What is a Podcast? Here’s How to Listen to a Podcast

By: Olivia Schneider | Kristina Guerrero | Victor Padilla Posted: 1:24 PM, Apr 23, 2019 Updated: 9:26 AM, Apr 24, 2019

In the last 15 years, podcasts have gone from mainly niche-market to main stream. There are now over half a million podcasts in existence, but that doesn’t mean we all know what they are. So if you’ve been wondering what is a podcast?, keep reading because we spoke with Chris Bannon from Stitcher to break down the basics of how to listen to a podcast.


1. What is a Podcast?


If you’re asking yourself what is a podcast?, Chris has an easy explanation. “A podcast is simply a piece of audio, a story, or an interview, or a documentary series that you can download and listen to whenever you want,” says the Chief Content Officer at Stitcher. Pretty straightforward, right?


2. Where Did Podcasts Come From?


Now let’s talk about how this digital craze originated. “Podcasting has been around for more than a decade,” shares Chris. “But I would say it became really, really popular […] in 2014 with the publication of a series called Serial.” And since then, there’s now something for everyone – including true crime, news, comedy, fantasy and much more. Today, as many as 100 million people are listening each month to the 18.5 million available episodes from the 700,000 podcasts out there. Yowzer!


3. How to Listen to a Podcast


Chris says all the variety found in the golden age of radio can now be found in podcasting. But unlike AM/FM radio, podcasts play through apps – so here’s how to listen to a podcast! “Stitcher has built the first widely available Android app,” informs Chris. “Apple has an app that’s built into the iPhone. Spotify is getting into the podcasting business in a big way.” You can listen on your smart device through the app, or on a computer from the website. Chris even offers a pro tip on how to listen to a podcast: “If you click that little ‘subscribe’ button, it will make sure to feed you new episodes of the show.” And if you’re not sure what you want, Stitcher, for instance, makes recommendations based on what you’ve listened to and what’s trending. “Like many of the other apps, Stitcher tries to guide you through the process of becoming familiar with and enjoying the shows that you will learn to care about,” adds Chris. Sounds nifty!


4. Popular Podcasts to Stream


Now that you’ve learned how to listen to a podcast, you’ll need to know what to add to your playlist. Luckily, Chris can recommend a few popular podcasts to get you started. “Right now I think there’s never been more variety in what’s popular in podcasting,” he insists. “Joe Rogan, a talk show host and comedian, has had a show in the top ten pretty much since the dawn of podcasting. People like Conan O’Brien have gotten into podcasting in a big way.” Clearely, the hardest part of picking out popular podcasts is choosing where to start!


As you can see, podcasts offer a whole world of info and entertainment for people of all interests. Happy streaming!


Tune in to The List weekdays for everything that’s new, now and next! Check your local listings here.