I only recently started listening to podcasts. They've been around since the early 2000s, but I first started looking into podcasts when I came back to the United States after living in Japan in 2013, and I was searching for a way to keep up my language skills. I found a few Japanese grammar podcasts, and from there opened a whole world of entertainment and education that I couldn't believe I'd been missing out on for ten years! If you're not a regular podcast listener, take a look at how you might take advantage of this resource.
What Is a Podcast?
Podcasts are basically on-demand talk radio. You can listen to a single episode of a podcast that interests you, or you can subscribe so that a podcast is delivered to your inbox or device every time a new episode gets posted.
The genres of podcasts vary as widely as the internet itself. Some podcasts are run by news websites to give you more in-depth information such as interviews. Others are run by fans of a TV show or genre of literature, so fellow fans can listen to guest discussions and possible listen to the writers or actors themselves. You can find podcasts that are entertaining and follow celebrity news or provide comedy sketches. If you want to learn a new skill, plenty of podcasts are available for download to teach you everything from growing a small business to training your dog to investing in stocks. The sky's the limit with what you can learn—simply download an episode and listen anytime, anywhere.
Why Listen to Podcasts?
Podcasts are great for keeping your mind active any time your hands are busy. I listen while I walk the dog, do the dishes, drive, cook, sort laundry, etc. If you listen to audio books or music on your commute to work, this is a perfect time to listen to a podcast.
Although plenty of podcasts exist for entertainment purposes, my favorite podcasts are meant to educate and enlighten. Liz recently wrote an article about becoming a life-long learner, [Link] and I think podcasts are a great way to keep your brain sharp and learn more about the world. I may not have time to sit down and read a book about how to effectively teach the kids in my class at church, but I can turn on a podcast and get some ideas as I complete my grocery shopping.
Podcasts have allowed me to feel inspired and rejuvenated in ways I didn't expect. Many of the podcasts I subscribe to regularly have guest speakers, exposing me to new modes of thinking. It's easy to browse the podcasts app on your mobile device for something that interests you, but don't feel afraid to take a chance on something different. Most podcasts are just a few minutes long, letting you learn something new in the time it takes to make lunch.
Do you already have a favorite podcast? What do you like to listen to? Share your favorites with us on social media!