Podcasts are brilliant. I’m so obsessed with podcasts, that I’m attempting to listen to one at the same time as writing this. It’s not doing wonders for my concentration.
Everyone likes Youtube, right? Youtube is great. You can watch all sorts of videos from all sorts of people about all sorts of things. You can watch proffessionally made content, stuff that’s previously been on TV, old films etc. There’s also a culture of Youtubers – it’s such an accessible medium that anyone can upload something they made, and some of these amatuers are bloody popular. They’re getting more views than mainstream broadcast television shows.
Podcasts are like Youtube, only they’re usually audio, downloadable, and a lot longer. The incessant jump cuts and squealing of the stereotypical Youtubers leave me feeling like Professor Farnsworth. Podcasts, on the other hand, can be hilarious, moving, fascinating, silly – most of the emotions. It’s a rich store of content being constantly pumped out by people the world over – whether they be professional radio broadcasters, or just someone with a microphone and something interesting to say. It caters to so many specilaist subjects and niches that there’s bound to be a podcast out there for everyone – but they never look.
Why do they never look? Well I think that there are some misconceptions about podcasts. The first comes from the ‘pod’ part of ‘podcasts’. You do not need an iPod or iTunes to listen to podcasts. Apple are just another distributor of podcasts, and I’ve used a picture of an iPod here because that just happens to be how I listen to podcasts. There are loads of ways to listen to podcasts. You can listen to them on other platforms: apps for every different mobile and desktop operating system, on websites like Soundcloud, Mixcloud, or bandcamp, or simply on the website of the podcast you want to hear. The second misconception is that podcasts are just radio. They aren’t. Because of our obsession with flashy graphics and good-looking TV presenters, people tend to dismiss audio as just music, or people talking between bits of music. That’s like saying that all video is just soap operas. Video is films, TV shows of every variety, music videos, home video, whatever you want it to be. Audio is the same. Podcasts aren’t just the Radio 1 breakfast show, they’re documentaries, sitcoms, stand-up comedy, interviews, news. They don’t even have to fit into these arbitary types of programs – they’re no constrained in time or content, because they’re completely independent.
So start looking into it.. I’m not going to tell you exactly what to download first, because part of the fun is discovering stuff for yourself. Look for podcasts – whether that be through iTunes or any other podcast client – download one you like the look of, and give it a listen.
This blog post, as well as being part of my continuing mission to pod-vangelise, is a warning that the floodgates are going to open and there is going to be an awful lot of podcast recommendations on this blog. Brace yourselves.