By: Allison Zullo, @allisonzullo
When it comes to keeping up with the latest news and entertainment trends, PR pros tend to turn to the old reliables: Twitter, Netflix, iPhone news apps, etc. But, what about something “new,” like podcasts?
Podcasts are essentially episodes of radio shows that you can download and listen to. They have soared in popularity thanks to the craze that was created by the podcast “Serial”, late last year. “Serial” followed reporter Sarah Koenig (who also narrated the podcast) as she investigated and attempted to unravel the murder of Hae Min Lee, a Maryland high school senior. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was charged and eventually convicted of the crime, though he still claims his innocence. Koenig tells the true story of the crime, and her investigation over the course of the twelve-episode season, that can easily be binge-listened to in two days.
Ever since “Serial” took off, already-existing podcasts have grown in popularity, and new players have jumped into the podcast game. But why are podcasts all of a sudden making a comeback? Here are just a few reasons.
You can listen to them anywhere.
Downloading podcasts on your phone is super easy (on iPhones, there’s even an app that comes with your phone that allows you direct access), which means you can have tons of podcasts literally at your fingertips. Whether you’re driving to work, walking to class, working out, doing homework, or getting some spring cleaning out of the way, you can listen to a podcast. As much as we would love to do all of these things while binge-watching Friends on Netflix, sometimes that’s next to impossible (um, DRIVING). Listening to a podcast allows you to multitask by crossing items off your to-do list, while staying current with the news or expanding your knowledge.
You can learn new information and skills.
Whether you’re into sports or music, history or science, there’s a podcast that coincides with your interests. There are plenty of ways you can learn something new. HowStuffWorks.com, a website that can literally tell you how anything works (seriously, check it out), has a few awesome educational podcast series. These series are “Stuff You Should Know,” which covers a huge range of topics, and “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” which covers little-known and super interesting topics that might have been skimmed over in your high school history class. Don’t worry, hosts John and Chuck (“Stuff You Should Know”) and Holly and Tracy (“Stuff You Missed in History Class”) keep it way more interesting than your teachers ever did.
You can gain insight into current events.
Podcasts not only allow you to catch up on current events, but they also often bring in experts in the topics to analyze the situation, and break it down to a deeper (and sometimes, more entertaining) level than the typical news outlets. If you’re into sports, check out ESPN’s podcasts; pretty much all of their radio shows have one that can be accessed via iTunes or their own application, ESPN Radio. My personal favorite? “The Best of Mike & Mike,” which breaks down four hour radio shows into a 45 minute to an hour long podcast, with the major highlights from the day’s show and major sports news. Obsessed with pop culture? NPR has you covered with “Pop Culture Happy Hour.” In it, a panel of various guests and host, Linda Holmes, debate anything from books to television and movies. And, if you love NPR (National Public Radio), most of their radio shows also air as podcasts.
Whatever your interests, there’s a podcast that is right for you. If you haven’t listened to “Serial,” go listen to it pronto. If you’ve already binge-listened, try out another podcast. Check out iTunes’ top charts for podcasts, or do a Google search to find one that matches your interests. Happy listening!