PODCASTSSo this is for the ladies that have never listened to a podcast. Those ladies, like myself, who think they don’t have time but have a longing to learn something new or just want to have some sort of brain stimulation other than the daily tasks that clog our mind. Podcasts have been around for a few years now. What is a Podcast? For those that don’t know, it’s like having talk radio on the internet. The shows may be produced by a major network or brand, but most these days are produced and created by normal, everyday people with interesting, useful or funny topics to talk about. Some of you probably have heard about podcasts but may feel that it is too technically challenging to figure out. Believe me, nowadays IT IS SO EASY!!! This is one of those things that I think is worth taking the time to do. It will add value or at least some entertainment to your life.

I can remember early on when I first listened to podcasts was back in 2008. I was training for the London Marathon and had a brand new shiny iPod to listen to music on. In setting up my music, through iTunes I saw this thing called Podcasts. I wasn’t really sure what they were but decided to download a few free ones to keep me entertained during my training. At the time, the show LOST was massive so I had selected a LOST podcast which was hosted by 2 guys from NJ and all they talked about was what happened on the previous week of LOST. Deep stuff over here. Back then the selections of podcasts were limited. Most of the free podcasts were just replays of local radio stations and radio programs. Each week I would download the podcast on my desktop, connect my iPod to my computer to sync, and away I went with music and podcasts all ready to go for a 2 hour training run. It was a bit of a process back then but it kept me entertained for the four months that I was training. Once I did the marathon, I had no interest in podcasts. The content was limited and please correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember that you had to pay for the good stuff? I just remember the selection of FREE podcasts being limited – hence the LOST podcast selection.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 11.55.25 PMFast forward to 2016. There is such a wide variety of awesome shows to listen to on your morning drive other than the local radio stations. (Sorry local radio) I think the selection of shows is amazing! All the podcasts are free, so you don’t have to pay any subscription fees (that I have yet to see). You can choose what you want to listen to depending on what sort of mood you are in rather than relying on what is happening on the radio or any old playlists that have you bored with what used to be your favourite songs. You can listen to comedy if you want to laugh, news to stay informed, or Ted Talks to feel educated or learn something new. Whatever you fancy – it’s all there.

Listening to podcasts has never been easier. You can listen directly from your smartphone. It is super-easy, straightforward and only takes moments – moments -to set up. No matter what type of smartphone you have, there are podcast apps for each device such as Podbean, Podcasts, Stitcher or Soundcloud. I have an iPhone so I use the Apple Podcasts app and Podbean. When I had an android I used Soundcloud from Google Play. Once these are downloaded, open up and search. If you have never done this, you are going to freak – THERE IS SO MUCH USEFUL INFORMATION OUT THERE! There are podcasts for everything: News, Health, Music, Fitness, Lifestyle, Blogging, Knitting, Religious, Language – really, you just have to have a look. The thing is, even though podcast production is a whole process, it often doesn’t take much except for a recorder and a microphone. So, it may seem like thousands of people are creating their own shows and thus the tremendous number of options available to us. The recorder and mic are just some basic requirements, though. Creators also have to consider what content their audience will like, and how to come up with newer, more interesting content constantly. The more successful podcasts out there with a large following probably do a ton of other research and sit with teams like those from Lower Street, who help with content strategies and promotions, too. Although open platforms allow almost anyone to upload their own podcasts, the content being put out there also matters to a large extent. People tend to lean towards the more well-made podcasts than one which only has a single episode with poor audio quality, maybe. Still, the options are endless with the good ones too!

I am currently using 2 different apps (iTunes Podcasts and Podbean) because I have found different content on each.

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For example, I recently started listening to Serial – an older podcast (I am a bit late to the game but it was highly recommended by a friend). The reason I am only getting to now is because for some reason on my phone the using the iTunes Podcast app – Serial was not included. This could be due to my technical lack of search skills (but really I looked everywhere). I can remember sitting with my friend over coffee months ago trying to add but for some reason it was not there. Recently my friend reminded me again. We sat and tried it but still it wasn’t there. We chalked it down to not being available in the regional iTunes. I went home, had a quick browse in the app store, found Podbean. I downloaded Podbean (which again only took seconds) did a quick search for Serial and there it was. Magic. I started listening right away to Season One. Browsing through Podbean or the Podcast app is fun. You feel like a little explorer finding what is out there. I have to admit, I have only been using Podbean for a few days now but I prefer it over the Apple Podcast App. The graphics are bigger and better and I find it easier to explore. The hard part is finding time to listen to everything.

So if you haven’t started listening to podcast yet, try it. We all have our interests and hobbies. With podcasts, you select exactly what you want to listen to. Even those with busy schedules can squeeze in time to listen. I will usually listen to a podcast on the school run (morning drive) AFTER drop off, when I am out for a run/walk or when I am in the kitchen cooking. These are 3 easy ways to fit in a show and make those daily tasks more enjoyable. Download a podcast app and get to listening. Stay informed and enriching your life.

Here’s a few to get you started. Regional podcasts (for the Middle East):

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The Learning Curve Podcast. Listen as she interviews female entrepreneurs throughout the region. If you are in Abu Dhabi and you have not listened yet, you have to ask yourself Why Not? There probably some women on the show that you already know.

 

 

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Honey in the Desert. A former teacher shares the inspiring stories of various individuals living in the UAE.

 

 

 

Do you have your favourite podcasts that you listen to? Tell me some good ones. I am always looking for new ones to listen to.