What is a podcast and why should I listen to one?
A podcast is an independently made radio show. The word podcast combines "pod" from iPod and "cast" from broadcast. Being independently made means that these are audio programs people are making themselves without depending on network syndication. A podcasts sidesteps the traditional gatekeepers of mainstream radio in the same way that blogs sidestep the gatekeepers of traditional publishing.
Whatever you're really into, whether it's Hindi films or knitting or NASCAR, there's someone making a radio show that dives deep into that topic. You can listen to a podcast whenever you want: while you walk the dog, wash the dishes, or sew.
How do people make podcasts?
Making a podcast is surprisingly simple, but making a great podcast, like making anything great, requires effort and skill. Still, the barrier to entry isn't all that high. You'll need an audio recording and editing program like GarageBand (which comes already installed on most Macs), a microphone, and a host for your MP3 files. I wrote more extensively about starting a podcast here if you're interested.
How do you listen to a podcast?
I listen to podcasts via the Podcasts app on my iPhone. The app is free and I find it to be intuitive to use. There are several other good apps for listening to podcasts including Downcast, iCatcher! and Stitcher. You can also listen from your desktop computer or your laptop or tablet. Podcasts are free, no matter how you listen. I love podcasts and listen to about 10 hours of audio each week while I run and while I sew (listening helps me look forward to running and helps me sew longer).
What podcasts do you recommend?
Like finding good blogs to follow, it can be tricky to find good podcasts. Mostly it's just a matter of stumbling on them. The best show recommendations come from like-minded people and I love to find a curated list of good shows to try out. So, if you're new to podcasts, check out my post from last year ago with 20 of my favorites, and then this one I put together a few months later with 10 more.
And today I've got even more great podcast recommendations to share. Here are 10 more podcasts to listen to while you're crafting (or folding laundry):
1. From Scratch
This weekly interview show is about entrepreneurs and their lives. Host Jessica Harris does a fantastic job of getting the founders of companies like Kickstarter, Etsy, TaskRabbit, Patagonia, Warby Parker and more to tell their stories. I love everything about this show from the intro music to Jessica's wonderful interview style. I've listened to every single episode.
Elise Blaha Cripe of the beautiful blog enJoy It It has a new podcast about creative business, inspiration, and motivation. I think Elise is pretty incredible. She's smart and savvy, she has a great eye for design, and she's wonderfully honest and real. I've enjoyed the first few episodes and I'm excited to see where this show goes.
I finally have a show of my own that I can recommend! While She Naps the podcast is primarily a recommendation show. I have bring on two guests from the creative business, sewing, and blogging world and we tell you about our favorite things in apps, books, shows, tools, magazines, websites, and other neat stuff. Past guest have included Meg Freeman, Dorie Schwarz, Sonya Philip, Betz White, and Claudine Hellmuth. Upcoming guests include Kari Chapin, Blair Stocker, Rachael Gander, and Kim Werker. I hope you love it.
4. Thread Cult
Host Christine Cyr Clisset says her show is for the sewing, fashion, and textile obsessed and it's pretty awesome. I enjoyed recent interviews with Nora Abousteit who is the founder of Kollabora, and Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S, but every Thread Cult episode is worth listening to. I'm learning about couture and historical sewing from this show, which is fascinating.
This an independently produced public radio show so the sound quality and editing is really high quality. Focusing broadly on the idea of DIY, there are segments on bee keeping, living in tiny houses, and space travel.
I'm totally fascinated and excited by the way that technology allows us to take our ideas and share them directly with our audience. We're in a period of real disruption and I can get all revolutionary about it. In this show host Glenn Fleishman talks with creative people about the ways in which they're connecting directly with their fans. Hear from people who have found success funding projects through Kickstarter, or by selling their comics or music or art outside the traditional structures.
7. KQED Forum
Okay, so this one is cheating a little. This is a public radio show in Northern California. I found this show because I wanted to hear Austin Kleon speak. I enjoyed it, and also this episode with illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. I'm just beginning to dig through the archives. I love that podcasts give me access to local radio that's far from local to me (I've been known to listen to various Australian local radio stations via podcast).
Life of the Law is a sound-rich, beautifully produced show that explored legal questions and problems in American culture. You'll learn a ton. This one is relatively new to me and I'm excited to explore it more.
I'm cheating here because neither #9 nor #10 are just podcasts. Swell is like Pandora for podcasts, if that makes sense. It's an app you download for your mobile device and it streams podcasts. Give what you're hearing a thumbs up and it'll find more like that. Swipe to skip what you don't like. I learn about new shows all the time when they happen to come on while I'm listening via Swell (in fact that's how I found #1 in this list).
10. Mule Radio
Like Swell, Mule Radio is an app you download for your mobile device. Mule is a podcast syndicate (like the Boing Boing family of podcasts or Maximum Fun). You've got a series of shows about all different topics and in all different styles, but under the Mule umbrella (#5 is actually a Mule radio show). This is a great way to sample new shows and see what you like. I've been enjoying The Broad Experience, a show about women, money, and the workplace, as well as This is Actually Happening which is all first-person stories.
If you've never listened to a podcast, what's holding you back? If there's something you're not sure about, please ask!
And if you already listen to podcasts, will you recommend a favorite or two? Thank you!