Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Talks about stuff that’s so elusive
And the wondrous words make your morning mood
Off on your way, hit the open road
There is magic at your fingers
For the spirit ever lingers
Undemanding contact in your happy solitude
Invisible airwaves crackle with life
Enlightened minds bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, completely free
Wikipedia defines a podcast as an episodic series of digital media files which a user can set up so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer or portable media player. Podcasts exist on almost every topic imaginable but they can be roughly categorised into these four, based on their duration:
The Queue – This podcast is a 2 to 4 minute podcast that you can listen to in the queue at the check-out in. Perfect for unexpected short bursts of time
The Commute – An 18 to 25 minute duration in line with the average commuter time
The Conditioner – From 30 to 45 minutes, this podcast is to last the time you are on the treadmill, rowing machine or doing your daily jog.
The Companion – Between 1 hour and 1 1/2 hours, this is the longform version of the podcast and is great for the long solo car ride, prolonged gardening or marathon runners, to mention a few longer lasting solo activities.
Here are two reasons why you should start devoting time listening to podcasts in your daily schedule:
1. You don’t have to listen to JUST music during your morning commute.
Although modern technology allows us to put music in our ears 24/7, there are plenty of times (that dreaded morning commute comes to mind) when you might be too busy contemplating about something to deal with the emotional demands of a song. In fact, the pleasant distractions of an engaging conversation could be just what you need during the commute. This was presumably the thought process behind morning radio talk shows, but thankfully most podcasts aren’t loaded up to the gills with endless ad jingles to force you to drive your car off a cliff.
2. There’s a podcast for everything.
The internet has obliterated any semblance of subculture, exposing the underground (and all of its mysterious inner machinations) to the light of the mainstream. Gone are the days of tape-trading, obscure message boards and the fear that you might be the only one with an interest in a particular field. Now, every possible niche, no matter how narrow in scope, is within reach. Whether your odd obsession is Icelandic Black Metal, Japanese Babymetal, Gumby, obscure British comic strips from the 80s, makeup tips and techniques from the Victorian era or comedy shows of the baby boomer generation, rest assured that there’s a podcast out there diving into it with a level of fanaticism that will surprise even the most ardent fan. Straightforward advice: think of your strangest, most obscure interest, and then go download 10 podcasts about it.
So go on and listen when, where and to what you want. In its most basic form, podcasting is like portable radio on demand, you can choose to listen to it whenever you feel like. The portability of a phone or other digital audio devices allow listeners to listen to podcasts wherever they want. And finally, the podcast topics increase exponentially by the day. So if you can’t find a podcast on Zulu folk music today, be sure to check back and you’ll definitely find it soon enough.