What is a podcast?

Have you ever wished you could binge a show without being forced to do absolutely nothing else? Great news: You can do just that with podcasts. Welcome to the wild and wooly world of audio storytelling, my friend. From true crime and politics to horror and geek culture, the possibilities are endless.

So, here’s everything you need to know about podcasts and how they work.

What is a podcast, exactly?

Podcasts are essentially episodic talk shows that you can listen to on demand. Some center on one niche topic or follow a general, overarching theme with each episode focusing on a different key issue. Others are about anything and everything, appealing to those who love variety news.

Generally, podcasts have one to three hosts who do the talking throughout each episode. Occasionally, these hosts bring in guests to chat about their experiences or applicable knowledge. Such guests tend to be well-known public figures, fellow content creators, or relevant experts.

Also, the production value varies. Some are extremely casual, featuring a couple of friends chatting about their interests for a small online audience. Meanwhile, others develop into pop culture phenomena. These often garner massive cult followings, with their hosts occasionally becoming celebrities in the process.

Why should I listen?

The main selling point is sheer convenience. While some hosts film their sessions to make them available for viewing, most people are drawn to podcasts because they’re purely auditory. It’s so much easier to be productive while listening to an audio recording instead of, say, having a TV show on “in the background” (which we all know means “watching the show instead of working”).

Furthermore, there’s pretty much a podcast for everything, so it’s easier than ever to become an expert on any given subject. Want to hear a fresh take on historical events? Here you go. Want to catch up on the news without having to read? There’s one for that, too. Want to hear people talk about pens, film scores, or even chameleons? Name anything in the world and there’s probably a podcast about it.

How do I listen?

First off, it’s time to do some hardcore Googling to find a podcast that’d suit your fancy. There are about a million listicles across the internet to help you, ranging from the best podcasts about sex to ones about geek culture. The podcast community on Reddit is also a great resource if you’re looking for the perfect fit.

Keep in mind that you can listen to podcasts via several different platforms. YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and, of course, the Apple Podcasts/Google Play apps all have countless options for you to sift through. Moreover, many podcasters keep their audio on their own unique websites, so you can listen to your favorites directly from the web.

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Anna Maria Ward

Anna Maria Ward

Anna Maria Ward is the social media editor of the Daily Dot. Her work focuses on the intersections of entertainment, pop culture, and social justice. She previously contributed to the Houston Chronicle and Orange magazine.