By Stacy Leighton
Remember when your family car had only two entertainment options? AM or FM? Oh, sure, some lucky folks had 8-track cassette players or kid brothers to taunt, but even then your options were limited. Not anymore! If you have access to a tablet, iPod, laptop or smartphone you can access literally thousands of informative and entertaining broadcasts anytime, anywhere and on virtually every topic! Check out podcasts – you’ll love having access to endless audio “infotainment.”
So, what is a podcast? “A podcast is a form of digital media that consists of an episodic series of audio or digital radio, subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device.” (Wikipedia) It’s not new but has recently exploded into mainstream American culture. Initially introduced in the 1980s, “audio blogging” was marketed as an iPod download. Then in 2004, these iPod broadcasts became known as Podcasts. And they are no longer limited to Apple products.
Podcasts come in many flavors so there’s something for everyone. The main categories are: News, Comedy, Arts and Culture, Music, Brainy Stuff, Fiction, Sports and Technology. These can be streamed to your devices or you can download a free app to your portable devices and save podcasts for listening at your leisure. This is the best option for long car rides or if you want to conserve your data usage.
With audio infotainment your hands are free to drive, garden, cook and more, all while keeping your mind engaged. Whether you need a distraction or simply need a brain break from your day to day, podcasts are a great escape. Some of our favorite podcasts include:
How Stuff Works – Hosts Chuck and Josh deliver humor and thorough research on a variety of really interesting “stuff.” Categories include: Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Brain Stuff, Stuff to Blow Your Mind and Stuff Mom Never Told You. Go to: shows.howstuffworks.com.
National Public Radio – NPR at its finest. With their user friendly podcast catalogue, NPR makes it easier to listen to your favorite shows, like: TED Radio Hour, Story Corps, Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR Music, All Things Considered, Planet Money and more. Go to: npr.org/podcasts.
The Dave Ramsey Show – Who doesn’t need money advice? “The Dave Ramsey Show is about real life and how it revolves around money. He teaches you to manage and budget your money, get out of debt, build wealth, and live in financial peace.” Go to: daveramsey.com/show/radio.
Chalene Johnson – If motivation and inspiration are what you’re craving, check her out. “Chalene is a highly-sought-after motivational speaker that is adept at a variety of topics ranging from relationships, to life balance, to business management. She has a passion for helping others live fuller lives.” Go to: chalenejohnson.com/podcast.
Gastropod – “Food with a Side of Science & History and Humor. Gastropod is a podcast about the science and history of all things gastronomical. A show about food, through the lens of science and history.” Go to: gastropod.com.
If mental stimulation is your kind of meditation, podcasts are for you. Anytime and anywhere, podcasts will inform and entertain. We love them and I think you’ll like them, too!