How to listen to a podcast

Woman on a bus with earphones
Image by Nick Walker from Pixabay.

It’s hard to avoid mentions of podcasts these days, but listening to podcasts is still a novelty for many people.

So here’s a quick introduction for anyone thinking of trying out being a podcast listener.

First up, why? Well, listening to podcasts is rather like having TV on demand (except without the pictures). You can pick what you want to listen to and when, without being subject to the scheduling whims of a radio station.

There are two ways of listening to podcasts. One is simply to go to the relevant web page and listen from there. For example, go to this link and you’ll find a podcast episode of mine about why people join political parties. You can listen right away.

There are also podcast apps you can instal on your smartphone or tablet, with many excellent free apps available. These come with extra features, such as the option to subscribe to a podcast so that its new episodes automatically appear when they come out. No need to remember to go back to a website to check if a new episode has been released.

Here’s how you can get started with a podcast app on an Andriod phone:

My own preferred podcast app for Android is Podcast Addict.

Here’s how you can get started with a podcast app on an iPhone (also works for iPads):

One important detail: it’s common to talk about ‘subscribing’ to podcasts. That doesn’t mean paying over money. Most podcasts are free to listen to. Some podcasts are behind paywalls so that, for example, you can only access them if you pay for access to a specific podcast platform, rather like Netflix has some unique shows. But in general, when you see a button asking you to ‘subscribe’ to a podcast or to ‘follow’ it, that’s all free.

Hope you enjoy listening to podcasts and, of course, I’d particularly recommend Never Mind The Bar Charts. A good first episode to try out is the one with Duncan Brack in which we looked at the lessons from Jo Grimond’s time as party leader for the Liberal Democrats in the 21st century.

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