What Are You Missing If You Don’t Use Podcasts?

October 2018

 Almost all radio broadcasts are now made available for download to your computer or mobile device, for later enjoyment or study. The program (podcast) is downloaded as a standard audio file which can then be played back using whichever is your default media player on that device.

The original purpose of podcasts was to make programs available for listening at a time that is more convenient for you.  If you were busy at the original airtime it is a simple matter to download it to your device and listen to it at your leisure.

Another emerging use of podcasts is that you can plan ahead and download them onto your tablet or smartphone at home or anywhere that Internet is free and then play them later when Internet would be expensive or unavailable.  Internet radio of your choice can then be available anywhere, without burning up your cellular data.

Of course podcasts are available from radio all over the world.  Last winter we did a column and blog entry on the subject of Internet streaming international radio:   https://compu-home.com/2018/02/streaming-radio-the-price-is-right/  and making use also of podcast technology just makes the whole concept more useful.

It’s pretty easy to download podcasts to your laptop or desktop computer; just go to the website of the broadcaster that interests you and you’ll find that almost all of them have a button for finding and streaming or recording podcasts.  (Disclosure:  CBC Radio at this moment seems to be in a state of transition, with some instructions out of date.  Persist.)  Achieving the same thing on mobile devices is quite a bit more challenging, because they all try very hard to divert you into their special-purpose podcast App, which involves its own learning curve.

Listen Notes comes to the rescue!  This is a search engine specifically for podcasts.  Go to http://www.listennotes.com in your browser (computer, phone or tablet) and the website will help you search for any episode from any source, (out of 30,000,000) and allow you to stream and listen immediately if you currently have cheap Internet access, or record it for later if you prefer.  Listen Notes has become a busy shortcut on our phones in recent months.

Here are a few websites with overviews on podcasts:

Digital Trends:   https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/how-to-download-podcasts/

C/NET:   https://www.cnet.com/how-to/the-best-way-to-search-for-podcasts/

Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_podcasting_companies  (A list to get started)

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