Whenever I ask someone if they listen to podcasts most answer that they don’t and don’t really know why they should. In this post I’ll try to convince you that you’ll want to use podcasts for a few reasons. I’ll also show you my favorite app and shows.
You set up your podcast app once and pretty much don’t have to deal with anything other than playing your newest podcasts after this first setup. So, how does this work?
The first thing you do after you find yourself a podcast app, is subscribing to one or more podcasts. Most podcast apps allow true background sync so whenever a new episode airs and you are connected through WIFI it will download in the background. The app doesn’t even need to be open. This is critical, why?
Most of the audio listening happens when I’m on the go, that is: Commuting to work, cycling, in the gym, in the car and so on … These activities have one thing in common, the reception to connect to the internet isn’t that great most of the time. Sure, I could listen to audio tracks that I have synced with my phone but those tend to wear out after a while and collecting and syncing music ahead of those activities is tedious and time-consuming. How great would it be if there is new stuff to listen to whenever I pull out my headphones to be „audio-entertained“. Well, that’s it, that’s what podcasts can achieve for you!
Talking about convenience, the podcast apps also remember where you left of listening. So I pretty much only walk out of the door and press the play button on my headphone cord as I almost exclusively listen to podcasts with my phone.
There is really great content to listen to. Professionally produced content, new episodes every day/week. My problem is, that I don’t find time to listen to it all, but oh well. Podcasts came from Apple and therefor iTunes is still the biggest repository for podcasts out there.
Here we’re looking at the top audio podcasts in the US at the moment. Led by my own favorite at the moment “Serial”, a audio documentary of a crime investigation that took place 15 years ago over the course of a whole season (We’re talking 1h episodes here). But there is so many more to explore. I’m into tech and from Germany so I listen to Bits und so but some of my favorite tech podcasts are from the US (Accidental Tech Podcast, The Talk Show With John Gruber, VentureBeat’s What to Think).
You can listen to pretty much every genre, from news to music and comedy. If you got intrigued by now I suggest you start by listening to “Serial”, the show has a lot going for it.
As you’ve come this far you might be ready to take this podcast thing for a spin. You could use the podcast app that is preinstalled through iOS 8.0. My own favourite podcast app is Overcast from Marco Arment. Marco is quite an experienced developer being responsible for Instapaper and Tumblr in his past but he’s also really active as a podcast host. That and his past made me switch to his new app immediately when it came out a few months ago. I wasn’t disappointed, the app looks nice and works flawlessly. Some people were turned away by the necessity to create an account but I like that it prevents me loosing my subscriptions and the ability to sync to the iPad app once he releases that.
- Be sure to subscribe to a podcast to let the magic happen in the background, you could manually download each episode but that kind of defeats the advantages of the podcast system.
- Allow background refresh on iOS, otherwise the podcasts won’t download when the app is closed.
- Let me know when you find a new podcast I might have missed until now!