% chance that you have an iPhone. iPhones have a podcasting app installed by default. If you have an Android or other mobile device, it’s easy to download a free podcasting app like Stitcher or Google Play.
Once you have your podcasting app, it’s pretty straightforward to subscribe to all your favorite shows. After you subscribe, new episodes will automatically downloaded as they go live. No additional effort is required. All that left to do is hit ‘play’ and enjoy.
If you haven’t ventured into the world of podcasting yet, you’re missing out. Podcasts have the power to brighten your day, deepen your knowledge, and improve your life. With the low barrier to entry and multitude of options, there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
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