I recognize that some of you are new to the world of podcasting and don't have the first clue about how to go about subscribing to one, much less listen to one.
For that reason, I will attempt to make this easy. Feel free to skip around until you see a headline that covers your questions.
What is a Podcast?
Think of a podcast as a radio program. Much like Paul Harvey's famous 'The Rest of the Story' radio segments you may have grown up listening to, a podcast generally has a theme and a host and a format that makes it unique. For example, my podcast sticks pretty closely to things centered around achieving and maintaining mental, spiritual, and physical wellness. For that reason, you shouldn't expect to hear much about the stock market or the daily news.
Unlike radio stations which broadcast radio signals into the air and rely upon listeners to have a radio and have it tuned in to the precise location on the dial, podcasts are delivered via the Internet. And you won't use a traditional radio to pick them up, you will listen on a device that is (or was) connected to the Internet. In most cases, this would be a smartphone or a computer. In other cases, people may download a podcast onto their computer, then transfer it to an audio player (like an mp3 player).
Why Are Podcasts Interesting?
Because podcasts can be produced by virtually anyone, for free, with very little know-how and a smartphone with an Internet connection, ordinary people (and certainly some truly extraordinary ones as well) are capable of sharing their voices with the entire world in a way that was never before possible.
Back when broadcast radio and television were king, only the very rich and powerful could afford to pump messages into the air. Broadcast equipment was expensive to buy and maintain. FCC rules and regulations were strictly maintained and set the bar too high for the average Joe to ever dream of being heard by the masses.
Now, thanks to the leveling power of the Internet, just about anyone with a little know-how, very little equipment, and something they are burning to say can be heard around the globe.
As for you, the audience member, podcasting can provide you with so much incredible information on an unbelievable variety of topics when you do just a little bit of work to set things up in the beginning.
Are There Any Downsides?
I suppose the idea of having to learn to set up something new can pass for a negative for some of you, but if you're up for the minimal challenge, it might be worth taking the idea of "listening to podcasts" for a test drive. After all, there's a wealth of really great information, freely available, that's just sitting there, waiting to be absorbed (and you are worth giving that kind of free enrichment to yourself).
While on the subject of downsides, it's worth mentioning that, due to the sheer quantity of podcasts that are available today, it can be hit or miss when it comes to finding podcasts that meet your personal tastes. If it seems like you continue running into material that is not very good, don't lose your enthusiasm. Finding your favorite podcasts can be a lot like panning for gold – it requires a bit of patience and a curious mind, but if you give yourself the time and the grace to go slow, there's a good chance you will eventually find a few podcasts that enrich your life in ways you will hardly believe you once lacked.
What Does it Mean to "Subscribe" to a Podcast?
Remember, when you listen to things with a traditional radio, you have to "tune in" to the correct station at the time when the program comes on.
When you "subscribe" to a podcast, you simply indicate that you would like to receive future episodes of that podcast as soon as they are released. It's like setting your DVR to record your favorite program so that you can watch it later. This is the same basic concept, except rather than recording the podcast episodes you've subscribed to, your computer or smartphone will simply download them to the device for listening when a new episode becomes available.
By the way, episodes of every podcast will "post" or become available at the direction of each respective podcast producer. Some producers release new episodes daily. Some release weekly. Some episodes are really long. Some are pretty short. It's up to the producers of each and every podcast to determine the details that will define their program.
In short, subscribing saves you the hassle of constantly checking back to see when a new episode becomes available by automatically depositing new episodes directly onto your device.
How Much Does it Cost to Subscribe to a Podcast?
Podcasts are free to listen to. While the word "subscribe" sounds a lot like the financial commitment that goes with signing up for National Geographic, there is actually no money involved when it comes to podcasts. To be fair, there are some podcasts that charge fees or provide additional benefits to members who somehow support the work of producing the podcast, but even those generally have an enormous amount of content that they give away for free.
How Do I Subscribe?
If you want to listen to my podcast on your smartphone, first you need to download an app that will allow you to search for, preview, and subscribe to podcasts.
Some phones have an app already installed. For example, I have an iPhone. Thanks to the operating system, iPhones all have an app called 'Podcasts' that makes subscribing easy.
If you have an iPhone, please follow along. If you do NOT have an iPhone, please follow along anyway, since the essential concepts here are the same. While non iPhone users will ultimately be looking for a different app, the eventual process of subscribing will be virtually identical. For that reason, I invite you to follow along.
Search your phone for an app called 'Podcasts.' At the time of this post, the icon looks like this:
Launch the app, then go to the search bar (magnifying glass) and type "The Inside Out" - like this:
When you see the podcast (lower right hand corner, in this case), select it. Remember, if may not appear on the very first page for you. You may have to shuffle a bit to find it. Once you do find it, click it. That takes you to the page where you can subscribe!
Once here, simply hit the button with the word "Subscribe" on it and you are finished! Now you can return to this app anytime you want to check and see if your favorite podcasts have released any new episodes
Which App Should I Use?
Apart from any podcast app that may be pre-installed on your phone, there are a number of other podcast apps on the market that provide the same essential service, but with their own little bells and whistles. Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify and more. Depending on the app that you choose, here are the respective links to my podcast on a few of the more popular apps:
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/…/po…/the-inside-out/id1034019338
The Blog: https://www.lukerenner.com/podcast
Anything I Didn't Answer?
Please feel free to reach out with any other questions or suggestions that you may have.
Thanks for all of your generous support!