It is pretty common these days for people to try and broaden their knowledge in different topics through Googling, looking at Youtube how-to videos, Wikipedia, blogs, etc. But another resource I’ve tapped into is subscribing to podcasts. It is amazing how many people regularly podcast content for free for your listening pleasure. And there are a lot of really good ones that are guaranteed to enlighten you in any topic you may be interested in. Here are a few thoughts on how to get started and how to make subscribing to podcasts useful for you.
First, some of you may still be asking, what’s a podcast? According to wikipedia, a Podcast is “series of digital media files, usually digital audio or video, that is made available for download via Web syndication.” Someone who runs a podcast will typically record and broadcast an episode regularly, and thanks to many free programs out there these days, these episodes can be made available to us as soon as they are broadcasted. It is common for people to download these podcasts, load them into a media player (such as an iPod) so they can conveniently listen to these podcasts anywhere.
There are many ways that people manage and discover podcasts. There are different “podcast catchers” out there, as well as websites with lists of different podcasts to subscribe to. Usually these podcasts are in the form of an “.xml” feed.. it works similarly to an RSS feed. The address for that feed is what you want to enter when asked what feed you would like to subscribe to. When a new episode is available, the podcast catcher will see it in the Podcast feed and download it. I personally manage my podcasts through iTunes because I find it very easy to search for podcasts in the iTunes store, subscribe to them right away inside iTunes, and then listen to them. Another customizable setting that is worth noting is the “auto delete” setting. By default, a podcast program will usually auto-delete podcasts after a certain number of days, or after they are played. I like to have control over which podcasts I keep and which podcasts I delete, so I usually select whatever option it is that never deletes podcasts episodes.
Whatever you’re interested in, there is probably a podcast for you to subscribe to. For me, I’ve listened to and watched podcasts about topics ranging from personal finance, the stock market, the economy… to food, fitness, health… to discussions about the environment and living an eco-friendly lifestyle, to free music lesson series, free “personal trainer,” workout music… I even subscribe to my favorite morning show so I don’t miss out on the fun topics they discuss at 6am when I’m still sleeping. The possibilities are endless. Just search for a topic you’re interested in and start subscribing!