What is a Podcast? (Plus How to Start One)

Woman doing a podcast

To put it simply, a podcast is an audio program like Talk Radio. You can access it and subscribe to a show that you like on your smartphone or computer. Once you subscribe you can listen to it whenever you want.

Here is a more detailed explanation, a podcast is an episodic series of spoken words formatted as digital audio files. You can easily download it to your personal gadget for easy and convenient listening.

You can find podcasts from:

  • Individuals
  • Radio stations
  • Companies
  • New podcast-only network
  • Storytellers
  • Churches
  • Comedians

and much more.

Podcasts can be categorized into niches and seasons, just like TV shows. Most talk shows are released on a weekly basis, but you can also find daily and monthly podcasts.

Due to how easy and cheap they are to produce; podcasts are a pretty common type of media.

Podcasts are mostly free service that enables users to pull audio files, mostly MP3s, from podcasting sites. They then listen to them on their android phones, apple phones, computers, or audio players.

With podcasts, users don’t need to tune in to a specific broadcast. The user will just download the audio files on-demand or subscribe to a podcast through an RSS feed The RSS feed will download the audio files automatically to their devices.

The Best Way to Listen to a Podcast

You can start listening to a podcast right now if you know how to do it. If you have an Android device such as tablets and smartphones, PC or Apple device such as an iPad or iPhone, you can start listening to a podcast right away. Apple recently separated Apple Podcasts from iTunes to make it more intuitive and user-friendly with plenty of features.

For Android users, you have been spoiled with many great choices when it comes to listening to a podcast. You get to pick from platforms such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, and even most recently Google Podcasts.

The Top 10 Podcasts to Listen To

Nowadays the best way to learn something or pass time is by listening to a podcast. With how easy and affordable it is to create and start a podcast, there are many shows you can listen to. There are people who can grab a microphone and make you laugh, learn something new, make you furious, or even make you fall asleep.

Here is the Top 10 Crème de la Crème of Podcasting.

1. Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV

The prominence of reality TV in America has increased in recent years. While most people will argue of its plebeian appeal, this genre of television is among the most interesting, powerful, cultural products. In this podcast episode, the host Mariah Smith gives us a new perspective on the significance and history of reality television in this podcast called Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV.

The host of the show reveals the connections between culture, politics, and reality TV in this episode-by-episode series.

2. Joe Rogan Experience

With more than 1600 episodes so far, the Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most highly listened to podcasts on the web today. Joe Rogan also offers video podcasts.

Hosted by former Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, the podcast usually has an array of guests, who decide the topic of discussion. The guests of the show tend to be high-profile individuals from all walks of life from Bernie Sanders to Ben Shapiro, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Quentin Tarantino. Each podcast episode regularly receives millions of views.

Since December 2020, the Joe Rogan Experience has been exclusively available on Spotify with episode highlights uploaded onto YouTube.

3. Resistance

The inspiration to start a podcast came to its creator Saidu Tejan-Thomas, Jr., in 2020 during the outbreak of the Black Lives Matter protests. Seeing a new generation of organizers and activists emerging, the host wondered how they are going to keep it up. As he was pondering this question, he had a light bulb moment that led to the birth of Resistance. This is a podcast show that is inspired by the first-person narrative experience of people of color refusing to accept things as they are.

The host Tejan-Thomas brings a personal aspect to current news and headlines, including the stories of individuals on the front of the lines pushing for social progress.

4. The Ramsey Show

Formerly known as The Dave Ramsey Show, this three-hour podcast is hosted by finance author and speaker Dave Ramsey and airs from Monday to Friday from 2 to 5 PM ET. The show is among the top five most-listened podcasts in America.

The host takes live calls from his audience on the topic of finance and sometimes money-related Christian philosophy such as tithing and so on.

Dave discusses with the callers about life and issues related to money. He is known for his particular disdain of debt collectors, calling them dishonest and “scum”, urging his audience not to deal with them unless completely necessary. And even so, should get everything in writing.

5. Louder Than a Riot

Since it was launched in 2020, this podcast has been growing louder by the day, with the hosts Sidney Madden and Rodney Carmichael delivering the most perceptive and pertinent investigative journalism. Using hip-hop viewpoint to explore the mass incarceration in the United States, each episode reflects upon a different artist story to profoundly explore the criminal justice system.

Moreover, the episodes feature a playlist of songs used in each episode for analysis as well as insights into the music industry, prison, and their intersections in a manner that is sympathetic and impactful.

6. StraightioLab

StraightioLab is described as an intellectual podcast where two smart comedians Sam Taggart and George Civeris unload the rich, multi-colored tapestry of straight culture.

As you will hear from any intellectual, the straight culture is not given enough attention. In each episode of this podcast, the hosts “are joined by a guest to hold a MIRROR to society and finally get to the Bottom of mysterious and perverse topics such as college fraternities, gender reveal parties, the military, themed restaurants, and the concept of ‘the holidays’”.

Featuring a roundup of famous alt-comedy guests, this episode is the perfect series to learn, listen, and laugh while embracing a straight culture.

7. Hidden Brain

This episode was created by Shankar Vedantam, an American writer, science correspondent, and journalist who divulges how unconscious patterns drive human behavior, direct our relationships, and shape our choices.

The host uses the art of storytelling and science to back up his claims and points and create a pleasing listening environment for his listeners.

8. Stuff You Should Know

Abbreviated as SYSK, Stuff You Should Know is a popular award-winning show that aims to educate its listeners on an array of topics – more so things you should really know. The podcast is so successful that is regularly ranked in the top 10 most popular podcasts in iTunes and it has millions of downloads every month.

The episodes are released on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and can be accessed on iTunes and Spotify for free.

9. The Daily

Powered by The New York Times, The Daily podcast provides an in-depth look at some of the most popular news stories on both national and global scales in less than 20 minutes.

It airs five days of the week as host Michael Barbaro and Times political commentator are joined by other Times journalists and guests to discuss a wide range of topics from environmental threats to political news and Hollywood scandal.

Barbaro offers historical background as well as additional details for perspective, leaving listeners equipped to join in on the next discussion.

10. The Right Time

If you are a sport’s aficionado, you will enjoy this podcast. The Right Time is billed as the smartest sports show available on the web today.t the host Bomani Jones discusses all aspects of sports in a manner that no other sports reporter can.

How to Subscribe to a Podcast

There are two ways you can subscribe to a podcast – from your computer and your smartphone.

Subscribing to a Podcast from Your Computer (iTunes)

1. Open iTunes and head over to iTunes Store at the right corner of the screen.

2. Click the pointer next to Music and choose Podcasts

3. On the right-hand side, key in the name of the podcast you are interested in and click on it.

4. Below the podcast’s banner, click the button “Subscribe” to subscribe to the podcast.

Subscribing to a Podcast from Your iPhone

To subscribe to a podcast from your iPhone, follow the steps below:

1. Open your favorite podcast platform on your phone

2. On the bottom right side of the podcast app, hit the search icon and type the name of the podcast that you want to listen to and subscribe to.

3. Once you are on the homepage of the show, you will see the button “Subscribe”, which you should tap to subscribe.


Android users have plenty of options when it comes to listening to podcasts, including Google Podcasts.

1. Download the podcast app in Google Play.

2. Open the podcast app and search for the show you want to subscribe to.

3. Once you see the name of the podcast, click on it and go to the homepage.

4. On the homepage, find the subscribe button to subscribe to the show (most podcasts have a + icon, so just tap on it to subscribe).

The Best Podcast Directories

If you are hooked on a particular podcast, you are not alone. More and more people are listening to podcasts these days. You can listen to most podcasts free on the directories listed below. But what is the best way to listen to a podcast?

For you to be able to listen to a podcast, you need a mobile application on your mobile device or computer. But not all apps are the same, so here are some of the best podcast directories and the apps you can download to listen to your favorite podcast.

  • Google Podcasts
  • Apple Podcast
  • Audible
  • Acast
  • Stitcher
  • Spotify
  • TuneIn Radio

Google Podcast

Using Google Podcast you can access a wide range of shows to choose from. Once you land on the homepage, you are presented with popular podcasts based on what is trending and genres.

Its user interface is intuitive and inviting and you can find almost the same types of podcasts as Apple Podcasts. If you can’t find your show on Google Podcast, you can just add it by putting its RSS feed into the app.

You can subscribe to a podcast and download them to listen offline whenever you want. Moreover, you can set up a queue so that you can listen to different shows in a particular order.

A function called “explore topics” connects to Google search results for keywords based on the show you are listening to, so that you can access suggestions related to the topic or genre of the podcast you are listening to.

The best part about this app is that if you forgot to save a podcast you were listening to earlier, you can just find it at the “Activity” tab. This section keeps track of your shows including downloaded, subscriptions, and your listening history.

The app also has a 30-second fast-forward feature as well as a 10-second rewind option, and a sleep timer. You can also ‘trim silence’ on a podcast, change the speed of a show, and share it on social media.

However, transcripts of the podcasts are only available if they are placed in the description of the show.

Apple Podcast

Designed for iOS devices, Apple Podcast has more than 1 million shows, making it one of the best ways to listen to a podcast. While a small fee is applicable, free podcast services are also available and with more than 30 million episodes, you will not fail to find your favorite show.

Even if you have trouble finding the name of a podcast or ideal show to listen to, you can just talk to Siri and ask for suggestions. You can also access Apple Podcast via Amazon Alexa if you sync your accounts in the Alexa app. This way you can easily utilize voice commands and switch between devices and save where you stopped listening.

Search a show via search page, whether using topic or names of people mentioned within the episode, through the podcast’s transcript.

The playback feature is extremely easy to use and control with an option to fast-forward an episode by 30 seconds or rewind by 15 seconds.

You can download the Apple podcasts app to listen to your favorite podcast show. You can also connect to Apple Podcast using Bluetooth from the Apple podcasts app. It will also allow you to set a sleep timer and adjust the speed of the audio recording.


If you don’t want to go through the vast library of episodes in Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, try Audible. Although it is known for its wide-ranging selection of audiobooks, the Amazon-backed platform also offers a huge collection of podcasts.

The section that includes podcasts features deep audio content from genres such as comedy, tech, relationships, and much more.

Audible is free but if you want to upgrade you will have to pay $8 a month for Audible Plus or $15 a month for Audible Premium Plus.

The platform has more than 100,000 podcasts. Once you select a show, you can read listeners’ reviews including star ratings for the performance, the story, as well as overall podcast. This feature makes Audible among the most user-friendly platforms for listening to a podcast.

The 5 Best Headphones for Listening to a Podcast

Headphones can help enhance your listening experience. Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market that are worth investing in.

Here are the 5 best headphones for listening to a podcast and to use if you decide to start a podcast.

  1. Sony WF-1000X
  2. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
  3. Apple Airpods Pro
  4. GRADO SR325E
  5. Audio Technica ATH-M20X

How to Start your own Podcast

Starting a podcast is very easy today. Here are steps to start your own podcast today:

  • Choose a topic
  • Pick a name
  • Assemble equipment (microphones, computer, audio interface, mixer, etc.)
  • Find the right format (length, style, episode format)
  • Create cover art (use Canva, Adobe, etc.)
  • Get your first guest
  • Record and edit your first episode
  • Upload your first podcast episode
  • Submit to podcast apps
  • Set up your RSS feed
  • Market your podcast to gain listeners
  • Create great podcast audio content
  • Monetize your podcast channel

What Equipment do you Need to Start a Podcast?

The equipment listed here can help you start your own podcast today. Have a look at what you need to start a podcast today:

  1. A computer
  2. Mixer
  3. USB microphone or XLR microphone
  4. Headphones
  5. Windscreen/pop filter
  6. Microphone stand
  7. Podcast hosting
  8. Acoustic surrounding
  9. Audio recording and editing application

Samantha Tuttle

Samantha Tuttle helps us with writing. She is skilled at writing about how to use YouTube, how to set up YouTube, podcast set up, podcasting, blog set up, blogging general, SEO, and product reviews. She does bring years of expertise to the company and we are very glad to have her.

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