Ten reasons to cast away your podcast doubts


By Camron Owens

You may have seen talk on social media lately of “Serial,” a new podcast from National Public Radio. The podcast has been streamed or downloaded on iTunes over five million times. If you aren’t in the loop, podcasts are essentially the new version of radio shows. 

Available online or on mobile devices using apps, podcasts take many forms such as talk shows, musical performances and improvisational comedy. The Huffington Post recently called podcasts “the new TV.”

For college students who may be getting bored with their playlists or are trying to avoid impending Christmas tunes, podcasts can provide a new listening experience. Below I’ve listed ten reasons why I love podcasts and why I think my fellow peers should give them a try.

1. They’re easily accessible.

Podcasts are a great way to mix up what you’re listening to while on the bus, working out or walking to class. The best part is, they’re free. To download a podcast, simply download a podcast app and download episodes to your phone. It’s cheaper than a music streaming service or buying songs.

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2. Your favorite celebrities do podcasts.

Podcasts like “Nerdist” and “WTF with Marc Maron” feature interviews with big stars such as Tom Cruise, Seth Rogen and Jared Leto. Since podcasts are not limited to a scheduled hour like talk shows are, the conversations are often more in depth and uninterrupted by commercials.

3. There’s probably a podcast dedicated to your favorite show.

Many popular TV shows have podcasts dedicated to them. For example, “A Cast of Kings” features discussions of the latest episodes of “Game of Thrones.” Other popular shows with after-show podcasts include “Scandal,” “The Walking Dead” and “House of Cards.” My personal favorite is “The Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart,” which features writers from “The Daily Show” discussing the process of writing for the show.

4. They feature interesting and gripping stories.

Many people across the country have been captivated by “Serial,” a weekly podcast that tells the true story of the 1999 murder of Baltimore-area high school senior, Hae Min Lee. Many have compared it to HBO’s popular show “True Detective.” Other podcasts like “This American Life” feature true and interesting stories of fascinating occurrences throughout the world.

5. They can be downloaded automatically.

After subscribing to a podcast on an app, the latest episodes automatically download to your device upon release. This makes it easy to keep up with your favorite shows, just like the “My List” feature on Netflix. 

6. They’re educational.

Sure Beyonce, One Direction and Hoobastank are great, but when’s the last time they taught you about United States’ history? Podcasts such as “Stuff You Should Know” and “Stuff You Missed in History Class” exist to fill you in on topics from how Kickstarter works to the life of Johnny Appleseed. Another popular show, “Radiolab,” explores the science behind particular themes and stories. With finals coming up, it may not be a bad time to review a few topics.

7. Need life advice? There’s a podcast for that.

Surprisingly, I don’t have all the answers to life’s many questions, but thankfully there are plenty of podcasts that offer solutions. “NPR: How To Do Everything Podcast” features life advice and survival tips. “The Art of Charm” can help you win over that special someone and further develop your social skills. 

8. Take music appreciation to the next level.

You may recall a YouTube video of T-Pain singing without auto-tune that recently became popular online. The performance was actually for NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts.” Other podcasts like “Sound Opinions” and “All Songs Considered” feature discussions and interviews with popular and up-and-coming artists. Podcasts are a great way to discover new music or learn about your favorite performers. There are options to satisfy all music fans, from Celtic music to Afrojack.

9. They’re weird (in a good way).

Many podcasts are just groups of friends hanging out and discussing random topics. Since they are easy to produce and aren’t as constrained as television, podcasters are free to do whatever they like. Podcasts like “James Bonding” and “U Talkin’ U2 To Me?” feature friends discussing pop culture phenomena they’re passionate about. “How’d Did This Get Made?” pits comedians against terrible movies. Like mother always said, “You haven’t lived until you’ve listened to a group of comedians relentlessly ridicule the film ‘Deck the Halls.’?”

10. This list only scratches the surface.

There are thousands of podcasts available on iTunes and apps such as Stitcher and Pocket Casts. Much like TV shows, some podcasts aren’t for everyone. I sifted through many podcasts before I found some I enjoy listening to.

With “Serial” and podcasts in general gaining popularity, now’s the time to jump on the podcast craze. With finals coming, treat yourself to some new entertainment — for free. 

Camron is a junior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected]