When I first started listening to podcasts, I was in a musical lull. Despite my affinity for creating playlists and tracking new releases, I was anything but excited to listen to music on my commute. A close friend recommended I try Serial
, as she’d been listening and was desperate to talk to someone about it. After the first episode, due in large part to Sarah Koenig’s inviting delivery but also the gripping whodunnit story between Adnan and Hae Min, I was hooked.
I became a podcast junkie. Podcasts were like books, offering a different medium to explore stories or lessons I found intriguing. Instead of spending most of my time on NPR’s New Music Friday
, I found myself rifling through familiar podcast production groups’ websites or BuzzFeed “Top Recommended Podcasts” lists. The best part, I wasn’t alone in having an almost insatiable hunger to listen. My husband and I would debrief on podcasts after work; a girlfriend and I started a monthly “Podcast” recap involving a full FaceTime at the end of a selected season; my team at work even had a dedicated Slack channel. Some may say I was doing the most
...other podcast fanatics might say not enough.
Having hosted discussions on SolarWinds TechPod
, I can confidently say my appreciation for podcasts has grown, especially as I’ve witnessed the mechanics behind the scenes bringing an episode to life. But as a listener, how can you find and connect with a podcast?
Creating Your Podcast Dewey Decimal System
Growing up I was a total bookworm. There was something special about cracking the spine of a new book, turning its crisp pages, and inhaling that new book smell (you know what I’m talking about). Because I immersed myself in books for so long, I initially was skeptical of audiobooks and podcasts. Why listen when you can read? I’ve since shifted my thinking as they’re different experiences, both rewarding in their own right.
As a listener, I’ve devised a checklist to gauge whether a podcast is worth my investment. For starters, have I listened to other podcasts from the studio? I’m not saying I won’t listen to one from an underground production group, but chances are if I liked one series from a team, I’ll probably enjoy their latest rollout. Thanks to listening outlets like Apple Music and Spotify, you can easily uncover related production companies or adjacent topics.
Other factors contributing to my podcast queue or choice for the day involve the episode’s length. How much time do I have? Some podcasts are brief enough for me to catch the full episode during daycare pickup, others I choose to last me an entire road trip. How I’m feeling also dictates my selection. Am I looking for something upbeat or comical? Perhaps I’m in the mood for a more dramatic topic. With an array of podcasts available, you can find any series up your alley.
The most critical component of my checklist involves the series’ teaser and abstract. In two minutes, can you highlight the plot and drop dramatic hints without giving anything away? These two elements work in conjunction to pull me in as a listener. The written abstract initially draws me to the subject, but the audio clip seals the deal.
The Intimacy of Podcasts
The podcast trailer is where you’re first introduced to the narrator and for me the deciding factor. Why does so much of my decision rest on the host? A podcast welcomes a handful of guests, but the narrator is a staple. Not only do they drive the interviews, but as a listener you form a kindred bond with them. When I listen to podcasts, I find myself audibly agreeing, questioning, even laughing alongside the host as if they were a friend sitting on my couch.
This intangible relationship is incredibly powerful. A podcast keeps you company, stimulates your creativity, or nurtures your hunger to learn more. Like books, podcasts offer unique stories with dynamic characters, with options spanning a variety of genres. The formula isn’t always the same, but you’re guaranteed to walk away with new questions and a fresh perspective. It’s a truly delightful way to step away from your day-to-day.
On #InternationalPodcastDay, I invite you to plug into something that excites you, find a series to expand your knowledge, or revisit a familiar host to rekindle your affinity for podcasts. Want to walk a mile in our headphones? Stay tuned as the Head Geeks list out some of their top podcasts
That’s it for me and happy International Podcast Day! I’m Liz Beavers, thanks for listening.