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Nowadays, all you hear about is podcasts. But what is a podcast, exactly?

We’re here to answer that question and more for you. Keep reading to find out all about podcasts.

Podcast: What does it mean?

If you have absolutely no idea what a podcast is, that’s okay! A podcast is a digital audio show that people can download onto their computers or smartphones. Podcasts are kind of like radio shows, except they are listened to on the computer rather than on traditional radio.

The first podcast was created in 2004, and the term “podcast” was coined that same year. In 2005, George W. Bush became the first president to have his weekly address delivered via podcast.

Now, there are thousands of podcasts available and many different podcast platforms—websites and companies that are dedicated to recording and delivering podcasts to listeners.

What kinds of podcasts are there?

Just like television shows, there are podcasts in every genre for every interest imaginable. Some podcasts are fictional—they have serialized stories much like a television show, with a script, characters, and actors. Nonfiction podcasts, however, are hugely popular.

There are podcasts about history, science, literature, music, sports, and so much more. If you can think of a topic, there’s probably a podcast about it. For instance, there’s a podcast we featured recently all about hearing and sound! Read about that here: Twenty Thousand Hertz

How do I listen to a podcast?

There are many ways you can listen to a podcast. If you know the title of the one you want to listen to (check out some of our favorite podcasts here), you can probably listen to it on your computer on the podcast’s website.

One of the most famous podcasts in recent years is called “Serial” from NPR. Each season the host investigates a criminal case where there may be more to the story. If you wanted to listen to “Serial”, you could Google “Serial NPR” and then click on the very first link, which will take you to the “Serial” podcast page: Here.

If you don’t know what type of podcast you want to listen to and you’d rather just browse, there are several ways you can explore. There are free apps you can download on your computer or smartphone that let you search through hundreds of podcasts.

Apps to Listen to Podcasts

Here are three of our favorite podcast apps with step-by-step instructions on how to download and use them. You do not need to download all three—most podcasts are on all three of these apps so you can find them anywhere!

Using Stitcher

  1. One of the biggest podcasts platforms is Stitcher. Download the app here and choose whether you’re using an Apple iPhone, Android phone, or a computer.
  2. Make a user login with your email address and a password—or you can use your Facebook account login information.
  3. Click the “Browse Shows” option and scroll through the menu of topics to find shows you might be interested in!

Using Apple Podcasts

If you have an iPhone, chances are you already have a podcast app downloaded. It looks like this:

  1. If you see this app on your phone, click it
  2. You can scroll down to the “Browse by Category” section and flick through the different categories. If you have no idea what show you want to listen to, scroll to “Top Shows” and look through the most popular shows of the moment.
  3. If you don’t see this icon but you do have an iPhone you can click the App Store icon and search “podcast” and download the Apple Podcast app from there.

Using Spotify

Spotify is a music-streaming app that also recently started hosting podcasts. It can be used on a smartphone or on a computer.

  1. Download the Spotify app. Your app should download automatically and you simply open the downloaded file and click “Run.” If you’re using a smartphone, you can download the Spotify app via the App Store.  
  2. Make a username and password with your email or your Facebook login
  3. On the left side of the menu, click “Browse” and then click “Podcasts”
  4. Scroll through the many different podcast categories to find shows for you!