If this season of pencil and backpack displays inspires a bit of nostalgia for you, you're not alone. Just because your back to school days are over, learning doesn't have to be -- celebrating International Podcast Day might be just the way to carve some fresh wrinkles into that big old brain!
What's a podcast?
Though the origin of the word podcast is a hybrid of the -cast from "broadcast" and the -pod of Apple's groundbreaking iPod (celebrating the 16th anniversary of its original introduction later this month on October 23rd), it might be easier to just think of a podcast as radio media on demand. Though commonly associated with a "talk radio" format, podcasts aren't limited to folks espousing political ideas or recapping sports play-by-plays (although those podcasts exist, if that's your bag). Instead, today's podcast lineup offers a huge variety of media content created by thousands of individuals. You can podcast your favorite public radio shows, explore found stories and sounds, learn in-depth details on current scientific theory, creep yourself out with true crime stories, or cultivate your appreciation of old-school radio drama -- the possibilities are endless.
International Podcast Day
Podcast audiences have increased steadily since the term was coined in 2004, which is awesome -- as more listeners are created, podcast options increase exponentially. On September 30th, podcast creators and fans worldwide celebrate their love of sharing and listening by starting conversations about this awesome media format, in an effort to keep that listenership expanding.
How do I listen?
From alarm clock to digital camera to navigation system, smartphones these days fulfill needs that previously required all manner of tech to meet. Using your phone as a portable media device is already a popular current pastime -- but what if you used your phone to learn things? iOS users can listen to podcasts with iTunes, and Android users can utilize GooglePlay, but there are also dozens of apps available for iOS and Android devices to make podcast listening (and sharing) a snap. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular order!
PocketCasts - available for iOS or Android, PocketCasts uses an easy-to-navigate grid format home page that indicates which podcasts have new episodes, has options for downloading content for offline-listening, and a Discover section organized by trending, top downloads, category, and your location.
Stitcher - available for iOS or Android, Stitcher navigates from a front page but also allows listeners to build their own podcast stations with custom titles. You can discover new podcasts through the Browse feature, or hit the Discover tab while listening to see more podcasts like the one you're currently enjoying. Stitcher also provides an option to download content for offline-listening.
PodOmatic - available for iOS or Android, PodOmatic is unique because it's a platform for both listening to and creating podcasts. If you're looking for the place to explore podcasts and then jump right in, this would be a great spot to start!
BeyondPod - available for Android users, BeyondPod allows users to ceate Feeds and add content organized by trending, recommended, publisher, category, country or interest. Extensive settings options allow you to choose the way you view your home page and feeds, and offer control of sync and delete options, for a uniquely customized experience.
What should I listen to?
This is a podcast lover's favorite question. If a decade ago there was a fantastic range of choices, at this point there's a veritable world of podcast options. We're going to toss a few out there in the Magenta Lounge -- take a look and chime in here: Ears on: Podcast playlist, anyone?